Soapbox: gulfs of difference

Soapbox
Thousands of miles from home, SAFC expats can gawp at every step of the Lads’ up-down-down Premiership progress while ticketless fans at home make do with radio commentary and TV highlights. Pete Sixsmith fears the differences do not end with football viewing rights

Ah, the advantages of working in a country which has no restrictive rules on the games you can watch on television. There might not be one-man one-vote democracy either, but you can at least watch the Lads without having to travel to north London and spend hours on a coach.

Colin’s report echoes what I heard on BBC Radio N******** and saw on MOTD. Careless defending + slack finishing = a long drawn out relegation battle. Such a disappointment after last week’s rousing performance against Portsmouth, but typical of the way we have gone about this season.

We all know that Championship players do not easily adjust to the Premier League. We hoped that Nyron, Dean, etc. would but they haven’t. The first goal was a typical championship goal. Of course it should have been cleared by Nosworthy and/or McShane but it wasn’t and we ended up (or in this case started off) chasing a game yet again.

The bits I saw after that made it look as if we were fortunate to avoid a real drubbing in the first half. We came back well in the second half but another Championship refugee in Chopra was too slow to get on to a Premier League quality cross from Murphy and then the keeper made a good save to deny us a scarcely deserved equaliser. Where is Paul Robinson when you need him?

We must buy a proven central defender who can marshal and organise a back four. Look at the frustration shown by Gordon after the first goal. He must find it impossible to build any confidence when defenders make so many basic errors.

We must buy a second forward who can feed off our one success story this season. If we are relegated there is no chance of Kenwyne returning to the Oakwell/Molineux/ Carrow Road circuit.

It’s been a frustrating week what with the circus tent going on up at the Toon. It’s amazing to see sensible journalists like Richard Williams in the Guardian and Paul Wilson in the Observer wetting themselves over the Third Coming of the Blessed St Kevin.

The worst thing is that they assume that the whole of the region is in thrall to what happens at St James’s and that the entire populations of County Durham and Northumberland are just waiting for a Black and White League title. We aren’t, and on the evidence of Saturday it could be a long and difficult haul for the formerly permed now grey-haired one.

As for my football this weekend I saw quite a bit live and on TV. Lots of former Sunderland players as well. Ben Clark and Robbie Elliott both had stinkers for Hartlepool on Friday night as they lost to Cheltenham. A former junior and reserve, Stephen Pickering, played well for Dunston Fed as they demolished Shrivenham 8-0 in the FA Vase. On TV on Sunday I came across Lilian Laslandes peppering the fans behind the goal as he missed two easy chances for Nice who beat Nancy 1-0 and later on Andy Marriott had a good game in goal for Exeter in their easy victory over a poor Oxford side.

However, I’d have given it all up for the sight of Nosser lashing that ball into the stands and Chopra arriving a split second earlier to push Murphy’s cross over the line.

A weekend off and then Birmingham. They played well against Chelsea but still lost. Wigan played well against Everton but still lost. Reading played well against Manchester United but still lost. We are still in there and must win our home games. Keep the faith.

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