This will be my final dodgy numbers post of the season. (If you haven’t seen the previous ones you can follow the link above, and/or those below). There is still a game to go, and two questions remain unanswered, but we can now look at the league table and judge how well our start of season pundits did. Their choices for the top six spots, in order of popularity were: Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Fulham, Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland.
Three out of six, and wrong about the top two. Is that a “not bad” verdict or something worse?
Yesterday you might have seen how I – or rather our readers – came to select a number of clubs to follow over the course of the season. They were originally Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Fulham, Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland; Wolves, Bristol City, Cardiff, Derby and Sheffield United joined them at the end of the January transfer window.
Let’s go back to the start of the season (and don’t we wish we could).
I polled our readers as to who would make the top six. These clubs came up favourite ( in the order given) and I began tracking them and reporting on their progress from time to time:
By Christmas, if not earlier, it was obvious some changes were needed.
Beyond shocking. That is Pete Sixsmith‘s withering verdict on the latest chapter in the nightmare that is Sunderland AFC. At …
Pete Sixsmith was there and we’ll have his full report tomorrow. For now we have a choice of three seven-word texts, sent at various times during the game.
At 8.36 pm “Coffin lid on. Justwaiting for nails”
At 9.23pm “Undoubtedly the worst performance I have seen”
And at the final whistle:
Monsieur Salut welcomes anyone who has missed Salut! Sunderland‘s comprehensive buildup to tonight’s game and offers pointers to the best of that coverage…
Approaching the home game against Aston Villa, kicking off a few hours from now, the Sunderland Echo speculated that SAFC’s survival propsects may well depend on winning this match or the next one, at QPR on Saturday. If pushed, I’d say we probably need to win both or at least emerge with four points.
The crisis has reached those desperate proportions.
Confidence remains in short supply as another failure to win a game not only exposes our limited powers of resistance but confirms our desperate short-term outlook.
As Mick Goulding and others have pointed out, here and elsewhere, a draw at in-form Millwall, while creditable enough if viewed in isolation, simply isn’t good enough in our current parlous state.
Tom Jolliffe* cannot see beyond an away win at the Stadium of Light tomorrow. At least he applies a neat sense of humour, and traces of sympathy, to his asnwers about our plight and his club Aston Villa’s buoyant current state and longer-term prospects (which should not, in his view, include much room for Lewis Grabban beyond the Championship). And however controversial this will be, Monsieur Salut thinks he’s closer to being right than wrong in his assessment of Steve Bruce …
John McCormick writes: Like most others I have been to see League games that didn’t involve Sunderland. Like a few, I have written about it – my first piece of writing for this site was about Newcastle v Leyton Orient and a player called Dick Keith. If I had known then that I’d be posting pieces like this one from Pete Sixsmith I might not have bothered.
The man is a master. Read on and you’ll see what I mean:
Most weeks, readers of Salut! Sunderland drop by on Friday morning to catch the latest instalment in Pete Sixsmith’s twin series, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Ground (if the game in question is away), Team (if it’s at the Stadium of Light).
This week, the Millwall edition was posted earlier than usual – namely at this link.