Sixer’s Sevens: Wigan Athletic 1 SAFC 4. O’Neill marches on


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.

And more joy to record under the MON revolution. Pete’s text – see the Seven below – summed up a tough old opening 45 minutes that ended sweetly with Gardner’s free kick in stoppage time. Soon enough after the interval, James McClean made all of Sunderland, most of County Durham and every Derry City fan happy by doubling our lead … keep it going Lads was what I said, Wigan quickly getting one back was what happened. Game on. Or so it briefly seemed: cue Sessegnon and Vaughan and we’re 10th top, for however long, and heading for bliss! A tremendous result and Pete’s final whistle text was a treat:

A brilliant second half from a team that really believe in themselves. Some great goals. A fantastic following and it says everything about this wonderful club.

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 …

Jan 3 2012 Wigan Athletic (0) 1 SAFC (1) 4 Merrily we roll along as Wigan destroyed

Jan 1 2012 SAFC (0) 1 Manchester City (0) 0 An absolutely incredible win. O’Neill is god

Dec 26 2011 SAFC (1) 1 Everton (0) 1 Wind and Webb deny us a win

Dec 21 2011 Queens Park Rangers (0) 2 SAFC (1) 3 Deserved to win despite mad ten minutes

Dec 18 2011 Tottenham Hotspur (0) 1 SAFC (0) 0 One sloppy pass undoes a solid performance

Dec 11 2011 SAFC (0) 2 Blackburn Rovers (1) 1 Sheer perseverance gives MON vital winning start


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 …

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17 thoughts on “Sixer’s Sevens: Wigan Athletic 1 SAFC 4. O’Neill marches on”

  1. Thought I’d replied to this before – despite being a previous defender of Bruce (as was Marco Gabbiadini, so I’m in good company) I didn’t take any comments personally. We have a range of views but in the end we all support by far the greatest team the world has ever seen

  2. Good to hear from you CSB. I don’t imagine that Jeddah is a lot of fun even if Sunderland are winning 🙂

    You are dead right. There will be some hiccups along the way but we know that this man can do what’s necessary. We’ve not had a manager with the level of consistency that he’s achieved at several other clubs.

  3. Like several others on this stream (BB, Jeremy & Hilary) I was subjected to comments from the Bruce (give him time) support, some articulate, some just reiterating mindless mantra and being nasty with it.

    But, I would like to say that if that was what was necessary to get us to where we are now (and I don’t mean bloody Jeddah) then it was all well worth it. That doesn’t excuse some of the comment but that was largely down to a few emotional individuals.

    I am quite happy to let bygones be bygones and move on with constructive discussions for the remainder of the season. Still wish that Bruce had had the decency to walk unstead of being pushed but it reflects his sadly misplaced belief in his own infallability and the fallibility of everybody else.

    The O’Neil era is now in full swing and although it won’t be plain sailing all the way I am really begining to warm to the challenge and get my enthusiasm back with passionate and committed performances that MON has produced in the players.

  4. Davey has gone quiet (rather understandably). He is the one that should be putting in an appearance on this thread to make an apology Hilary and not you.

    Davey gave quite a few of us the hump with his accusations about the BOBs being like “that lot up the road,” and “not being true supporters,” and the other nonsense that those overwhelmingly defeated in their argument customarily resort to.

    Joan never did that. I assume and hope that she didn’t feel that your comment (Hilary) was aimed in her direction. It was Davey that I thought of immediately when I read your post (it that helps at all).

  5. Joan-I was a bit harsh with my comment and I know that it is our different positions that make the site interesting. It was Davey’s comment on another strand about negativity that prompted my rather over the top reaction. You are right Birflatt Boy, it is great that we all have something to celebrate.

  6. Without any shadow of a doubt we’d have been well and truly in the drop zone had we not made the change. We all want what is best for the club and our opinions have the same shades as the rainbow.

    It’s great to have something to be pleased about. Birflatt went to bed with a grin as wide as the Wear last night. These are great days and what a wonderful start to 2012.

  7. As one who defended Bruce right up to the Wigan game can I just say ….. “I was wrong” ! In my defence, I do think that the squad is stronger than the one he inherited but it has taken MON to bring out their potential. Fantastic days. Let’s hope my temporary managing of the site while M. Salut is away is slightly better than my judgement of managers.

  8. I agree, Jeremy. I have long said that there were more issues around Bent and Gyan’s departure than were revealed at the time and I also thought that Bruce should have gone months ago. In many ways O’Neill is the antithesis of Bruce-he is intelligent, disciplined and thoughtful, as opposed to panicky, garrulous and just not terribly bright. We should certainly attract good players to the Club now and hopefully retain players like Sess, whose skill and professionalism continues to be so very impressive.

    Strange how those who would have wished Bruce to stay on, are now behaving as if they had supported change all along. No humility or acknowledgement that the so called ‘anti Bruce Brigade’-might have been right. I have no doubt that we would have been at the bottom of the League now had Bruce still been with us.

  9. Given his experience and comments there is no way that MON will be getting carried away. What these recent results achieve in addition to carrying us up the table and making everybody feel good, is to make SAFC a more attractive proposition to players on the move.

    If the last month shows what a good manager O”Neill is, it equally demonstrates the incompetence of Bruce. Working with a threadbare squad that was failing dismally under Bruce, we have seen a team as well as individuals completely transformed. It also shows why we should have gotten rid of SB six months ago. Even at the end there were still some fans inexplicably offering support to him. He should have been sent packing at the end of last season if not before.

    Despite our criticism of the likes of Bent and Gyan, I think that right now it’s a lot clearer why some players would have wanted to leave the club.

  10. I agree Malcolm, we have indeed seen a marvellous resurgance of confidence and some very effective football, all dignified by MON’s inspiring presence. I certainly don’t want to put a damper on things and we should indeed enjoy our success. However looking over some of the other forums today there is an unrealistic degree of optimism and an almost hysterical tone creeping in. Of course MON is a highly intelligent and experienced operator and knows the reality of the situation, and won’t be carried away by things. I think he is the ideal fit for us and am absoluterly delighted with what he is doing, but dont want to see a backlash against him if things steady off for a while. I want him to be here for the long haul.

  11. You can bet Hillary that MON isn’t getting carried away but given the way we felt after Fulham, Villa, the 1st Wigan match and Wolves we are entited to enjoy the moment. We have seen a rejuvenation of the club over the past month and whilst the initial euphoria will be hard to keep up, I think most of us are realistic to know that a top half finish will represent success.

    But more than the results I am heartened by the way the teams have played and if the lads show the same commitment at Chelsea, even if we lose I’ll be happy.

    But I’m hoping that we may even have a decent cup run this year with a kindly draw. I’ll be disappointed if we lose at Peterborough but without the change of manager I would have not have surprised to lose. I can’t envisage a repeat of Brighton!

  12. Of course you’re right Hilary but at the moment I feel absolutely marvellous given our recent games.You have to keep reminding yourself that the team is suffering from major absences yet nonetheless turns in top class performances showing tremendous spirit and attacking flair(have I really said that about Sunderland?)In over forty -odd years of following SAFC I know there’s never been a three day period when we have turned in such memorable results.High praise to all at the club.especially MON of course but great credit to such as Kilgallon,Gardner and McClean who have had few first team chances.Mignolet was excellent last night and so brave as was Colback who played through injury.Compliments too to Mike Dean who I thought had an excellent game as referee.Ha’way!!!

  13. This was a great result, but I do think there is a danger in getting too carried away and expecting too much too soon. This run is to some extent possibly part of a post Bruce bounce. It must be a joy to have an intelligent tactician and dignified presence at the helm and players are playing beyond their potential in some cases. The team still needs strengthening though, and there will be some ups and downs. I have no doubt that MON is the right man for the job and after some of his experiences, dealing with the Board at Sunderland must be a pleasure for him. He and SAFC are a good match, but let our expectations be realistic. Anything above 10th would be great this year. My expectations in the longer term are very high but just feel a bit anxious about getting ahead of ourselves before some ground work has been done.

  14. After the exertions on new Years Day I feared we mught be a bit leggy tonight, and for instances in the first half we did look tired and mentally not up to it, but Gardner (a player I had criticised under Bruce not only for his standard of play but also his very vocal support of SB in the spat with the fans) showed the way against city and did so again tonight.

    New Managers invariable inject a new enthusiasm in to a Club, but the remarkable turnaround under O’Neil in individual performances, tactics, substitutions only echos all the failings of the previous incumbent.

    Tonight O’Neil was out on the pitch congratulating the players and had contact with all those substituted, really quite an incredible turnaround.

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