Another international weekend with Sunderland players called up. You might wonder how, given that we’re a League One club and we can barely score, never mind keep a clean sheet. But let’s be thankful for small mercies, not only does it give the players a weekend without conceding, it also gives me a chance to bring us up to date before Pete Sixsmith starts a new series (I won’t tell you what it is but I will assure you of its quality) that will take us to Christmas and the site’s wind-down.
For my part, I’ll be keeping things brief. I still have neuropathy following my treatment (follow the link to find out what I’m on about) and it’s likely to last a lot longer. Typing isn’t easy and creating and manipulating graphs takes forever, which explains why this lot aren’t a uniform size.
Still, things could be worse, I’ve now had two all-clear blood tests and we are still within spitting distance of the playoffs, as you will see below:
Portsmouth then Sunderland, Ipswich, Rotherham, Peterborough and Coventry top our poll. But where are Lincoln?
On Friday we had over 3,000 visitors, followed by a quiet weekend. Not everyone took part in our top six poll but over 1200 votes (not voters) have now been cast. That’s not bad, I suppose, for a League One fans’ site but I am expecting a few more will chip in before the season kicks off.
Early results suggest the headline I used then – for which I visited a couple of betting sites to find the promotion favourites – was on the right lines. Of the six clubs I named five are in the top spots. Lincoln (currently lingering in 8th place) are the exception with Sunderland, unsurprisingly, replacing them. There’s a gap – slight but quite evident – between the top three and the next three, after which numbers drop off, so Lincoln and Doncaster, who made last season’s playoffs and now lie seventh, have quite a bit of ground to make up.
All of the clubs in the League received votes, which I’m taking to signify that we managed a wide reach. It will be interesting to see if enough fans of so-called smaller clubs, which are predominantly towards the bottom of the poll, visit in large enough numbers to move their favourites upwards. Crowdwise, numbers are against them but we have only small numbers voting so you never know.
Ipswich or Portsmouth? Rotherham or Peterborough? How about Lincoln or Coventry? It’s your choice
Last season our punters got it more or less right and correctly predicted most of the top six. Luton were missed but that was mainly down to the Coventry Ninjas, whose hijack of last year’s poll pushed them (Luton) out of the top places.
Maybe the ninjas or another club’s fans will do the same again this season. As far as I’m aware the polldaddy vulnerability that allowed multiple voting still exists and all I can do is disable the ability of readers to see the results in real time. That might change how the poll coding works (it’s built-in and can’t be changed) but it takes something away. A pity, but there we go.
I’ve got a lot on for the next few weeks so I won’t be conjuring up a novel method of tracking and displaying our chosen clubs’ progress or the lack of it. All I’ll be doing is monitoring the accretion of points for now, though I might come up with something different later in the season.
As always, your comments are welcome. We hold posts for moderation but they do go up eventually, subject to meeting commonsense rules of decency, manners, libel etc.
Rambling through Accrington, Coventry and Ipswich to Lincoln. How do Sunderland’s rivals shape up financially?
League One comprises 24 clubs. Three of them, Bury, Bolton and Blackpool, are entering, exiting or plodging in the clarts of receivership. Leaving them and Sunderland aside gives us twenty clubs.
I thought I’d take a look at their finances. Nothing detailed, just a skim through any entries at Companies House and a quick perusal of a search engine, enough to kill some time I have and satisfy idle curiosity. My idea was to divide the twenty into two and cover 10 clubs each time. After that matters should have moved ahead with the Lancashire Bs and Sunderland’s takeover and I should be able to revisit these four.
The Salut! Sunderland Haway awards: Peterborough, Wycombe, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers in the running
It has become a bit of a stuck old gramophone record, Salut! Sunderland‘s pride in a tremendous season of Who are You? interviews with opposing supporters.
Judging is at an advanced stage for our HAWAYs – annual awards for Highly Articulate Who are You?s – and with only a couple of sets of votes still awaited, front-runners are emerging.
League One has been a goldmine for the series (not forgetting our cup-game interviewees from other divisions)
As Monsieur Salut put it when writing to the judges: “I could have put them all in a hat and drawn three at random, so good have so many of the interviews been.”
Sixer’s sub’s Fleetwood Soapbox: Sunderland’s season encapsulated in 95 minutes
Malcolm Dawson writes………none of us really wanted to go through the playoffs, even those who would have settled for that …
Sixer’s Fleetwood Sevens: Sunderland had to win, managed to lose
Pete Sixsmith made the short trip across the Pennines, writes John McCormick, with cuddly Joey Barton urging his Fleetwood men to send us home in tears.
For the miracle to happen, Sunderland needed a hatful of goals, let alone what had to befall our promotion rivals. Lee Cattermole scored to give us a halftime lead and Barnes and Benno were in no doubt we should have been much further ahead.
Sixer judged it to be a competent first 45; afterwards, B&B felt we allowed Fleetwood to claw a way back into the game. ‘Losing our grip,’ said Benno on 70 and four minutes later, Madden equalised for Fleetwood and that alone would have consigned us to the playoffs. The inability to hold or build on a lead had reared its head yet again and draw number 20 loomed. It didn’t come. A flurry of Sunderland activity brought late excitement but when the winner arrived, it went to Fleetwood …
Take your pick from Sixer’s seven-word verdicts below. His fuller analysis would have been brutal. Should we expect a more measured assessment given that our deputy editor Malcolm Dawson – also present – is writing it? We’ll see …
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Ground: Fleetwood Town and Highbury
John McCormick writes: Pete Sixsmith reaches the penultimate stage of his journey round League One with a warning that this will be another tough game. Personally, I expect us to win it, but with a weakened team: McGeady and Oviedo won’t play, being injured, nor will Catts, Wyke or Grigg to keep them safe. But Chris Maguire will, to give him game time, and also Gooch. Bali Mumba will be there and so will Benji Kimpioka, who will score. He won’t be the only one to do so and the result will be 3-1 in our favour, which will earn me my second mug of the season.
Will that be my only consolation after a long hard season? I think not. But then again, we are Sunderland.
Fleetwood Town Who are You? Going to the Stadium of Light ‘wasn’t like going to Clitheroe’
Monsieur Salut writes: John McKenna*, our interviewee for the penultimate league game of the season (and if only it could be our season’s penultimate game of any kind), comes to us via Pete Sixsmith and the interest they share in groundhopping.
John proves to be a master of restraint and balance when asked about a certain Joey Barton – he says elsewhere he is acquainted with the laws of libel and nothing in his reply would be of interest to Messrs Sue, Grabbitt and Runne – and provides an informative guide to the recent history of his club, pointing out that it plays in a town with a smaller population than the crowd that turned up at the Stadium of Light for the first game between us …
Fleetwood Town vs Sunderland. Down to playing for pride
It’s over bar the playoffs. Another failure to win ends any real prospect of an automatic promotion place.
Drawing at home to Portsmouth didn’t cause this huge disappointment. We had already shot ourselves in one foot, losing that crazy 5-4 game at home to Coventry, and then in the other one after going ahead late at Peterborough, says Monsieur Salut. Not to mention what someone called a billion other draws.
Each time we stumbled, others just got on with doing their jobs.
A glance at the other results has tended to confirm our fears: no one else has been slipping up as often at this crucial stage of the season.