John McCormick writes: Nine years ago years ago I was in Sunderland and wondering what the future held. In particular, what the next season would bring. All three of the North East’s teams were in the relegation mix. We had two games to play, at Portsmouth and the the last of the season against Chelsea – sitting in the top three after a long unbroken run of wins. The others had only one. ‘Boro couldn’t catch us (nor could WBA) but they could overtake Newcastle, who in their turn could overtake us. Hull, too, were below us, by only one point. The extra game gave us control of our destiny but if we didn’t win it and the last day’s results went against us we would go down.
Here’s what Pete Sixsmith had to say about it on 17th May 2009, the day before our game at Portsmouth, with M Salut providing the introduction. He titled the piece “Bordering on insanity”
Here’s a brief chance to give your view now that the transfer window has closed. The site will be busy soon, we’ll have views from Lars and Pete, plus Pete looking forward to Ipswich tomorrow, so this will only be around for the rest of today.
John McCormick writes: we have a manager and the transfer window’s open. A new chapter in the SAFC story is about to begin. But we also have history, some good, some not so and we would do well to remember it. So here, with the hope that the players running up alps in Austria will find it when they when they plug themselves into their alternative worlds, is some of that history, courtesy of Pete Sixsmith.
For Sunderland supporters, the close season has been one big mess. Going down had been unpleasant, all the more so because of the passive, passionless way we embraced relegation.
Losing the manager, David Moyes, was disruptive but perhaps no huge hardship; his negative outlook had made him an unpopular figure from far too early in his reign. But since? Jordan’s gone, Jermain’s going, Borini and Kone look for ways out and others may well follow, Ellis Short wants out too and still, five weeks on, no replacement for Moyes. Things could finally start to move this week, with possible new German owners and, just maybe, a quick and exciting (Klinsmann, or is that altogether too ambitious?) managerial appointment.
Here is one neutral assessment of where we are …
Pete’s going to be busy for a while, so there’s a good chance we’ll have a new manager – maybe a new owner (not to mention the possibility of a new prime minister) – before he gets back to this series. In the meantime, here’s his take on relegation number 4.
Like the first three, and like his other musings, it’s excellent stuff
I’m glad we can begin to look forward to next season. Although it might seem a grim prospect I’m sure there will be readers thinking it’s a bit less grim than it was, now that Moyes has gone. As to the thoughts of the Salut team, you’ve had opinions from Lars, Malcolm, Mick Goulding, Wrinkly Pete and myself, and you can look forward to some fine writing to come from, at least, M Salut and Pete Sixsmith, who will finish off the series.
Here’s something a bit different, though. A series of charts showing some of the key features of a season to forget:
Like Pete Sixsmith, Malcolm Dawson gets to more matches than most people. He’s well placed to comment on skill, systems, strengths and weaknesses. He’s a regular at the Stadium of Light too, which means he’s well placed to comment on them in the context of SAFC.
But that’s not all. He’s a keen observer of all things Sunderland, which makes his end of season review very interesting indeed. Read on for some wholesome food for thought while we await events off the pitch
John McCormick writes: I was there, at Goodison, that night. For a long time afterwards I felt cheated but I was prepared to accept that Coventry fans would think “tough” – I would have done so in their circumstances. Nevertheless, I always harboured a resentment towards Jimmy Hill and when I heard Coventry fans had clubbed together and paid for a statue, which the man himself was invited to unveil, I couldn’t wish them well.
Pete Sixsmith may offer sympathy. My thoughts are a bit more Karmic: Get rid of the statue, Coventry fans, look what it has brought you.
Monsieur Salut writes: scroll down on the right of this article and you’ll find him: the perplexed Coventry fan who wonders that a grudge has been held for all this time: ‘my god, you’ve been keeping this bottled up since the 76/77 season!!!! Any football fan who takes pleasure in another team’s (and not even rivals’) downfall to this degree needs some hobbies…’
‘You know what?’ as they say on X Factor. ‘We have.’ It was blatant cheating, a disgraceful episode and ought to have been punished, even if it has to be accepted that a relegated team also needs to look back on its own failings. Even if no one would have scored a winner anyway. Let Pete Sixsmith bring us up to date, in a rather tantalising way, with his series on Sunderland relegations ….
Colin Randall writes: I commend this epic piece from our associate editor John McCormick, his superbly argued but also entertaining contribution to our series of end-of-season reviews ….
You might be telling people
“ it’s a chance to rebuild”.
You might be saying
“Now we can bring the young’ns through”
Or you might just be thinking
“at least we won’t have to watch that rubbish next season”.
And maybe you’re forcing a smile as you say it.
Recent events might even have made it a genuine smile. But are you really happy? How do you really feel?