The Devil’s Advocate on PvA and mixed fortunes at Spurs and QPR

Malcolm Dawson writes……man of few words Rob Hutchison (he of the one word player ratings) is becoming more garrulous these days with his regular take on events happening in and around the club that is Sunderland AFC. Here he reflects on the events of the past few days, although he’d hit the save key on his laptop before the speculation surrounding Emmanuel Adebayor’s preference for Irish whiskey rather than Scotch in his coffee – a claim he denies, entered the public domain. Whether or not he has enjoyed the odd fag or hookah pipe I can’t say. David Moyes’s latest press conference is taking place as this is hitting the ether and so far there has been no comment on PvA’s alleged tobacco fuelled indulgences. But still Rob finds sufficient goings on to air these thoughts ahead of the visit of Pardew and Palace.

Rob as seen by Jake
Rob as seen by Jake

Another Week in the life of SAFC and the view from the leftfield.

Well I guess we could say it’s been a bit of a mixed week this one. A pitiful loss at Spurs, a hard earned win at QPR, and Pat the Dutchie (of the left hand side) is in the headlines.

Two games, two perspectives.  We lost very badly to a top four side by a meagre goal. And do you know what? I’m not bothered. Moyes has set his stall out against Everton so we knew it would be more of the same against any top four contenders and whether it be 1-0 or 9-0 the percentages on the day didn’t lie and we lost. By the time the team has settled we’ll do enough to nick results against similar teams before the season’s out. We’ve done it over the last few seasons and we’ll do it again. Remember where you read it first hombres.

Joel Osoro got another chance to lead the line at Loftus Road
Joel Osoro got another chance to lead the line at Loftus Road

But moving onto QPR and we see our David does actually have a constructive gameplan after all. Apart from being youth, youth, youth, which is glaringly obvious and probably long overdue, Moyes now knows that if we get the ball and can keep the ball, then yes actually we can play a bit of football against sides that will work all day and try and close you down. We are still a team of individuals with shining lights in Pickford, Defoe and Kone, but when players like Ndong start gelling then you actually have the semblance of a spine that is pretty decent and certainly no weaker than last season. He was superb midweek, looking for space, having movement, the ability to pick a pass and go either way when running at defenders. And the best bit, he didn’t kick anyone up in the air either! Player of the season material for sure if he can show the consistency week in week out that we usually lack.

Sick as a parrot or a smoking gun?
Sick as a parrot or a smoking gun?

I learned far more about our XI at QPR than I did at Spurs, and with two games coming up, where in theory we can compete well across the park, we’ll know a lot more about how our season will pan out in ten days’ time. I’d target 4 points from those two games and if we can achieve that, then we’ll be just fine.

A bizarre moment with PVA at Spurs, getting pulled just before KO. The club’s statements have been very limp on this incident and others, full of inconsistencies. It seems like the ghost of Mags Byrne is still hanging around the club. Martin Bain is currently unable to consign it to the past with weak communication on various levels, whether it be over PVA or being unable to get a striker over the line during the transfer window – which was pretty feeble. He’s left Moyes badly short.

I’m calling the next two games a 1-1 draw against Palace and a shabby 1-0 win over the Baggies. See you all at Southampton hopefully.

Rob Hutchison

Still time to vote (just) in The Football Blogging Awards. Salut! Sunderland will not get even close to winning but we have been invited to enter. If you feel like casting a vote in our favour, the obvious category is Best Football Club Blog and you can support us at

 http://www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk/about/vote-now-football-blogging-awards/

Moyes on the Boys: ‘thrilled for Paddy McNair after double at QPR’

Jake flags our new columnist
Jake flags our new columnist

Colin Randall writes: Here are David Moyes’s thoughts – as expressed in his post-match e-mail to me and thousands more – on the 2-1 win that earned Sunderland a 4th Round EFL Cup tie at Southampton …

Read moreMoyes on the Boys: ‘thrilled for Paddy McNair after double at QPR’

Hutch’s one-word ratings: Ndong stands out in win at QPR

Rob: the road to another final?
Rob: the road to another final?

Rob Hutchison enjoys a winning Sunderland game and a hugely encouraging star role for Didier (or Ibrahim – take your pick) Ndong. ‘Songs I never thought I’d hear,’ says Rob. ‘Paddy McNair, he scores when he wants.’ Up and running. Made to work for it mind. Moyes does have a plan after all…

Read moreHutch’s one-word ratings: Ndong stands out in win at QPR

QPR v Sunderland: Guess the score

Jake: 'the doubt has currently been removed - defo no prize'
Jake: this time you definitely won’t. Unless…..

John McCormick writes: Rodney Marsh had moved from QPR by the time I went to live in London but they were still a club to admire.

Panache, perhaps, would be the word that best fitted them as they came close, oh, so close, to winning the League, and how we neutrals wanted them to.

Read moreQPR v Sunderland: Guess the score

QPR v Sunderland ‘Who are you?’: no repeat of 1966-67

Jake wants answers ...
Jake wants answers …

John McCormick writes: David Moyes said he will be putting out a strong team on Wednesday and I’ll give you a chance to guess the score shortly. Firstly, to help you apply your intellect, here’s one of Colin’s former colleagues, John Crowley, to tell us what’s happening now to the club we all liked way back in the seventies.

Over to John:

Read moreQPR v Sunderland ‘Who are you?’: no repeat of 1966-67

Relegation watch revisited (2): It was the draws wot done it

John McCormick:
John McCormick
number crunching

The season before last we won only 7 games and we stayed up. We even finished above Aston Villa, who won 10, as well as QPR and Hull City, whose 8 wins each could not stave off relegation. The other relegated team, Burnley, had 7 wins, the same as us.

The difference between us and Burnley was that we achieved 17 draws, and lost only (only??) 14 games. They could manage only 12 draws, and their five fewer points meant they finished second bottom, three places below us.

And thinking about that got me started on the notion of win-loss ratios, which became the tool I used to track clubs in last season’s relegation watch.

Read moreRelegation watch revisited (2): It was the draws wot done it

Who went down, who’s going down? Do dodgy numbers have the answer?

John McCormick:
John McCormick: 1×1 is 1, 1×2 is four, 1×38 is 38 and that’s enough for safety.

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.

Read moreWho went down, who’s going down? Do dodgy numbers have the answer?

And now we’re five: Villa, Leicester, Hull, True Geordie`s Newcastle and us


So Burnley departed the Premier with great grace, leaving a gift for the other strugglers by dumping Hull right in it. QPR capitulated at the Etihad and there`s just one relegation place left …

Let’s start with controversy. I don’t really want Newcastle United to go down, except if it’s instead of us. And I’ll be hoping for Boro to progress on Friday to the playoff final, followed by victory at Wembley.

Read moreAnd now we’re five: Villa, Leicester, Hull, True Geordie`s Newcastle and us

Congratulations Chelsea. But eyes down for the drama (Burnley, QPR, us, Leicester, Hull, Newcastle,Villa)

Seb: flashback to our own Stamford Bridge glory
Seb: flashback to our own Stamford Bridge glory

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) …

[polldaddy poll=8818549]

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.


Read moreCongratulations Chelsea. But eyes down for the drama (Burnley, QPR, us, Leicester, Hull, Newcastle,Villa)

Burnley, Leicester, QPR, Hull, Aston Villa, Newcastle – and us. Who is doomed?

[polldaddy poll=8818549]

It’s fair to say the headline was designed to attract supporters of all the relegation-threatened clubs, not just ours, so be aware that they may well be influencing the early No vote on SAFC’s chances of survival (whatever our own feelings!) …

Not everyone who supports our favourite club – I nearly wrote “only club” but retain a very soft spot indeed for Shildon AFC – lives in Sunderland or the North East.

Happy days
Happier days

Even those who do may not see the Sunderland Echo or Shields Gazette as often as they should. And we do not all, always, follow what the local press is saying online.

So every now and then, it seems a good idea to draw Salut! Sunderland readers’ attention to a piece that seems to capture our thoughts or put present circumstances in some reasonable order.

Read moreBurnley, Leicester, QPR, Hull, Aston Villa, Newcastle – and us. Who is doomed?