Pete Sixsmith reflects on a highly satisfactory weekend and what it means for Sunderland’s games to come ….
Forty eight hours after that momentous lunchtime at The Sports Direct. I was still buzzing.
The ladies in the Post Office, both of whom are from the Red and White side, enquired after my mental state and the 12 year old dentist even smiled when I said that I had had a good weekend and explained why.
The press coverage has concentrated on the problems at Newcastle but most of what I have read has been very complimentary about our owner, our manager and our players. Garth Crooks had Bardsley, O’Shea, Colback and Johnson in his BBC team of the week, while The Guardian put Johnson in alongside its usual selection of top four and London players.
My local paper, The Northern Echo, awarded every player at least 7/10, with Colback getting star man with 9, while none of our opponents got any more than 5.That sums up the distance by which we won the game.
However, those who write for NUFC websites were less than complimentary. Sunderland were “deeply mediocre” said one, while another described us as an “absolutely rank side”. Presumably passing the ball to your own players, making tackles and putting the ball into the net qualifies a team for this description.
One writer said we were “thoroughly average” while Brian Neil, who contributed an eloquent and entertaining “Who Are You?” used “very average” when comparing Sunderland with his beloved Newcastle United.
He went on to say that “Poyet is light years ahead of Pardew” tactically and rounded his lengthy text off with the now traditional attack on beleaguered owner Mike Ashley, suggesting that he “is sucking the heart out of our great club” and that he should get out “and take your f******* puppets with you.” I assume this is a reference to Alan Pardew and Joe Kinnear and does not suggest that Mike has taken over the mantle once held by the celebrated Mr Harry Corbett, friend of Sooty, Sweep and Ramsbottom the snake.
The next few weeks are interesting for both clubs. We have a must win home game against Hull City on Saturday, followed by two it would be nice to take two points from away games at Manchester City and Arsenal, with an FA Cup game against Southampton sandwiched in between.
Four points from the next nine would go a long way to keeping us out of the brown stuff from which we have just emerged, but most of us would be happy with a win on Saturday and damage limitation in the other two.
The way we are playing, there is a chance that we could shock either or both of the title contenders and move into the becalmed waters of mid table – although I am not betting on it. One of our fans had wagered a fiver on us to win 3-0 on Saturday and walked out of the ground £380.00 better off. Now there’s a day to savour.
A couple of points to make about the weekend in general; I thought Phil Dowd had a great game in the middle, and that, coming hard on the heels of Lee Mason’s excellent performance at Old Trafford, shows that when refs let the game flow, there is a much better chance of seeing something decent.
Compare that with Howard Webb’s ridiculous sending off of Kevin Kyle Mark II at West Ham. Dowd and Mason refereed as if they are on a park pitch on a Sunday morning with players who would make mistakes but not deliberately – although Dowd could have sent off Dummet for a nasty foul on Phil Bardsley and should have sent off Taylor for being a git. The age of Webb is over, thank goodness.
Finally, some news on former Sunderland heroes. It was great to see Kevin Phillips get the winner at Bournemouth for Leicester City. He is 40 and a fine example of how to look after oneself. Another promotion beckons for him.
Andy Melville is now Assistant Manager at Oxford United after Chris Wilder left for Northampton. And Jody Craddock was in the crowd on Saturday. There are some good pics of him, Martin Smith and Darren Holloway on RTG.
Oh, and no work needed at the dentist. Things can only get better!!!!
Campo Retro, sponsors of our win-a shirt competition – see https://safc.blog/2014/01/countdown-to-wembley-win-a-shirt-in-our-cup-final-competition/ – say there’s 20 per cent off their Sunderland retro tops until midnight tonight (Monday). Click the image to visit their site.
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