Soapbox: can we send Cattermole back to Wigan?


“It’s becoming ridiculous.” When a manager says that about his captain, and he’s not defending him but describing his immaturity and indiscipline, you know things are serious. Pete Sixsmith chose the headline; it’s unforgiving but reflects the complete exasperation of supporters Lee Cattermole has again let down …

We are sitting tenth in the league, a position that would probably keep us happy if it were May. However, after four games, three of which were against sides we had hoped to beat, a return of five points is a little disappointing.

Of course, had we managed to keep 11 players on the field for 50 per cent of those games, there is every possibility that we would have had nine points and would have been sitting pretty in third place with Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United to come.

That we are not is not down to the manager picking the wrong team or the players not being good enough. Bruce has made sensible selections and we have a group of players as good as any in the middle echelons of this league.

However, we also have Lee Cattermole – or at least we do for a portion of the first half. In 66 per cent of his games this season he has trooped off on his own after a pair of yellow cards and we have found ourselves surrendering winning positions due to lack of numbers.

On Saturday, the script was written before the game. The combination of Andre Marriner, a ref who seems to like sending Sunderland players off, and a return to his old stamping ground was too much for Cattermole and he was, probably rightly, sent off after 22 minutes.

His first card looked harsh, but Marriner had penalised him for two fouls previously and made it clear that the booking was accumulative. The second one was even more stupid than Kieran Richardson’s at Old Trafford last year.

Rodagella had broken down the right and Cattermole had done really well to get back with him. All he had to do was to stop the Colombian from cutting in – push him wide and force him into putting in a harmless cross. But that’s not Lee’s game. In went the tackle, down went Rodagella, out came the red card, preceded by the second yellow.

As he made his way to the tunnel, he must have realised that he was a man alone. The packed Sunderland end made it clear what they thought of the sending off as they roundly booed him all the way off. I have rarely heard such unanymity from the away support and he would do well to think about it. It’s as if we no longer trust him.

Other than that, it was a pretty impressive performance. We set off with Bent up front on his own, Elmohamady and Wellbeck wide and Malbranque, Henderson and Cattermole in the middle. It seemed to be working until the sending off and we had to reorganise. Off went the Egyptian Beckham and on came the World Cup star, Riveros.

He had found his introduction to Premier League football difficult at West Brom and he took a while to get fully involved in this one. But when he did, he showed what a very good footballer he is.

His passing was sharp and crisp, he brought the ball out well and if he could not get a tackle in, he jockeyed players wide rather than jumped in. Hopefully, he will have the opportunity to build on this in Cattermole’s enforced absence.

The back four looked solid again, with Bramble and Ferdinand working well, while the keeper had his best game so far. He claims the ball well and made a very brave save at the feet of Boselli in the second half. The fortunate deflection for the equaliser must have frustrated him as much as it did me.

Gyan’s goal was a gem, partly for the finish and partly for the wonderful build up by Jordan Henderson. He destroyed Figuerola (no need to sign him, Steve) and put over a cross that was begging to be blasted into the net. It was and by a player who looked tired and leggy after only 10 minutes on the pitch. But when that ball came in, he showed his instincts and went for it. The away end was just a little bit pleased.

It was a good day out all round. It’s a fairly short journey and the A66/M6 is so much more interesting than the dreary A1. We were in Wigan by noon and were settled into a fine pub called the Anvil where Allgates Brewery is situated. Their California Bitter and All Blacks Stout was mightily impressive.

A pleasant stroll along the canal banks to the DW in the early autumn sunshine set us up for a game which, if not exactly season defining, made a few things very clear to us. Firstly ,we have a strong squad, secondly we have a sound management team and finally, we need a new captain.

As for the Latics, I just have the feeling that this is the year they will slide away. I hope I am wrong- they are a friendly club and have a very sensible pricing policy, but their support, although loyal, is not great, and with the resurgence of the Rugby League team, they may well be squeezed. And get rid of that bloody drum; they are even more irritating than vuvuzelas and add nothing to the atmosphere.

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19 thoughts on “Soapbox: can we send Cattermole back to Wigan?”

  1. I remember Kevin Kilbane’s first game for SAFC. He come on as a second half sub against Southampton (I think), stormed down the left and stuck an inch perfect cross over for us to score…. But he was crap!

  2. “Having watched him tear down the wing (and subsequently right towards me) against Blackburn early last season, putting in a left footed cross inch perfectly on Kenwyne Jones head for the equaliser – I’d say he does offer more. ”

    That sounds like ‘one swallow making a summer’ to me. Even a broken clock’s right twice a day!

  3. Having watched him tear down the wing (and subsequently right towards me) against Blackburn early last season, putting in a left footed cross inch perfectly on Kenwyne Jones head for the equaliser – I’d say he does offer more.

    Just his ‘tough tackling’ side is a lot more prominent.

  4. OK – he’s only 22 but he’s played enough games in the PL to know the risks that he’s taking by coneding cumulative fouls in the first 15 minutes of the game. Talking to Wigan fans on the way out of the stadium their view was “he just doesn’t learn does he?” and “it was the same when he was here…” and “it just hasn’t sunk into his head yet has it…” – it was impossible to disagree.

  5. I’m not to bothered about the second booking. Fair play to the lad for getting back to the right back position as if he wasn’t there then the Wigan man was through on goal as Catts was the only man back! If players are going to get booked then it’s in situations like that where I want to see it! If he never got the tackle in when he did then the player was into the box and we were likely to be a goal down. It’s the first booking I have the problem with. He should never have put his arms across the player as he (maybe more than anybody?) is going to get booked. If he wants to keep the combative edge to his game and stay on the field then he needs to get shot of the stupid bookings i.e kicking the ball away like he did against B’ham and blocking off/pulling back players in the middle of the park as it doesn’t do anybody any favors!

    Just a question that I am struggling to answer myself: Taking the rough side out of Cattermoles game, does he bring anything else to the game???

  6. I think there are times — as on Saturday when Cattermole left the field — that booing your own players is quite justified and not necessarily counter-productive. If it gets through to the player how disgusted the fans are with him then maybe that’ll do more lasting good than yet another bollocking from the boss. So Cattermole had tears in his eyes. I wonder if they really were from the realization that — yet again; it’s a regular thing — he’d let Sunderland down. Or were they simply frustration at being — yet again; it’s a regular thing — sent off.
    I don’t think his youth can be cited in his defensive. He’s been playing top-class football long enough to know what’s acceptable. Yes, properly channeled, his combative style could be an asset. At the moment, it’s anything but. So I’d like to see Steve Bruce, or whoever handles channeling duties at the SoL, get busy.

  7. Come on fellahs! Let’s have some common sense (and some from the ‘Not so cool Catt would be good to see too!). You can’t keep defending the tackling time bomb. Two sending off in three games. Both in the first half. That was a shocking tackle of Rodallega and he deserved his marching orders.

    He needs to get his act together, and sooner rather than later if he has any future at SAFC.

  8. Not entirely sure how people can say they can’t criticise Cattermole for making the second challenge. It may well have been a genuine attempt to win the ball, but he’s already on a yellow and if you miss the ball, you’re off; there are defenders in the box to cover the run even if he does get cleanly past Cattermole, who could then offer back up following in. It’s the fact that he’s already on a yellow and still makes the challenge that’s the issue, it’s a lack of judgement in the heat of the action, again. If you’re not on a yellow make the challenge and potentially pick one up and get on, but when you’re already on a booking you stay on your feet unless you know you’re getting the ball. He was not the last man and it wasn’t a goal-scoring opportunity so a last ditch tackle wasn’t necessary. He has to learn or he’s a liability.

  9. That’s a great analysis Malcolm and I am glad to see some measured support for Cattermole here.

    Properly channelled, his combative style could be an asset. I would not have joined in the booing for the reason, stated here often enough, that booing our own players is wrong and counter-productive. But I would not permit him to remain captain since he is simply not equipped for that role – and losing it might even help him overcome the rash side of his character as a player.

  10. Question – Do I want Cattermole in the side. Answer – Yes.
    Question – Do I want him to play a whole game. Answer – Of course.

    I agree with Marcus on the challenge that brought the second yellow and can’t criticise Catts for making it even though it was unlikely he would win the ball. He was in a position where on balance it was better to make it than not. Close ups on the telly as he walked off showed tears in his eyes and it was pretty obvious he knew he had let the side down and was disappointed in himself. Hopefully as SB says he’ll learn from this.

    My disappointment with him though is that Saturday was not the first time but it has to be the last. Against Birmingham, as I’ve said elsewhere, it was the stupidity of the second card that I couldn’t understand. Against Wigan, the stupidity was in getting the first card. Alright it probably didn’t warrant a booking on its own but I ask was there any need to wrap his arms around an opponent in a non vital area of the pitch? And again the close ups on TV clearly showing him giving Marriner a mouthful. Hardly likely to endear him to the ref even if it is commonplace.

    It was ineveitable that he would see red after that as he will always have to make a physical challenge at some point in the match and will never get it right 100% of the time. Bruce and the coaching staff have to work on showing him how to disrupt the midfield and make opponents aware of his presence without picking up needless bookings.

    We can all criticise referees for inconsistency (and we do) but there comes a point where individuals must accept responsibility for their own actions. I don’t want Cattermole to lose the physical side of his game entirely but he must improve his ability to judge when to impose himself on others.

    He has to tread more carefully than some other big name players as it is obvious that some officials are just waiting for him to step out of line so they can exert their authority. We have all seen players like Terry, Rooney etc escape punishment for challenges worse than we saw on Saturday. Catts has to learn.

    How long would Richie Pitt or even Kevin Ball last in a game these days I wonder.

  11. However, Rodagella and Boselli did miss sitters and we didn’t get a hiding. And, as David Brent used to say, “If my auntie had b*******, she’d be my uncle”. Get back to me at the end of the season and we’ll see what has happened. I hope I am wrong.
    Cattermole must stay on his feet. Bruce has said that and it it is a vital part of his development. He will be aware that fans booed him; not a pretty sound.

  12. Catts made a mistake it is a re-occuring error and his behaviour needs to be rectified but he is still young. The performance of 10 men away from home was outstanding. Not what many would consider our best 11 or 10 depending on how you see it, but a great performance, the much maligned Bramble & Ferdinand( seen as 2nd choice to Turner & Mensah) almost kept a clean sheet and were thwarted by a cruel deflection. The 2nd choice keeper gave a classy performance the new striker slotted in well and Riveros looks the part. We have a great squad for the 1st time in years we can take injuries and still perform, give Cattermole a chance Bruce will sort him out it won’t take very long, I firmly believe Cana was a bad influence on him. Losing 0-2 against Blackpool now thats a bad result, the future looks rosey HAVE FAITH

  13. I agree on the “Wigan slipping away” post. They have a number of reasonable attacking footballers and their defense is well ogonised but they can never seem to pull it all together. Their inconsistency is their achilles heel which is very mush like SAFC with regard to our away form, which consiquently, I wouldn’t like to go to any other away ground and play 70mins with 10 men as we would usually get turned over! I feel Wigan shouldn’t have any troubles really as there are worst off teams in the league i.e West Ham, Blackpool (even after a good start), Newcastle due to squad depth and Stoke who look like they have been found out. I very much hope this is the case as Wigan are a cute little side who like to pull out the odd shock result out the bag against the top sides. If they maybe had a striker who “didn’t miss a couple of sitters” then they would surely start giving 10 men sides a hiding and their fortunes could/would drastically change.

  14. Salut I agree the second was a clear yellow but it was not the stupidity everyone is labelling it. It was a genuine attempt to win the ball. I used to be a full back (only at pub level mind) but if a forward showed me the ball like rod did to Catts I would expect to get my arse kicked I’d I didn’t at least try to make the challenge.

    Catts has my full backing and I believe he is very important to us as we don’t have anyone else to play that role.

    On another angle I’d like to see Gerrard, roone, Lampard etc make the same challenges Catts has seen 4 yellow cards for. I don’t believe they’d have more than 1.

  15. Marcus: if Pete is right and he had been warned twice before getting the otherwise harsh first yellow, and Graham Poll is right to say he then screamed abuse into Marriner’s face, he was probably lucky still to be there to make the tackle. And although I see your point – I thought he was beaten for pace and therefore didn’t have Pete’s option of pushing him wide – the foul was as clear a yellow as we’ll see all season.

  16. there’s a difference between passion and stupidity ,catts has to go you cant keep defending him,no wonder managers like arsenals who can play football hate playing against teams like ours.look at his record and keep defending him then your just as much a loose cannon as he is. Sunderland forever. look at our best results …when we play football,

  17. Pete I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Catts second yellow was in no way a walk up and kick a player. The ball was there to be won and Catts tried to win it from a forward who was moving into a menacing position. I would defy any player to make that challenge and believe 99% of them would. He was beaten by a quicker player (pnd only missed the ball by inches if that). He can’t win regardless with the fans as had he just let rodallega stroll into the box and score we’d all now be asking why didn’t he make the tackle and we’d probably have got beaten as well. The lad was distraught but he did not simply kick rodallega he was beaten by him and only slightly misjudged the tackle.

  18. Slip away, wigan played you off the park……look at the stats, of hugo and boselli hadnt of missed sitters you would have got a hiding!
    Sunderland are more deluded than there bigger north east neighbours!

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