Salut! Sunderland didn’t get round to entering this year’s football blogging awards. This was not a case of sour grapes after our also-ran status in previous years; the deadline simply came and went. Perhaps we should just have sent the organisers links to Pete Sixsmith‘s matchday reports and the twin series, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Team/The First Time Ever I Saw Your Ground. In a fair world, we’d then have walked it. Voting still seems to be open so you can keep it in the family and give Roker Report a helping hand.
Here, Sixer admits to being a little lost for words when describing a team Sunderland have played only once (he was there) having written this cracking piece before his visit. What more is there to say, beyond reflecting on a rare SAFC win that should have changed the course of our horrendous season but didn’t? …
Tricky one this: the Brewers have only ever played us once and that was five months ago when George Honeyman and James Vaughan scored in our 2-0 win at the Pirelli Stadium. This was the game that many of us thought would see us turn the corner, move up the league and maybe get on the fringe of the playoffs.
Shows how much we know.
The week after we crashed to a 1-3 home defeat to Reading, followed it up with two decent results against Fulham (a home win) and Wolves (an away draw) before failing to beat 10-man Birmingham City. Four points taken from two clubs likely to go up and one point taken from clubs who have been down among the dead men, ie us for most of the season.
The only other time we have played any of the Burton teams was a friendly game with Burton United which we won 5-0 at Burton, so this is the first time ever, in the history of the whole wide world, that a team from the brewing town of Burton have appeared on Wearside.
I have seen the Brewers a couple of times in their non-league days, although it was before I started keeping records. They played at Kingsway, Bishop Auckland in the 1990s and I saw them then, but the result escapes me.
They were a “big club” in the days before National League North and were constantly being switched because of their geographical position in the middle of England. They once asked to be moved from the Southern League to the Northern Premier because they felt that the former was too strong and that they had a better chance of winning promotion through the Northern Premier system. They were right; they won it.
I thoroughly enjoyed my day in Burton in November. The Dog was a splendid pub, I saw one of the oldest stands in British professional sport at Burton RUFC – alas, soon to be a car park – and we won 2-0. The trip home along the A38 and M1 was one where we dreamed of shuffling up the league and perhaps having a cup run a la 1973.
Now, both clubs look destined for League One. Burton have had two great seasons in the Championship and will count last week’s win over Derby County as the ultimate highlight. They are well run, well managed and will not suffer by resuming contact with Accrington Stanley, Bristol Rovers and Gillingham. We will.
A wretched season could well be capped by yet another home defeat with the winner probably scored in the 89th minute by Darren Bent, following in the footsteps of Daryl Murphy, Grant Leadbitter and Lewis Grabban, all of who have followed “the immutable law of the ex” by finding the net on their returns to the Stadium of Light.
This is a short piece for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there is little to say about Burton and their visits to Sunderland – that will almost certainly be rectified in 2018-19.
Secondly, the trusty Toshiba has had to be replaced by what is hoped to be an equally loyal Hewlett Packard and, having the computer literacy equivalent of Jason Steele and Lee Camp’s goalkeeping skills, I have had some “issues” with the new machine. It fiaally decided to work properly when I plugged something in, pressed the right buttons and threatened it with defenestration.
After reading this, you may have wished I had not bothered – which just about sums up the whole season.
* The SAFC vs Burton Albion prize Guess the Score
* The Burton Albion “Who are You?”: jumping together into oblivion