Most people coming here know by now that ESPN has asked me to contribute to its FC Network club-by-club pages.
Several articles have appeared there already. The idea is that they have to be original, not just copy-and-paste exercises reproducing material from Salut! Sunderland.
I sometimes develop thoughts aired here or find a different way of looking at the same subjects – you’d expect nothing less given that both forums are SAFC-related – but by and large there is cross-reference but not duplication.
Sunderland supporters have been having their say this week, here and elsewhere, about Lee Cattermole’s latest sending off. That is my topic at ESPN today. I can give this short extract:
… The loss of Cattermole is actually quite a blow. If only we could overlook the antecedents – which, sadly, extends to off-the-field brushes with the law – it would be to reflect on the considerable virtues he possesses as a player. The season is young but Cattermole has already recorded some notably displays; he even seemed to have realised at last that recklessness is not the same as wholehearted commitment.
[but] once again, it is a case of lamenting the failure of this talented but wayward young footballer to add a sense of discipline to his undoubted abilities to win the ball and break up opposition attacks (his distribution can be flawed but that places him in plentiful company at Sunderland)
If you agree or disagree – first having read the whole piece at this link: http://soccernet.espn.go.com/blog/_/name/sunderland?cc=5739 – I’d be grateful if you could post any comments there as well as saying what you want here.
The one thing I’d add, which is not covered in the piece at ESPN, is that Paul Hayward, a former colleague and also a sportswriter I like and respect, seemed to me to get it completely wrong with his tweet saying:
Many Sunderland fans appear to worship Lee Cattermole, and will dish out rabid abuse if you criticise his tackling. It’s been an education.
Apart from misreading rabid as racist, I think I was about spot on with my reply: “A ‘few’ fans of any club spout nonsense/racism. Most #safc fans loathe his indiscipline. Cd be a good player”
Paul did have the grace to acknowledge another SAFC supporter who made a similar point.
But it is a common misunderstanding to assume
* that “most” of us believe Cattermole can do no wrong, or are anything other than appalled at each disciplinary lapse
* that he has no more to offer football than rash, even dangerous tackles. As my headline put it at ESPN … Cattermole: rough diamond or ‘a thug but our thug?’.