It is fair to say Pete Sixsmith does not care greatly who wins the Premier League title, at least not while we seem not quite up to the challenge ourselves.
So do not be surprised that he gives a different answer to the question depending on when he is asked.
For the neatly titled site It’s Football Not Soccer blog, Sixer opted for Man City. Elsewhere on these pages today, you’ll see him telling Scott the Red of Republik of Mancunia the title will be retained by that adorable West London brand, Chelsea.
This part of the IFNS series of previews features our warm-hearted, imaginatively led Friends from up the Road, Norwich City, Southampton and Stoke as well as Sunderland AFC.
We are not sure IFNS should be allowed on here at all since its own writer Olly’s conclusion is that we will be relegated.
But Olly’s a Reading fan so his view hardly counts. And we said we would share Sixer’s responses – it’s another good interview full of the usual Sixer mix of wit and wisdom – so here goes:
1 Which player is a “one to watch” at Sunderland this season?
The obvious answer is Jeremain Lens, the Dutch international we have signed from Dinamo Kyiv. In his own words, he is quick, sharp and scores goals, something that Sunderland have lacked for quite a while. I would suggest two other players who could make names for themselves this season; Jack Rodwell needs to put three disappointing years behind him and show what a good player he is. If he can recapture that Everton form, he will be a huge player for us and will create a solid central midfield with Cattermole and Larsson. It is also an important season for Duncan Watmore, an under the radar signing from Altrincham two years ago. He has done well for the Development Squad and was dangerous for England Under 20’s in Toulon. He may need a good loan spell in the Championship, but he could equally play a part in the first team.
2 Are you happy with the club’s transfer activity so far?
The transfer activity has gone well and appears to have been well thought out. After the scatter gun approach of de Fanti and di Canio and the strange obsessions of Gus Poyet, there seems to be some planning. Another couple would not go amiss, particularly a clever 20 goal a season striker (the problem there is that there are just too many to choose from) and we also need to move players on. We are not a particularly attractive club due to persistent relegation campaigns, persistent turnover of managers/head coaches and a reputation for playing dreary football. So we have to look for those who want a challenge.
3 Were you pleased that Dick Advocaat decided to stay on, or would you have preferred a change?
It was important that he remained and gave the club some stability and credence. He has bought into the ethos of Sunderland AFC which is important. It also gives us 12 months to find a long term replacement that will enable the club to move on. The reason for the (relative) success of Stoke City and Swansea City is longevity and continuation. We have had neither since Peter Reid’s time.
4 Best away ground to visit in the league?
I am tempted to say the Sports Direct Arena because we always seem to win there. But I like Ashburton Grove and I always enjoy the time warp that is Goodison Park.
5 Who do you think will win the Premier League title and who will get relegated?
Manchester City will win it followed by the usual three. Those to go down? I suppose Watford and Bournemouth will be favourites and we will be in the minds of many. I think Aston Villa and Leicester City will have difficult seasons.
6 Predicted Sunderland finish?
Let’s live dangerously and say between Stoke and Swansea and above Southampton. That should be about 10th. S Teams To Dominate Mid Table!!!!
And now for the squeamish to avert their eyes at IFNS offers its own view…
Olly’s view: Other than the newly promoted trio, Sunderland are the favourites for relegation, and I have to agree. Jeremain Lens is a good signing, although he can’t do it all by himself, and there’s not much other quality in the squad in my opinion. Connor Wickham has gone, Jermain Defoe is ageing and Steven Fletcher is injury prone. Another relegation battle is in store, but I think the Black Cats may have run out of lives. 18th