With their Bunsen burners and experiments with mercury, chemistry teachers tend to be men (and women) of few words who know how to get quickly to the point with a minimum of fuss.
Bob Chapmanlives up to the stereotype with a short but impeccably presented summary of our season, straying from the path of science only to borrow plus and minus signs from his maths colleagues …
As a school teacher I have just finished writing a series of reports for my A level Chemistry group who are all off to University this coming autumn.
It was an easy task as they already have enough marks and with a couple of exams to go should be successful come summer. The grades they achieve will match their ability. However writing this report for Sunderland has been so much more difficult. The grade we achieved did not match our ability!
The season started with so much promise, but by the time I journeyed back from the Stoke home match and crawled into bed at 3am, I was beginning to fear the worst.
The size and quality of the squad, combined with injuries, were certainly the main contributory factors to the indifferent period in the middle of the season.
Sides can often cope when wide players have to be replaced. However when you don’t have a settled back four and the spine of the team is injured or suspended then you are going to have problems. You only have to look at Birmingham to see what a settled side can do for you.
The positives from the season have to be the emergence of Henderson and Meyler. Should both progress next season then I am sure they will both be involved in future World Cup qualification games for their respective countries. Whether they remain Sunderland players is another question. I am sure the big boys are already having a look.
There is no doubt that we perform so much better when Mensah is organising the back four. We need to strike a deal with Lyon and get him operated on as soon as he returns injured from South Africa!
With regard to Kenwyne, I still think we should keep him. He links up well with Bent and causes panic even with the best of defenders. People accuse him of being lazy but I just don’t see it. Few sides operate with two up front all the time and Kenwyne will often drop deeper so that he can pick up and run at defenders. In addition he is certainly as good as Drogba when defending set pieces.
So as an end of season report I can only award a satisfactory grade C when it should have been a B.
When it comes to setting achievable targets for next season, then we need to reduce the number of red cards and score more from midfield, and Cana needs to learn to tackle on his feet and not go to ground every time.