The headline, as William Boot would have said in Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop, is correct up to a point. Peter Lynn, better known around here as Wrinkly Pete, has spent much of the season in front an imaginary crystal ball, predicting the outcome of each game and checking how it affects his once-firm belief that Sunderland would survive on 37 points.
While such a tally would mean winning six (of five plus two draws) of the remaining ties, at least Leicester didn’t mess up his calculations since he had us down to lose in any case. Here’s how Pete still thinks – prays? – we can still do it, with original predictions and the points target suitably amended ..
John McCormick writes: Wrinkly Pete often illuminates his posts with reference to old songs which, given most of our readers can remember us winning a trophy, still resonate. He missed one, though, but I spotted it and stuck it in the title.
Read on and you’ll find it somewhere in his prose. So this week’s quiz is:
What’s the title, and can you identify any singers/groups and the years in which they recorded versions?
No prizes, but there are at least four to find, and all from different years, if my memory serves me well. And if you think I’m looking back to keep my mind from pondering what lies ahead, maybe I am, not that Wrinkly Pete agrees.
When Peter Lynn, young-at-heart but prematurely aged physically by watching Sunderland, began his exercise in calculating how the rest of the season would go, he concluded that 37 points would be enough for survival – and that we’d get them.
After enduring the atrocious displays at home to Stoke and then at West Brom, even forgetting the equally clueless cup exit at Burnley in between, you might have expected him to chuck in the towel.
Pete predicted no points against Stoke, knew we’d be booted out of the FA Cup at Turf Moor, and bargained on only a draw at the Hawthorns. He was wrong in his expectation of a win against Spurs.
And he was wrong in his prediction against Crystal Palace. But weren’t we all?
Now read on:
Peter Lynn dips back into his collection of dodgy old hits for inspiration as he does some back-of-envelope calculations on what David Moyes needs from the second half of the season if Sunderland are yet again to avoid the drop. He even allows for the unthinkable, losing at home to Stoke on Saturday , as he steers us to safety…
I’m sending out an SOS, ‘cos I’m in so much distress
So sang Edwin Starr on his hit Stop Her On Sight and I am hoping that I will not feel the same as I begin my four-hour drive home, post match on Saturday.
If David Moyes, pre-match on Saturday, can get his team to realise that this is War, another of Starr’s hits, then we might get a win and make a further small (?) step towards safety.
John McCormick writes: Wrinkly Pete is quite prescient. I was thinking of doing a relegation review before the end of the week and might still do so, depending on what comes down the Salut chimney in the next few days. I know there’s a “Who are you?” due but there may well be other posts – and you can take that as an invitation to send us something of your own if you wish. Like our esteemed manager we’re always on the lookout for young talent and not above taking on a good old’n.
Which, I suppose, returns me to Wrinkly Pete himself:
Stop Press Update: there’s a lively debate at Ready to Go’s Pure Football forum after someone posted a link to Wrinkly Pete’s piece – http://www.readytogo.net/smb/threads/sault-taking-a-pop-at-the-fans.1295474/
Here’s something to take minds off wretched news from Out West. The e-mail from Peter Lynn – Wrinkly Pete to us – read: ‘I don’t always agree with Malcolm Dawson but his comments in the thread on one of the Bournemouth game articles struck a chord and prompted me to get this off my chest.’ He’s thinking of the new aggression detected from a section of our generally magnificent support towards our own players. We’ve all witnessed it and, while it should not be exaggerated, it is an issue worth discussing …
Wrinkly Pete aka Peter Lynn has been delving into his record collection again to provide the inspiration for his end of term report, the fourth in our series looking back at the season just ended. After Dick Advocaat announced his departure Ellis Short must have thought “what kind of fool am I and who can I turn to?” Big Sam has shown what he can do and perhaps thinking “as long as he needs me” can persuade the owner to be a big spender with no regrets. Peter wants us to reach for the stars and get the party started believing Sam brings us something, so now rather than thinking “it’s impossible” we members of the in crowd can speculate that the impossible dream is achievable after all.
“The Party’s Over”.
So sang Shirley Bassey on her album The Fabulous Shirley Bassey in 1959. I know, you are thinking I’ve lost the plot and what has this got to do with a review of our 2015/16 season? Bear with me.
Well, the season’s review won’t take too long as it has been pretty much a repeat of what has happened to us since season 2011/12 when we finished a fairly comfortable 13th. We have spent the entire season in a relegation position, except for one week in November after our home win against 10-men Stoke, one week in March after draws at home to Crystal Palace and away to Southampton, one week in April after our home draw against Arsenal and most importantly the final eight days of the current campaign.
Now I will be the first to say that I have enjoyed the roller coaster ride over the past two months when I have been lucky enough to be present at most of the games but how did we get into this mess having vowed at the end of each of the previous three seasons that it must never happen again?
Personally I think the pursuit of Big Dick “It seemed to be right, just being with him” to persuade him to return as manager when he had left us was a mistake. However, I am more inclined to blame the players some of whom (now thankfully gone) looked disinterested and some of whom were/are not of the required standard.
How we got out of the mess is probably more important as I believe it shows the way we must go to try to get out of the cycle we are in, otherwise “The piper must be paid”.
Basically, apart from Jermain Defoe’s goals, without which we would have been relegated anyway, we have a manager whose first public words on his appointment stressed how vital to the community our presence in the Premier League was. He quickly assessed the players he had inherited and decided we had too much deadwood which he has started to clear out. He then identified that improvement was required in the core of the side.
Hence the three K’s acquisition – Kone in defence, Kirchhoff in midfield and Khazri in attack. Those three, I believe have saved us. Not on their own, of course, but they have lifted others by their ability and attitude so that the level of the team has improved markedly since their January arrival. So much so that by the Everton home game we were safe. “You danced and dreamed through the night” – in my case right up to the moment I arrived back at my Birmingham home at 3am!
I was there at the party at Watford, albeit through necessity amongst the Watford supporters and thoroughly enjoyed viewing our magnificent supporters’ “Yellow Submarine” rendition of “Staying Up, Going Down”. However, “Now you must wake up, All dreams must end” we should now look ahead.
We must keep Big Sam.
He has proven, not just with us but throughout his managerial career, that he can find and recruit good players. Hopefully, by freeing up some money as he moves out some more deadwood and getting the backing from Ellis Short, we can improve the squad to compete properly at this level.
He has shown that he can get the very best out of players, not least by getting them fitter and by personal coaching, especially defenders. He recognises the value of our support, particularly at home games, where the commitment and noise, most notably at the Chelsea and Everton fixtures, were as good as I can remember at the Stadium of Light.
Regarding our support, now that the Mags are down, can we please move on from chants about Alan Shearer and Steven Taylor and sing songs about our own players instead?
We the fans can help. We need to aim higher as supporters and take our club forward. The kindness and passion of Sunderland folk is something I have mostly admired from afar due to circumstance but have inherited through birthright. If we can harness that character within our football club we may never have to hear “The candles flicker and dim”.
Read Peter Lynn‘s assessment of the relegation run-in and why he believes it favours Sunderland. Check the remaining fixtures – see footnote – for yourselves and vote. Since Monsieur Salut and his Norwich and Newcastle bloggers at ESPN FC all put their teams to finish 17th, we can hardly be surprised if the poll results reflect similar partisan hopes. But have a go all the same – some people may even be objective …
Roll up, roll up and see what one satisfied customer, with a little help from the much-missed Ian Dury, has to say. Peter Lynn’s trip home is a long one, even from home games, but he travelled back to his Midlands nest in good cheerful spirits after the West Brom game. Like Pete Sixsmith on a shorter hop to Shildon, he glanced at the faces of fans on the returning WBA coaches and looked in vain for signs of happiness at what they’d just seen served up by Pulis’s men. Here’s Wrinkly Pete’s list of a Sunderland supporter’s reasons to be cheerful (it started as six, but he’s added an even more upbeat seventh) …
John McCormick writes: I’ll update my “relegation watch” charts over the empty weekend (aren’t all weekends empty these days?) and you can work out just what our chances are of surviving the drop from some numbers that are looking less dodgy with every match. In the meantime, here’s Peter Lynn, AKA Wrinkly Pete, with some reasons why we should not be feeling too happy after taking four points from our arch enemy