Marco Gabbiadini, Joan Osborne and one question each

Joan Osborne is of Irish stock so maybe casts an eye from time to time across the Atlantic at how an Irish-American owner and pure Irish chairman are getting on at Sunderland. She may be pleased to hear her whimsical hit One of Us served as a slightly tenuous inspiration for Jeremy Robson to set a rather interesting ball rolling …

That Joan Osborne song, Jeremy reports from his Ontario exile, was on the radio the other day, the one with the mention of “just one question” before the chorus line “What if God was one of us?”.

Some question. But what, he (not He) wondered, if we all had the right to put just one question of our own to any Sunderland player, past or present. To whom would you pose yours and what would it be?

Read moreMarco Gabbiadini, Joan Osborne and one question each

Derby donkeys, or is the manager an ass?

Like father, like son. Brian Clough was admired for his achievements as player and manager, but divided opinion with his plain speaking. Now Nigel, battling with the rigours of management, finds himself in hot water for intemperate comments on some of his Derby squad. Jeremy Taylor,
pictured right, reports …

Theo Walcott’s recent confession about his dive against Leeds Utd spawned the article written here by M Salut – and a flood of responses.

It has been a thoroughly interesting debate.

And whether it be diving, pushing or pulling shirts, it is clear that cheating has become part of a modern game that seems to have lost its sense of decency and honesty.

Read moreDerby donkeys, or is the manager an ass?

The day they knew Brian Clough’s career was doomed

Our magnificent man in his flying machine is Bill Taylor, who lives in Canada these days but is a Sunderland-daft Bishop lad. He has never lost the passion despite living thousands of miles from County Durham and even becoming a naturalised Canadian. Older fans will identify with his nostalgic memories of an early introduction to Roker Park; younger ones will get an idea of what it was like. You’ll guess from the ending that it was written before Saturday’s game when Cattermole not only remained uninjured and unpunished but had a blinder …

I first heard the Roker Roar from a distance, a backyard a couple of streets away from the Fulwell End. I can’t have been any more than five at the time.

“What’s that?” I asked. And my dad replied: “Sounds like the Lads just put one in.”

The Lads?

“Sunderland,” he said, a bit testily as if I should’ve known without asking. “The team. OUR team.”

Read moreThe day they knew Brian Clough’s career was doomed

Clough or SuperKev or Marco?


Must be something to do with watching Diego Milito’s sublime finishing for Inter Milan last night and wondering whether he’s had time to consider a move to Sunderland, where he and Darren Bent could strike up a useful partnership – and challenge for places in our parade of best-ever strikers …

There are
things that happened last week that I barely remember. The memory of Brian Clough’s ultimately career-ending injury, colliding with Bury’s goalkeeper Chris Harker in the light snow of Roker Park, is so clear that it might have happened earlier today, rather than Boxing Day 1962.

Read moreClough or SuperKev or Marco?

Soapbox: another week, another drama. But let’s hand it to Thierry Henry


As Sunderland prepare to face Arsenal, the debate rages on. Should France v Republic of Ireland be replayed? If so, what about Reading 1 Sunderland 0 (goal given, not over line), Sunderland 1 Aston Villa 1 (legitimate, last second SAFC winner inexplicably denied by Steve Bentley), Sunderland 1 Liverpool 0 (beachball clinches the points).
One view of Thierry Henry’s public contrition is that it reaffirms his greatness; another is that it was a little belated and therefore that public reaction forced his hand (sorry).
No serious football controversy would be complete without Pete Sixsmith weighing in. And he says the Irish just have to get on with life …

Like the poor
Swedish referee, I didn’t see the Henry Handball incident on Wednesday. I was driving home from Billingham, having got my midweek football fix by watching an entertaining game between Synthonia and West Allotment Celtic (2-1 to the visitors if you really want to know), but I did have the commentary on Radio 5 Live.

In between the whoops and soars and the intervention of Radio Moscow, I heard John Murray say absolutely clearly that Henry had handled it and the goal should not have stood. Mark Lawrenson came on at the end of the 90 minutes and said the same, only more forcefully. Both spoke about the need for technology to help the officials with their decisions.

Read moreSoapbox: another week, another drama. But let’s hand it to Thierry Henry

Who are you? We’re Sunderland


Seemed only fair. Jonathan Fear, from Vital Villa, previewed the Carling Cup match for us so I agreed to return the favour. Salut! Sunderland often asks rival fans the “lazy interviewer’s question” – inviting them to ask something we forgot but they wanted to answer. Jonathan made the ultimate refinement of this device by leaving it to me to ask all the questions as well as answer them …

Good start to the season for Sunderland, with important wins already (question posed before St Andrew’s!) Is this going to be a big season for you?

Certainly better. How big remains to be seen. Ellis Short, our new owner made a top 10 finish his target and I would have settled cheerfully for that until we nearly beat man United and then beat Liverpool. So let’s be bold as say seventh, maybe even sixth.

Read moreWho are you? We’re Sunderland