Mick McCarthy: top bloke, shame about the Ls

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As Sunderland prepare to entertain Wolves, Salut! Sunderland extends a hearty welcome to Mick McCarthy for what we hope will be a viist he enjoys for the warmth of his reception, but not the result. Colin Randall takes the opportunity of recalling the day he came to the aid of the party …


Dec 10 2004. The
eve of a 2-0 win at Cardiff on our way to an easy Championship title and promotion under Mick McCarthy.

Also the eve of a flatwarming party I was throwing after moving to Paris. Friends from Sunderland, on their way to join us for the weekend, bumped into the team at Newcastle Airport. Mrs Friend had a bright idea: she bought a “congratulations on your new home” card and marched up to Mick to get him to sign it.

He obliged without hesitation, writing a cheery little note with the PS: “And my invitation? In the post, is it?”

I liked Mick. Even when Keano was our hero, I knew who’d had right on his side in the Ireland World Cup spat, and it wasn’t our hero.

Mick did wonders for us on a shoestring, reaching the FA Cup semi-final and the playoffs in his first full season and romping back to the Premier in the next.
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Life was tougher for him when we were actually in the Premier. Stuck in my memory is the mischievous Football Pools-style way in which one Sunderland fan summed up MM’s win/draw/lose sequence as our Premier manager:


LLLLLLLLLLLLLLDWDLLLLLLLLLDLL

And that was only Jan 2006. I mentioned the run in a piece in the Telegraph (under the headline That Sinking Feeling Again) and noted sadly that a game against Chelsea had just added another L. More Ls were to follow before Mick’s departure and another record-breaking low points tally (thanks Derby for capturing that honour from us).

That said, I thought he had done as good a job as was humanly possible given the lack of resources at his disposal. And I do wonder, as I asked Wolves fans this week, what he would have done with the sort of money Keano and Bruce have had to spend.

Welcome back, Mick. You’re a top bloke. Sorry about the party invite.


Salut! Sunderland forecast: SAFC 3 Wolves 1

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1 thought on “Mick McCarthy: top bloke, shame about the Ls”

  1. A thoroughly decent man who built a Championship winning team out of scraps. Hope he goes home disappointed tonight.

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