Monsieur Salut writes: John McCormick, our wizard with the stats, wrote this update to his series on the developing relegation scrap before Dick Advocaat left. His gut feelings may therefore change according to who is appointed, but I suspect his calculations will not, or at least not yet .. now over to John …
It’s still early days and small numbers of both wins and losses will continue to produce swings in win-loss ratios for some time, but with no game reports to post because of the international break it’s as good a time as any to make another visit to the bottom end of the table.
Those of you who’ve visited this series previously might remember that my last review took place just as the transfer window had closed and, with that, I gave you the opportunity to have another vote in the relegation poll that I’d opened in the close season.
At the start of the season some 7,696 votes had been cast in our relegation poll. As you can see below, the clear favourites to go down were AFC Bournemouth, Watford and Sunderland, with Norwich then Leicester following behind. Aston Villa and NUFC were also given as possibilities; Villa weren’t far behind Leicester but fewer people went for NUFC and even fewer opted for a club outside the chosen seven.
Malcolm Dawson writes….Jesse Burch went to see Sunderland play Pachuca. Read his excellent report here. Being in the area and having relatives offering free B&B gave him the opportunity to experience life on the dark side. He was dragged along kicking and screaming to watch the home town team play the black and white barcode boys. And boy was he glad he went because it made him realise just how much he has bought into the Sunderland way of life! Here is what he witnessed as he watched the Mags play Sacramento in the same stadium that 24 hours previously he had seen the team in green.
See all articles in the Sunderland Out West series at https://safc.blog/category/sunderland-out-west-2015/
Jesse takes up the story.
So after last night’s match against Pachuca, I retired to my aunt and uncle’s home in — wait for it — Newcastle, California. I know. It’s not okay. Nevertheless, it was my home-away-from-home last night and I was grateful for a free bed. But here’s where things get embarrassing. My aunt, knowing I’d be here for the Sunderland match, offered me a ticket alongside her and my uncle at tonight’s Sacramento Republic match — against another team from the North East that we have had the pleasure of beating five times in a row.
So I went.
Now, if you’ve read my past two dispatches from Sacramento, I hope you have taken away how deeply I love Sunderland and feel very much a part of its support. I didn’t go to this match as a neutral — far from it. From the moment I stepped back inside Bonney Field and saw all of the black and white swanning around I became borderline ill. Which is strange. Again, I have no geographic or familial connection to Sunderland at all. Nevertheless, it was there in spades: all the dislike, all the bitterness.
How terrible it was to go from being surrounded by my friends in red and white to being effectively alone and among the Great Unwashed. It was such a dramatic shift! Same location as the night before, but now irreparably changed and corrupted — what a reversal. I missed my compatriots, and how valuable they’d have been to have beside me!
I wanted so desperately to sing “Five In A Row” at Stephen Taylor. And Jack Colback. They were right there. They would probably hear me. There was Tim Krul, just standing there, very close by. I could’ve screamed so many things. But I was alone in a sea of black and white and frankly, I’m just not brave or stupid enough to put myself in harm’s way like that. Sorry.
We took our seats and I reverted to supporting Sacramento Republic as best I could, while shooting eye-darts at anyone in that strip. Thankfully, the SRFC support is loud and brash and they out-sung and out-stomped anything “Toon Army” could muster. Newcastle were gifted an own-goal but generally were outplayed by Republic. The Ginger Pirlo did a lot of tugging on players’ arms and passing sideways. Stephen Taylor even took a direct shot to his privates (that made my night). But overall, nobody stood out as particularly dangerous.
The upshot is that despite McClaren’s braying on about how he thought training in hotter weather in Sacramento was the right choice, it didn’t make much of a difference. Newcastle are still rather useless.
And I’m tired. I’m going to bed and then returning to LA in the morning.
I have one more thing to do before I leave though. On my way out of town…
All those contributing to the Sunderland Out West series belong to the Sunderland SAFC North American Supporters’ Association. Check out the association’s Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/safcnasa
Strange, isn’t it? I spend Monday evening idly browsing the MLS (aka Major League Soccer) website trying to work out how it (the league, not the website) operates and then along comes David Millward with a piece about a football convention in the USA. I wonder if the fans he mixed with can get their heads around relegation and promotion better than I can handle the subtleties of the MLS.
Casual visitors to this site might might not be aware that at the start of last season I made a prediction about who would suffer relegation from the Premiership and then tracked those clubs (and SAFC, of course) over the season. At the end of my final post of the series I set up a poll to see who readers thought would be relegated at the end of the coming season.
With almost four hundred votes cast you might think the results bear scrutiny. But think again. The average PL attendance is 36,000. MOTD can attract over 4 million. More than 26 million viewers watched FA Cup action on TV during last January. So a few hundred’s really small beer, especially as each reader can have three votes.
John McCormick writes:
So you’ve been onto the SAFC home page, clicked the appropriate icon and found the fixtures. No need for me to do much then, is there? Only, M Salut, who is travelling today, would be delighted to find the site that carries his name has not ignored this (pretty much) inauspicious occasion.
At the start of last season I chose three relegation candidates (QPR, Hull and Aston Villa) and two reserves (Southampton and West Brom) on the basis of PL history and some iffy statistics.
As you might expect, I got some stick from fans who didn’t like my forecast:
Mr QPR said “What a rubbish article, how can a Sunderland fan have any view on relegation when they will be one of the teams themselves”
Germany Tiger said Hull had improved significantly as well as: “You are the only one (and I’ve read a lot) who have Hull in a relegation spot, which suggests to me that there is still a bit of disappointment at being put to the sword 3 times last season by the Tigers and I predict a few more this season also….. oh if we could only play Sunderland every week… deep joy!!”
Bald ugly bloke was a bit more restrained, and perhaps a bit more optimistic: “Laughable that you have Hull City in the 3! The Tigers will be pushing top half.”
Having been around for a few seasons, Swallavc was much more measured: “Aston Villa have been relegated in 0% of premier league seasons and therefore will be safe!”
I could go on, but what I’d prefer to say is that many of the readers, SAFC fans and others, were prepared to give their opinions on relegation candidates, as well as of my words . I’ll come back to this at the end.
John McCormick writes: back in January various sources ran the news that all of 2013-14’s Premiership clubs were in the world’s top 40 in terms of revenue. While Norwich, Fulham and Cardiff won’t stay there for 2016 I expect Burnley, QPR and Leicester to replace them. Looking ahead to 2017, Burnley, Hull and QPR should drop out with Norwich reappearing, along with Watford and Bournemouth; that’s the power of the Premier …
John McCormick writes:
It was a special day.
At about half three I was in the Liverpool Women’s hospital, holding my new-born granddaughter.
“It’s been a good weekend,” I said to Peter, my Blackburn-season-ticket-holding-son-in-law.
“Yes”, he said. “Before Leeds I said all we needed was three points and a baby”.
“Three points and a baby. That’ll do me,” I thought.
And I hoped like hell, as we drove home, trying to hear the radio above the noise of grandma and auntie Helen in the back, that that’s what it would be.
John McCormick writes: Monday morning’s radio, on the drive home, said they were our first back to back derby wins since 1967. I’ll have been there then, so is it back to back wins for me too, only 46 years apart? Probably not, I must also have been at some of the drawn and lost games between 1967 and 1970. Whatever, it’s certainly a hell of a long time since I’ve been to a derby, and this was my first one at the SOL, one of the benefits of retirement.