They say we’ve got a revolution: Sixer previews the new season

They say you want a revolution. Well all right. As illustrated by Jake
They say you want a revolution. Well all right. As illustrated by Jake
Yesterday a disappointing SAFC side lost 2-0 at home to an energetic, workmanlike Crook Town who showed flair when needed and took their chances well, making light of a disorganised defence. To cap it all their keeper saved a potentially game changing penalty which would have made it 1-1. Peter Sixsmith was there watching the Railwaymen of Shildon make a less than impressive start to the season and the discussion around the ground amongst those who follow the other SAFC focused on what kind of season was in store for the revamped Sunderland team. Hoping no doubt that the Fulham defence might be as kind to our new American striker as were the Bosnians (see clip in footnote*)…

Pete gives us his take on what lies ahead at the Stadium of Light.

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?

PS for whom Paul McCartney once declared his undying affection - if the song's anything to go by.
PS for whom Paul McCartney once declared his undying love – if the song’s title is anything to go by.
The new season looms. In my years as a Sunderland fan, I have looked forward to most of them. There were some that you knew were going to be hard, some that surprised you and some that shocked you but there has rarely been one like this where we have absolutely no idea of what is going to happen.

It could be a cracker, with our exciting pressing game bringing us a number of big scalps and giving us a cup run all the way to Wembley. There are players like Giaccherini and Altidore, keen to do well and test themselves in the Premier League. On the other hand, it could be a disaster as the players we have signed from the Turkish, Swiss and Portuguese leagues find the intensity of the Premier League too much for them and we spend all season languishing at the bottom.

Twelve months ago, I approached the campaign with optimism. Martin O’Neill had identified his main targets in Fletcher and Johnson and was biding his time for them. We went to Arsenal and came away with a reasonable draw (no doubt thanks to biased refereeing) and as the two names arrived, we looked forward to a good season. That it had all gone pear shaped by the time West Brom beat us 4-2 was evident to many. O’Neill struggled from then on and despite a couple of mini surges, we looked a team bereft of imagination and ideas by March. In came Di Canio and his first three games appeared to change the mind-set. However two points out of the last twelve showed that the players were barely good enough and that the manager needed to mould his own team rather than rely upon the players he had inherited.

So, here we are in August and there is a whole new group of players ready to wear the red and white shirts graced by the likes of Charlies Thomson and Hurley, Len Shackleton, Gary Rowell and Kevin Phillips.

There may be some who reach those heights and in 50 years time grandfathers will be dangling their grandchildren on their knees, waxing lyrical about Emmanuelle Giaccherini or Cabral. They will tell tales of how the fearless Paolo Di Canio completed the double over Newcastle United, took Sunderland to an FA Cup Final and despatched Chelsea with Jozy Altidore and Steven Fletcher bagging a brace each. Of how we first glimpsed the wondrous talents of Duncan Watmore and El-Hadji Ba before they moved on to Barcelona and Bayern Munich for a king’s ransom. We can but hope.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Newcastle United v Sunderland - St James' Park

To listen to the pundits there will be none of that. They are suggesting that Di Canio is a man of straw, that he will fall out with the owner, the players and the kit man before storming back to Italy leaving us looking more like the 2008 model of Derby County than Real Madrid.

They say that the players brought in are unknown to them and that the likes of Cabral, Diakite and Roberge are lightweights, fit only to make up Serie A squads or play in inferior competitions. They may be right and it could well be a disaster. It may end up with Ellis Short throwing in the towel, cutting his losses and scooting up north to Skibo Castle as we drop into the Championship by March. After all, these guys know so much about the game that they clearly prefer to pontificate rather than actually manage a team.

What I hope to see this season is some exciting, attacking football where we actually take the game to the opposition rather than relying on absorbing pressure and catching them on the break.

We have experienced three seasons where the football has been less than exciting and what we need is a footballing philosophy which says: “You are fans. You pay a lot of money to come here. We want to entertain you and win football matches in a bright and lively manner.”

We have no indication of what we can do, so when the team lines up against Fulham, there will be a mixture of old and new. The old must shake off the aura of gloom that seems to hang over the Stadium of Light and which has done for far too long. Our home form has been poor and has done little to persuade fans to cough up for season tickets or individual ones. The new players must eliminate that feeling of negativity we have experienced far too much in the last few years.

Every season brings a crop of new faces. Some settle quickly and make important contributions, others flit in and out of the team and some are unmitigated disasters. We are sure to have an O’Shea, a Vaughan and an Angeleri amongst the ones that Di Canio has brought in. But I hope that it is the O’Shea type, intelligent, committed, a footballer’s footballer that prevails. If we have a crop of Vaughans and Angeleris, I shall be spending more time on the terraces at Dean Street, Shildon than in my seat at the Stadium of Light



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8 thoughts on “They say we’ve got a revolution: Sixer previews the new season”

  1. I think we’re in decent shape squad wise, we know we’ll be better so we’ll just have a confident smile at those predicting gloom. Shame we haven’t played more friendlies but then it wouldn’t take longer than five minutes to realise cabral giaccherini and altidore are better than the players they replaced.

    Of course di canios temperament will be under scrutiny but we know while that may affect his own future, his drive and ambition will only push us forward as a team in the short term. you know what, i’m gonna predict a top ten finish. I much prefer this media dislike.

  2. There has been so much change to the playing personnel at SAFC this summer , and we know so little of PDC the manager because he has no track record at this level, which makes it difficult for us to have any idea of what to expect.

    However I think that Ellis Short deserves some success for being brave enough to instigate this much needed ‘revolution’. I don’t think the pundits who already have us relegated realise what sort of mess MON had left behind him in terms of the quantity and quality of the squad inherited by PDC.

    As I write I think we are only a couple of players short of having a good squad….a left back and a creative central midfielder.

    I also think we have an intelligent manager who will have a plan b and a plan c,unlike the last two who struggled to find a decent plan a.

  3. Fully endorse your view re Pete, Phil.
    I am very positive about the season under PDC. Certainly looking forward to our drive up on Saturday – whatever happens, it will be a fantastic rollercoaster ride (the season, not the A1) – hopefully with more ups than downs. This would be a reversal of our usual seasons fare.
    I think PDCs passion and obsession with detail, planning and fitness will prevent any relegation battles – assuming that enough of the squad buy into his style.
    I meet a lot of West Ham fans down here (including East Ham WMC who I took to Hastings a couple of weeks back) and they worship him. They believe – and this is my major concern – that he will cut his Premiership teeth with us and as soon as West Ham struggle they will replace Big Sam with PDC who will return to the East End where he made his name and manage at the Olympic Stadium. Big Sam is not really popular down with Hammers and they will turn on him at the first opportunity.

    • The “Dildo Twins” would appear to have alienated PDC to such a degree that I can’t see that happening and believe (rightly or wrongly) that the only club, assuming he is successful with us, that I could see as “tugging at his heartstrings” being Lazio.

      Of course, I could be wrong but I think his sense of loyalty/gratitude to ES will remain until such time as their ambitions are seen to differ.

  4. “If we have a crop of Vaughans and Angeleris, I shall be spending more time on the terraces at Dean Street, Shildon than in my seat at The Stadium of Light”.

    Well done Pete, you have previously posted that you had fallen out of love with the club (because a combination of of PDC’s political links and what Bruce/MON had reduced us to) and would not be renewing your season ticket.

    Good to see that you have changed your mind – hope springs eternal in the breast of every, genuine, supporter!!

    I, for one, was not looking forward to a season when we were unable to read your unique brand of match reports!

  5. As we start the season were no better off than when we got promoted 6 years ago, that’s a sad summing up of the Bruce and O’Neill regimes . Both of them faultless and hard done by in their own minds. Both of them failures, therefore as long as we don’t go down this season, no damage done. Well battle and scrap, bust lungs and sweat and hopefully get points in games where we should have got a beating. On the flip side we might get one or two Villa like results on the way, how Di Canio reacts could be pivotal . I think we’ll be ok without setting the place on fire, a revolution with a steady improvement ! By the way as I type this Bent is signing for Fulham in time for Saturday, doesn’t he always try in the first few games?

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