Soapbox: season to start minus Craig Gordon

soapbox


Pete Sixsmith is in pre-season training, too, after marking enough exam papers to pay for trips to Darlington (eight miles on the No 1 bus) and Hoffenheim (change at Darlo) …

After the “delights” of Spain v The Netherlands, we are back to normal – ie thinking and writing about the football that really MEANS something for us.

As the first domestic friendly looms into view at Darlington we can begin to anticipate the opening game of our fourth successive season as a Premier League club, against the might of Birmingham City.

Read moreSoapbox: season to start minus Craig Gordon

Doing the Munster match

Beating a Munster XI 2-1 in our first pre-season friendly was an acceptable start to the build-up to a new Premier League season. Now for mighty Darlington.

Martyn Waghorn’s encouraging performance – scoring both Sunderland goals – was marred by a late injury that meant he left the field on a stretcher. I have no precise news on how serious it may be, but Steve Bruce said afterwards that the immediate thinking was that “he’ll be OK”.

Read moreDoing the Munster match

A Christmas football wishlist. 1 (A-I): Thierry Henry in Gaelic, Darlo in the playoffs

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Is Santa listening? Probably not, but Salut! Sunderland thought it would produce its own list of the presents it wants, the things it wants to happen not just for Christmas but for the coming year. Let’s see how many are granted. This is the first of three instalments. Come up with a better suggestion or two and you might win a prize …

A is for Arsène. The elegantly whingeing Alsacian – (“is that why they’re called Arsenal?” asked the daughter who knows nothing about football) – announces a new deal with Optical Express, suddenly sees things more clearly, apologises for his players’ occasional diving and heaps praise on teams that beat or draw against Arsenal as well as those that lose.

B is for Bruce: Steve wins three manager-of-the-month awards in succession and we’re not only safe but sixth.

Read moreA Christmas football wishlist. 1 (A-I): Thierry Henry in Gaelic, Darlo in the playoffs