The Greeks usually have a word that sums everything up and they most certainly have in this case.
The word is “Hubris” and it means pride or arrogance and describes what happens when you slip from the acceptable one (pride) into the unacceptable one (arrogance).
That’s how I see it this morning, 24 hours after witnessing the most disappointing game of Keane’s reign.
A large group of mostly Sunderland fans had gathered at the Stadium on Saturday evening to celebrate Colin’s 60th birthday with much of the talk revolving around how poor the Mags had been earlier, how Mike “Man of the People” Ashley had looked so ridiculous in his ever tightening shirt, and how he had surely broken numerous rules by chugging a pint in his seat on live TV.
The talk turned to how we had brought in players who would move us onward and upward, how the acquisition of Cissé and Diouf gave us a real cutting edge, how the midfield had speeded up and how the defence looked solid. Colin’s Boro supporting relatives were taunted about how we would pass them in the table after we had dealt with Manchester City, while the Spurs and Leeds fans present were patronised and told to watch this club take off.
Off we went into the night confident that Colin and Joelle would be given another birthday treat by our expensively assembled squad and that he would see a win on his first visit to the Stadium for just over a year.
For twenty minutes on Sunday they were able to bask in the glory of a Sunderland team with pace, accuracy and the potential to beat one of the sides who we aspire to. Then, City got hold of the game, realised that all the fancy passing and footwork actually produced very little and began to control the game.
The first goal was a little unfortunate but once again Craig Gordon failed to push it out. Yes, he got down quickly, yes he did well to get a hand to it but once again, it came back off him. The same thing happened at Spurs – once is maybe unfortunate, twice has you going “Hmmmmm…”
The least said about the two second half goals, the better. Suffice to say that Keane’s reaction from the touchline means that some members of the back four will be spending a lot of time playing at Hetton between now and the next transfer window opening. Anton Ferdinand must have had mixed feelings as he sat in the stand. “Yes, I’ll get a game but what have I let myself in for?”
Keano was right; there are no positives to take from this game. The whole side was paper thin and perhaps made us realise that pretty football gets you nowhere. No midfield enforcer cum passer like Hamman, no organiser at the back like Dunne, no real strength up front like Jo. City looked useful but we made them look good.
It was a real shock to the system, the equivalent of a strong Espresso after a night on the Theakston’s Extra Cold Dark. If beer were football, this noxious brew would be Sunderland on Sunday’s performance. Two weeks to get it right and give us a Timothy Taylor’s Landlord showing at Wigan.