Malcolm Dawson writes….Pete Sixsmith doesn’t just deliver “The Observer” sometimes he gets asked to write for it too. As is their wont The Observer follows the lead of Salut! Sunderland by doing end of season reviews and ask the fans of all clubs to sum up their Premier League campaign. You can read the whole lot by following the links Arsenal to Manchester United and Newcastle to West Ham. Meanwhile, if you couldn’t care less about anyone else, here’s what Pete told them about us.
Our annual production of The Great Escape was even more special this season, after a start that was worse than Villa’s. The real improvement came when Sam Allardyce had his chance to revamp the squad. Out went those who were nowhere near good enough, in came three players who changed the season. Allardyce has impressed on and off the pitch: he’s a good fit for a gritty, working class club like ours.
The stars Koné, Kirchhoff and Khazri changed the dynamic. Younès Kaboul was poor in autumn and exceptional in spring. Vito Mannone was a fine keeper and Jermain Defoe’s goals and positivity kept us up.
The flops Jeremain Lens looked a good buy in summer but turned out to be a huge disappointment. I don’t expect to be seeing him in August. Jack Rodwell epitomised the way that our game wastes talent.
Summer targets Another forward, because Defoe will not go on for ever. Maybe Ayew from Swansea? There’s a need for a stronger squad and an end to signing players who are clearly unsuited to Premier League football. I’ll leave the detail to the scouts who unearthed Koné, Kirchhoff and Khazri.
Best and worst away fans Leicester’s away crowd was noisy and clapperless. West Ham’s was boisterous. Chelsea were charmless.
2016-17 title winners Why not us? We finished on a high and have a solid squad. Lightning can strike twice. Failing that, maybe Tottenham.
Highlights montage music The Long and Winding Road – The Beatles.
Pete Sixsmith SalutSunderland.com