Ahead of another important test for Jack Ross’s new-look squad, Salut! Sunderland poses a few questions to Rochdale fans in our own new-look Who are You? format.
We no longer launch searching parties for suitable candidates for each Sunderland game but are this season throwing open the exercise to all opposing supporters who stray on to our pages.
Last season, in a more conventional edition of the Who are You? series, we struck gold with each of the games against Rochdale.
John Beckett, our interviewee for the first of them, at the Stadium of Light, turned in a set of answers that won him third place in our annual HAWAY (Highly Articulate Who are You?) awards. And when Sunderland visited the Dale to complete a winning double, Ian Wright – whom we met via John – gave us another excellent interview.
In his interview, John told the brilliant story of Jesus, an improbable Spanish fan of his club. “He became popular on Twitter and I arranged a crowd funding to get him over for a game,” he said. “It ended up being the crucial last game of last season where we needed to win to stay up. It went viral and the BBC One Show did a piece as did the local BBC news and radio. Jesus saved Dale! The first time he’d ever been out of the country!”
And here, just before Sunderland travel to what we shall still call Spotland Stadium rather than the – brace yourselves – Crown Oil Arena, are the questions Rochdale fans are invited to answer now. Have a go at as many as you wish; there may be another Haway awards process at the end of the season (it’s been patchy so far)…
1 Salut! Sunderland: like us, you’ve started with one win and two draws. Does this give you encouragement this will be a more comfortable season than last, when you flirted with relegation but put in thee wins in the last five game?
2: John Beckett described the manager/chairman duo of Keith Hill and Chris Dunphy as the best things that had ever happened to the club. Hill was sacked and Dunphy stood down! What did you make of them, and how are the new pairing – Brian Barry-Murphy as manager and Andrew Kilpatrick as chairman – shaping up?
3: what does supporting Rochdale mean to you, especially in an area with glamour clubs on the doorstep?
4: who are the players you expect big things from this season?
5: share your best and worst moments as a Dale supporter?
6: what are your thoughts on Sunderland – the club and fans, the area, the decline and last season’s failure to gain promotion?
7: hand on heart, where will our two clubs finish this season?
8: Will you be at our game? What will be the score?