Soapbox: three in a row

Soapbox
**** SUNDERLAND AFC: an apology ****
In common with “Marty E”, Pete Horan, Colin Randall and thousands of other SAFC fans, Pete Sixsmith may have given the impression that he believed he had pledged his allegiance to a team of honest no-hopers led by a tactically clueless Corkman and bound inexorably for yet another relegation. Pete wishes it to be known that this was a wholly erroneous interpretation of his remarks in Soapbox, Sixer’s Sevens and the East Stand, and that he meant only to recite the mantra: “Keano is God, the Lads are sublime, Sunderland are on their way.”

What a turn up for the book! Who would have thought after successive home defeats that we would go on and win the next three? I didn’t. Looking back to my musings on the Chelsea game, the doom and gloom is there for all to see. So why the change?

Of the three games we have won, one was against opposition in the middle of a sticky patch, one was against opponents who performed well and one was against Fulham.

Fulham are definitely going down. They looked like a side who have stopped believing in themselves and their manager, and they pressed the self-destruct button on a regular basis on Saturday.

We did all that we had to, and Roy’s assessment that we were “bad, bad, bad” was a little harsh. However, they missed a good chance before Collins scored the first of his two goals when McBride took a step off Nyron and planted a header into the arms of a grateful Gordon.

I still can’t see what was wrong with Danny’s disallowed goal, but I’m sure it made the legitimate one feel that much sweeter. But what about the marking? The Scandinavian centre-half lost him as easily as most punters lost pounds on the Grand National.

He was even worse for the second one, losing out so easily to Kenwyne and then watching the former Mag Hughes hesitate to allow Chopra to win the game for us. Finally, Whitehead made him look a complete prat by tying him up in more knots than a Stockholm swinger before passing to Jones for the third.

With signings like this you deserve to go down. It brought back horrible memories of Steve Hetzke in the late 80s – and they are memories that Mr Alzheimer is welcome to.

It was a good performance in that you can only beat what is in front of you. We were a little slack at times but we got away with it and there was another load of positives to take from this. The keeper looks sound, the back four well organised, the midfield well balanced and the front TWO put defenders under pressure.

Whitehead and Murphy played well and Jones looked quality. His back flip is much more impressive than Martin’s and one million per cent better than Agbonlahor’s laughable roll over as highlighted on Match of the Day 2. Hopefully, Kenwyne will be able to show the Hybrids how to do three on the 20th.

Another good Saturday for us and I am now supremely confident that my decision to renew mine and Colin’s season ticket was the right one. Bolton looked a lost cause at Villa and Megson’s body language during and after the game indicated that he knew the game was up. I think that they and Fulham will struggle in the Championship and that financial meltdown for one if not both is likely.

In some ways it’s a shame that the Cottagers are going. Pre-game eating and drinking was done in the White Horse at Parsons Green, a splendid pub with a great selection of ales, decent food, and a bar manager who poured me a Bushmills and then tipped the rest of the bottle in and didn’t charge for the extra. It’s moments like that that make life worth living.

No sightings of Boris Johnson, Fayed or Prince Philip, but the execrable Diddy David Hamilton is still there bellowing down a microphone and looking as if he is stuck together with Botox. I always thought he was rotten DJ and used to wince in embarrassment at his banter with Tony Blackburn and that stupid dog tape that Blackburn had.

Barnsley_2 Better banter from Jeff Scott’s excellent book Banter and Bustle. I ordered one on Friday, it arrived on Saturday and I spent most of Sunday admiring it (this picture, of fans in the West Stand, is taken from it). Get one asap – maybe we could ask Fayed if Harrods would stock it.

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