This is where Pete Sixsmith captures the glory and shame, hope and despair, excitement and ennui of the Sunderland matchday experience. When, rarely, Pete is absent or delayed, a supersub does it for him and the seven-word verdict is preceded by an asterisk. Pete’s full analysis of the game will usually appear within a day or two.
Today was a day that brought some ennui, a little shame and lots of despair.
Sunderland’s owner Ellis Short wrote in his debut matchday programme notes that there was no need for panic though “the performances and results on the pitch are our number one concern and we are all looking for improvement there”. After a storming start, one goal and several missed chances, we might at least have expected something resembling that improvement to be visible once we reached 10 to five this evening.
How predictable that we should then concede a daft penalty and, as Gary Bennett put it in radio commentary, “run out of ideas” before letting Wigan win. The October and November’s games – the run M Salut gave Steve Bruce to turn things around – are up. So, with the greatest of respect, is Steve Bruce’s number. Panic or not, the results (which include a quite scandalous three points from home games versus WBA, Villa, Fulham and Wigan) remove any vestige of understanding, patience and support for the manager’s position.
Much more will be said on this in the coming days, days Bruce will surely be extremely fortunate to survive with his job. But in truth, he should not need to be told; he should solemnly recognise his duty and do the professional equivalent of retreating with brandy and revolver to the study.
The full Sixer’s Sevens archive – see link below – sums up what all Sunderland supporters feel, from darkest gloom to sublime elation, in the words one who is usually there …
Nov 26 2011 SAFC (1) 1 Wigan Athletic (1) 2 *Bruce’s reign surely over after this debacle. That was M Salut’s verdict, followed by these from Mr Sixsmith: “Shambolic defending spells end for Bruce now”, “He must go after another clueless performance”, “Got what we deserved after brainless display”, “Pressed the self destruct button yet again”, “Second half shocker means Bruce’s time’s up” and finally “Print them all”.
Nov 19 2011 SAFC (0) 0 Fulham (0) 0 Truly appalling game lacking pace, creativity, threat
Nov 5 2011 Manchester United (1) 1 SAFC (0) 0 Decent performance but slipshod defending cost us
Oct 29 2011 SAFC 2 (1) Aston Villa 2 (1) … Determination and effort produced a fair result
Oct 22 2011 Bolton Wanderers (0) 0 SAFC (0) 2 … Team selection vindicated in impressive second half
Oct 16 2011 Arsenal (1) 2 SAFC (1) 1 Defended bravely but attacking options barely existed
To see Sixer’s Sevens in full, click here. If an asterisk precedes the comment, the words that follow are the work of someone else because Pete is for once absent from the game or his verdict has been delayed …