Colin Randall writes: What more is there to say? Vito Mannone suggests the players should club together and refund the travelling support. Hmmmm. I will just repeat what I have said elsewhere: ‘The day started well. Smooth train journey from Waterloo, pints with friends at a terrific pub opposite the Isle of Wight ferry terminal, £14 off my ticket for being an old git, leisurely stroll to the ground, even a bright start from Sunderland. If I had left at 3.11pm I’d have vaguely expected to hear later that we’d got a draw or maybe even sneaked a win.’
Let Pete Sixsmith take up the sorrier story that unfolded ….
I don’t think we need to rake over the ashes of what was possibly my most humiliating day, football-wise, in the last 50 years.
The Gillingham games in 1987 push it close as that put us out of the top two divisions, but we bounced back from that. Will we from this?
Regulars on the site have looked for a silver lining in pointing out that we came back well from the West Ham and Watford drubbings but that was in a different time when all of the teams were similar to one another and freak results did happen. Not so now.
Southampton are a good side and will finish in the top eight and may well win a cup. They are balanced, well prepared, have pace and a great desire to pass the ball quickly and sharply. They have recovered from what must have been a very difficult summer and look to have an excellent manager who seems to have recruited players who are eager to succeed.
I thought we had as well but all that was blown out of the water in the second half where professional footballers gave up and played like a Sunday morning team when the previous night’s shenanigans had caught up with them.
The shape that we thought we had became an amorphous blob that ebbed and flowed. Players followed the ball, had no idea whom to mark and just stopped being professionals.
Was something said in the dressing room at half time? Why was Brown withdrawn? Was he injured? Why was Bridcutt asked to play right full back? Why was Cattermole not withdrawn? The booking (the usual harsh one) seemed to have such a negative effect on him.
There are many other questions that can be asked of the manager, the players and the structure of the club itself. Why has such a fuss been made of giving John O’Shea a new contract that will take him to 35? An upwardly mobile club would not be doing this. He creaks badly at times and his game collapsed on Saturday. Yet he is lauded for having signed on again. It must have been a difficult decision for him to make; £30,000-a-week at Sunderland or a drop into the Championship. It could be both.
Was it “just one of those days that all clubs have now and then”? We shall see on Saturday when a distinctly underwhelming Arsenal arrive at the Stadium also looking to convince their support that a home draw against Hull was no more than a blip.
Gus Poyet has much to do over the next five days. Fragile egos have been shattered and need to be mended. The reasons need to be analysed carefully and thoughtfully. Those who appear weak need to be taken out of the firing line. Those that are determined to right the wrongs of this shameful afternoon need to be told that they are good players and are playing for a club that has support that is second to none.
In 1968 (after Geoff Hurst’s fist got West Ham off to a good start towards 8-0 – Ed), we beat Coventry 3-0 with Gordon Harris and George Mulhall netting. In 1982 (after Watford), Norwich were dispatched 4-1 thanks to a pair from Gary Rowell and singles from Ally McCoist and John Cooke. That’s Cookie the kitman. Maybe Poyet could use his experience to motivate the spineless, feeble disgraceful bunch who played on Saturday.
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