Martin’s Musings from Blackburn: from high intensity to weary underachievement

Jake imagines the snailmail version

Martin O’Neill could have said we were unlucky, he could have said we were tired after Goodison without making adding the obvious qualification that this is not really an excuse. He did not; the post-match e-mail – and sorry, Martin, there was no appetite to wait up for it last night – accepts we were beaten because we played, for the most part, badly …

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Sixer’s Sevens: Blackburn Rovers 2 Sunderland 0. Dire, Lads

Here Pete Sixsmith captures the glory and shame, hope and despair, excitement and ennui of the Sunderland matchday experience. When, rarely, Pete is absent or delayed, a supersub does it for him and the seven-word verdict is preceded by an asterisk. Pete’s full analysis of the game will usually appear within a day or two.

Did we seriously look at any stage of this awful game as if we might win or even draw. It was a frankly dreadful first half, comfortably the worst Sixer could recall being subject to all season. Monsieur Salut watched a stop-start internet stream to his French bunker until he could bear no more and retreated to the safe two pairs of hands, owned by Nick Barnes and Gary Bennett.

Don't blame Jake!

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The Blackburn ‘Who are You?’: nearly getting Zidane and wanting Martin O’Neill

Jake poses the question

We were not so much let down as ignored by a promising Blackburn Rovers candidate who – sorry to be cryptic – is important enough to have intermediaries, one of whom did his utmost to pull it off. Heroically, our old friend Mike Delap*, who runs the The Wild Blackburn Rover site overcame jet lag to do the honours, with some cracking replies, just after returning from a trip to New York …

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Birflatt Boy: go, Steve, go. But he means Blackburn this time

Birflatt Boy called often enough for Steve Bruce’s head. Now he’s pushing for Steve Kean to be the next managerial casualty. The Rovers support certainly seems to have turned hostile; David Moyes said he left the Bolton game at half-time in disgust at the abuse aimed in Kean’s direction …

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Salut! Week: from Dylan and Middlesbrough to hope eternal

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Another Saturday morning review of the week as seen by Salut! Sunderland

Martin O’Neill’s dramatic last-gasp win in his first game as manager set us up for a great week for banter and upbeat thought.

Whatever happens at Spurs tomorrow afternoon – and no pundit is likely to give us a hope – we have seen reason to believe better times may lie ahead.

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Luke’s World: Sunderland set an example Blackburn may follow

Salut! Sunderland is always open to new writers. Hilary Fawcett’s marvellous account of her twin obsessions with SAFC and Bob Dylan has won deserved acclaim. Now Luke Harvey, absent from these pages for too long, returns with a reflections on Steve Bruce’s demise – and how one game summed up a second club’s need for change …

Martin O’Neill’s start as Sunderland manager ultimately ended in triumph, and he was given a good, up-close look at his predecessor’s legacy.

That’s not to say MON has inherited only negative aspects from Steve Bruce even if recent weeks on Wearside might have made that look the case. Bruce did leave our new manager a team of unified and hard working professionals, something David Vaughan and Sebastian Larsson reinforced with their goals.

It would be folly and rather disrespectful to think Bruce did not care about our team. Even against his former employers – Wigan – in what turned out to be his last game in charge, you could see he wanted to win just as badly as we, the fans, did.

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Blackburn Soapbox: a wild day as Rovers repulsed at the end

Despite his highly upbeat thoughts in Martin’s Musing, our new manager will not allow himself to get carried away by a late, narrow win over relegation zone companions. With Spurs and QPR – both away – looming, Pete Sixsmith takes a measured view …

Had you seen me slumped in my seat at 4.40pm on Sunday, you would have noticed my demeanour was considerably more gloomy than that exhibited last week on various TV channels. A goal down, time slipping away and the prospect of being one rung above a hapless Bolton Wanderers, all contributed to a face and mood that made the lugubrious Jack Dee look like the ever smiling Bruce Forsyth.

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Martin’s Musings: making our own luck to beat Blackburn

Martin O’Neill, in his first managerial Musings after a Sunderland match, rightly applauds a second half showing full of endeavour, persistence and – finally – the goals to go with those qualities. It was his deployment of Steve Bruce’s players that eventually won the game, and we were fortunate with a couple of decisions, but let us not quarrel with what ended up being the right kind of start …

Dear Colin,

I thought the players were fantastic today, for this reason and this reason alone, we were a goal behind for most of the game and then suddenly, just as you might be thinking to yourself it’s the same old story, came the second-half performance.

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