One question I am asking opposing fans, when they write for Salut! Sunderland, is what they make of the choice of movie star to which Jonathan Northcroft of The Sunday Times likened their club in a pre-season Premier preview.
And Sunderland? In case you didn’t see, we were Denzel Washington – and it had nothing to do with Nissan. It was because we have “probably done good things, but you can’t recall any of them right now”.
But at least we can thank Northcroft for his prediction on how we will fare. Of course, we’d all like better, but most of us would welcome the ninth place he suggests in “a season of progress” for a squad with Darren Bent promising goals and “a squad that contains other good elements”.
Others have been asking us questions, too. This (for those who missed it when I reproduced it without the link) is what I made of those set by Low-life Opinions, a football and music blog. The headline is theirs:
High-brow opinions from salut! sunderland
Are you pleased with Sunderland’s transfer activity over the summer?
Yes. I think Steve Bruce has done well in overcoming the won’t-play-in-the-North-East arrogance of so many players, or is it their Wags? Did Peter Crouch consider in his wildest dreams coming to Sunderland, or was he just using us to spur (pun intended) another club into action? As I write, Darren Bent is reportedly about to sign and that is a mightily welcome addition to those already acquired (da Silva, Campbell and Cana – respectively an international skipper, a bright Man Utd prospect and the captain of OM, who went so close to winning Ligue 1. We’re showing real ambition.
Are there any youngsters who you think will make a big impact for Sunderland this year?
I’d love to see the likes of Martyn Waghorn, Jack Colback and Jordan Henderson come through and show themselves to be Premier standard after all they’ve done in the youth scheme. (NB: The answer was given in ognorance of the Waghorn and Colback loan deals)
What’s the minimum Sunderland have to achieve this season in order for it to be considered a success?
It seems an age since Peter Reid had two successive seventh top finishes. It wasn’t a better team in every department and the positions have mahe flattered to deceive, but it did have the formidable Quinn-Phillips strike pairing. Ellis Short, our owner, has top 10 as his target. That may sound over-ambitious after the disappointments of our first two seasons back in the Premier, but last season was so tight in the division that we would have got there with just a few more wins. OK. five more wins! I’d be happy with 10th
Were you pleased when Steve Bruce was appointed as manager?
I had hoped for an exciting appointment from overseas, but was 80 per cent convinced Bruce was a good choice. The reservations may have had irrational tribal origins. Everything so far suggests I should be allowing that percentage to rise, not fall. I think we will progress under his management.
Name one player you’d like Sunderland to sign before the transfer window closes.
I would love to see Marouane Chamakh come from Bordeaux if only to annoy Laurent Blanc, who – as I have reported has been making idiotic noises in the French press about Sunderland not being a big enough club for him. What exactly are Bordeaux? Deserved champions, but in France. Unlike our Quinn-Phillips side back in Reid’s days, they’d have struggled to finish seventh in England.
Will Man City finish in the top four?
I don’t have anything against Man City. In fact I quite like them and would be happy to see them break into the top four, especially if it were at Chelsea’s expense. However much we – and I include myself – rattle on about proper clubs, proper football, every fan is pleased when his or her club attracts rich investors. Not sure if it means I have an interest to declare but I have already said as much in the Abu Dhabi paper for which I write. But I’ll stick my neck out and say they won’t make it this season.
Where will Sunderland finish in the league?
Let’s stick to the above and say 10th, while hoping for sixth.