Let’s start on a positive note. Our first game of the 2015-2016 season is unlikely to be anywhere near as bad as the equivalent fixture (Leicester away) last time. Or the return game at the SoL for that matter; not a hint of a goal in either match.
While fighting to raise our hopes yet again for a winning start and a carefree season, Salut! Sunderland has tried to bring you some strong buildup coverage and this is just an easy reminder of what you may have missed:
* Guess the Score: we still don’t know if sponsorship is being renewed for the coming season – watch this space – but mug or not, the entries have already poured in.
* The Leicester City “Who are You?”.
Opinion was divided on Ben Jacobs, the Foxes-supporting broadcaster who answered our questions. I thought it made for an interesting read but Ben realises he made few friends around here with his prediction on 18th place and doom for SAFC.
* Nostalgia. Pete Sixsmith wrote beautifully on the first game he – or I – ever saw Sunderland play in the top flight. It was against Leicester, first game of a season back when the Beatles were young, and there was the small matter of a missing goalkeeping hero, Monty, and a missing striker, Brian Clough.
* Monsieur Salut’s own preview has now popped up at the SAFC pages of ESPN FC. It can be seen at at http://www.espnfc.com/club/sunderland/366/blog
Life at the top must be grand. Followers of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchesters City and United, plus Liverpool at a pinch, can approach each new season in the knowledge that most games are winnable and that the league title is a viable target.
For Sunderland, the avoidance of yet another frantic scramble for safety, with mid-table comfort secured before winter turns to spring, would represent mighty progress.
It was a measure of know-your-place footballing wisdom on Wearside that when the club’s Ladies team recently thrashed Chelsea to rise to the top of the FA Women’s Super League, the official club website gave priority to their attainment of the points threshold for guaranteed survival.
So Ha’way the Lads at Leicester – and the Lasses against reigning WSL champions Liverpool.