John McCormick writes: It’s appropriate as we look towards Hull, well known Capital of Culture, that we get into the spirit with a contribution of our own. And who better to provide it than Wrinkly Pete.
Pete, via the Bard, poses an interesting question:
Has the loan system served us well, or not?
What do you think? Did Danny Rose get more from us than we got from him? What about Johnny Evans (got us up, kept us up)? And what of all of those others, up to and including Grabban? Or perhaps you might be thinking of loans out – Borini, Khazri and Lens spring to mind.
Pete’s not a fan of the loan system. In this post he makes his case and then we open the floor with a poll which gives you a chance to give us your opinion, after which you’re welcome to leave a comment. So without much ado,
I have to say I’m a bit surprised by the poll results to date.
‘Boro being top is reasonable. They have proved they are capable of handling the Championship, have money coming and have a decent manager.
Sunderland in the top six is understandable. It’s a Sunderland site, and no matter how jaundiced the fans are, no matter how concerned over the owner, there will always be a loyal following willing to vote for them.
But last season’s form has gone out of the window with this poll. Villa, who finished bang in the middle of the championship, are up there in second place, while Hull and Derby are out of the running. What’s going on?
Nathalie Randall, daughter of Monsieur Salut, rues the collapsing act of the team she disloyally supports, Liverpool, predicts an Arsenal place after all in the top four and says Hull are going down with Boro and us …
There will be no “little” team winning the Premier League this year.
Normality seems to have been restored with Chelsea more or less certain to win the title once more (hands up anyone who actually likes them though!).
Arsenal have had their usual flirtation with the top four, and it remains to be seen if they manage to scrape into a Champions League place, as they always seem to do.
The future of Arsene Wenger is yet to be revealed as well as those of players such as Ozil and Sanchez.
Liverpool had their usual great start to the season, lauded as potential champions before going on a dismal run which may yet land them outside the top four, with points dropped against lesser teams (even including Sunderland in that 2-2 draw in January).
Man City are finishing strongly but they will be disappointed that they weren’t able to make a challenge for the title.
Man Utd have been disappointing in the league but are flying high in the Europa League so could yet qualify for the Champions League by winning that.
Tottenham, as last year, got themselves in great position but seem to be pipped at the post for the second year running.
The usual mid-table teams have cemented their places there again, the likes of Everton, West Brom and Southampton.
Leicester caused uproar when they sacked Claudio Ranieri after he had guided them to an unprecedented Premier League title the previous season but have recovered [egg on Monsieur Salut’s face, maybe, for suggesting the dismissal was an example of corporate obscenity]
Sam Allardyce looks to have performed his miracle survival act once more with Crystal Palace although they aren’t safe yet [see my ESPN piece showing they are still in danger depending on final results – Ed].
As for relegation, Sunderland could not repeat previous seasons’ escape acts and ensured their drop to the Championship recently after a woeful season. It is not known yet who will join them except that it will be any two of Hull, Swansea or Palace.
So my predictions for the final two weekends are:
* Chelsea to win the title (no big surprise there)
* 2: Tottenham / 3: Man City / 4: Arsenal all qualifying for the Champions League.
Relegated: Hull to fill the final place.
* My dad to give me some pocket money for writing this
Salut! Sunderland gets big hits for “Who are You?” interviews, the Q and A sessions with opposing fans that we publish before every game, writes Monsieur Salut.
And at the end of each season, we present the Haways – Highly Articulate Who Are You? awards – to those our judges deem to have been the best.
It is entirely subjective but a spot of fun. If any reader who follows the series wishes to have a say, please just leave a comment (using your correct e-mail address, which is not shown but I can see) and you will be contacted.
Wrinkly Pete alluded to my dodgy numbers in his post earlier in the week so here’s an overview on our performance to date, along with that of the clubs named in the headline, which were chosen by a free and democratic poll at the start of the season. I’m keeping it brief – only a quick trip to set the scene for a “before and after” post early in the new year, and I’ve included Swansea this time, on the grounds that some people did vote for “another club” and they fit the bill, being as it were, eleven Swans a sinking
It came out of the blue. A message from a Twitter user plugging Heristage, ‘the only French-language site dedicated to English football’. The message directed me to a long and superbly detailed analysis (in French but at this link) of Sunderland AFC’s ‘Bank of England’ era, that period of the 1950s that older supporters identify as the trigger for our decline.
Heristage turned out to be the work of Rémi Carlu*, a young, half-French/half-English lover of the game as played here, the country of his mother. He’s currently studying back in the UK and happily agreed to explain himself. Rémi doesn’t support Sunderland – he favours Chelsea (mmm…) – but cares enough about his chosen project to have researched us thoroughly; he also thinks, I’m afraid, that we should accept relegation in return for rebuild …
But all his views are fascinating, all the more so coming from a semi-outsider. I commend this to you as a great read …
With her old man away in Budapest and relying on Pete Sixsmith’s very gratifying texts from the Stadium of Light, it would have been unfatherly to turn down Nathalie Randall‘s offer to write a piece on the match. She follows the style used by ESPN, where Sixer did the honours for the Hull game. Nathalie probably wants a Liverpool win this coming weekend, but she has a soft spot for her dad’s team, too …
It was June 12th when I first put up this season’s relegation poll and July 1st, when the transfer window opened, that I gave you the preliminary results.
Every Premiership club received some votes. Man Utd got thirteen. Spurs and Arsenal (last relegated in the year the Royal Flying Corps established its first airfield) both got ten. Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea received six each, as did Stoke. West Ham were the second best fancied team, with four votes, while Everton received only two votes and are thus deemed most likely to stay in the top division (something they have managed every year since the end of rationing) but not entirely safe.
Given such wishful thinking I had to do some winnowing so I chose 100 votes as the cut-off, which gave me a reasonable number of 8 clubs to watch, and you can see the results in the title above.
I’m getting a bit tired of the title (and Monsieur Salut should apologise to any reader lured here by thoughts it was a poll on religion; the word inexplicably replaced relegation in the headline when published and still appeared some time later at the newsnow.co.uk site) .
But just because we have some decent players, led by one of the Premier League’s most experienced managers and backed by a tremendous crowd, we can’t assume we’re safe.
Our record is not good. We’ve been one of the survivors for too many seasons and we can’t take anything for granted. Even now there will be some fans somewhere rubbing their hands as they look at the fixtures and thinking ‘Sunderland, that’s an easy three points’.
Let’s see if the Sunderland ‘will we survive?’ poll can perk up a little more from our viewpoint. The Yes and Maybe votes, though still lagging well behind, are higher than at any time since poll was launched but always bear there have been many No camp followers among fans of other drop zone clubs) …
And now for a quick expansion of the poll to find out who Salut! Sunderland readers (who, don’t forget, may well again include supporters of the other six clubs) think will go down.