TalkSport: a guilty pleasure

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What do you listen to during the morning drive to work or when getting ready to leave the house? Who winds you up and who, later in the day, helps you wind down? Colin Randall admits to a weakness for TalkSport – even when it talks rot …

There is a confession to make: I may be addicted to TalkSport radio. Even on days when I really must listen to Radio 4 in the car, I find some time to turn to Alan Brazil’s morning show.

Read moreTalkSport: a guilty pleasure

Man City 4 SAFC 3: a shambles Observed

The Observer came calling again. Pete Sixsmith not only had to endure comic defending by Sunderland. he then had to write about it. Poor Mark Hughes, yes. But poor, poor Pete …

Pete Sixsmith, salutsunderland.com Don’t for one minute think that this was a game full of sparkling attacking football – it wasn’t. It was full of poor defending. All four City goals came down our right-hand side where Nyron Nosworthy had the nightmare of all nightmares. McCartney was little better and we must have the worst pair of full-backs in the Premier League. When we attacked City they wobbled but our final ball was not consistent – we gave it away far too cheaply, and to lump it up far too quickly.

The fan’s player ratings: Fulop 6; Nosworthy 2, Turner 7, Mensah 7 (Healy 76 4), McCartney 3; Reid 6; Campbell 5 (Richardson 59 5), Henderson 7, Cattermole 6, Malbranque 5 (Jones 40 6); Bent 7.

Robert O’Brien, Observer reader We were lucky to win. We’re not showing the form or class that can take us into the top six let alone the top four, but we looked a lot better with Santa Cruz up front as the target man, with Tevez buzzing around him. I think Hughes should go and I know we’ll get pilloried in the press for being ruthless but if you ask any City fans they’ll say he’s not generated any sort of buzz or enthusiasm. Mancini is not who I’d have picked but the next boss would definitely not have a British passport.

The fan’s player ratings: Given 6; Richards 6 (Zabaleta 21 5), Onuoha 6, Touré 6, Sylvinho 6; Ireland 6, Barry 6, Wright-Phillips 5 (Kompany 52 6), Bellamy 8; Tevez 7, (Petrov 86 n/a), Santa Cruz 8

Who are you? We’re Manchester City (and Mark Hughes is still the right man)

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Nearly a year and a half ago, some of us stood at the bar of the London-bound train after watching Sunderland trounced 3-0 by Man City at the Stadium of Light. To make things worse, we were sodden after a ferocious downpour. One or two London-based City fans were saying how much affinity they felt with Sunderland. All changed next day: the Abu Dhabi takeover was announced. Martin Haworth*, a City fan in Mackem territory, reviews the progress since then …

Salut! Sunderland (posing the question before Spurs 3 City 0!): So Man City are finally asserting themselves a little. Is a top four finish now certain in your view?

No it isn’t. For my money it would be nice to be able to qualify for the Europa League without gaining entry via the Fair Play qualification – which is how we got in on the last two occasions. I think the talk of the Champions League is mainly media frenzy. There is no-one I know who talks about it. For me, as long as there is progress, then that’s fine. It seems the owners also seem to have a patient attitude, which is good. I know that the end of last season, the form wasn’t good, and people were speculating whether Mark Hughes would keep his job, and I’m glad he has. Too often the club has suffered as a result of short-term actions. To qualify would be fine by me, and we’re still in the League Cup, so a bit of silverware would be a real bonus. Any progress on the last couple of seasons would be good.

Read moreWho are you? We’re Manchester City (and Mark Hughes is still the right man)

Soapbox: blue moon over Hetton shines on future stars

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Midweek. Sunderland (proper) haven’t a game for a week and a half, but Pete Sixsmith found banter, nosh and an entertaining game as the Reserves took on Man City at Hetton. The Blues won, but didn’t do all of the shining …

A damp Tuesday meant the local games on offer were perused very carefully for grounds with plenty of cover to shelter from the pouring rain.

However, by 5pm, the evening was dry, the temperature chilly but not unpleasant and the Sixsmith limo pointed in the direction of Eppleton CW and the Barclays Premier Reserve League clash: Sunderland versus Manchester City.

Read moreSoapbox: blue moon over Hetton shines on future stars