When you read that Maria Miller is married to a Sunderland supporter, Iain, you remember there are worse things in life than being a Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and Minister for Women and Equalities who must fall on her sword, whether or not that sword can be reclaimed posthumously on expenses.
What follow are the thoughts of Ordinary Jon. At his own site – http://www.ordinaryjon.com/1/post/2014/04/relegation-finally-catches-up-with-sunderland-thank-god.html – Jon Adamson offers the headline ‘Relegation finally catches up with Sunderland. Thank God’ and we know exactly what he means, and doesn’t mean if you like.
What we need most around here is some feelgood stuff. That may have to await a stomping start to the Championship season that sees us runaway leaders by the end of September. For now, Jon’s probably striking a chord with many …
I like football stats.
There are lots of great stats-led football blogs which I enjoy. Statistically the relegation battle is very much still all to play for, but for Sunderland the jig is up.
Fulham may manage another miraculous escape – I fancy they will actually. I think Swansea & Villa, and all those above have just about enough to survive. Although I don’t think Norwich will get anything from the Liverpool game, I fancy they might get something from the other 3 games, despite the tough opposition, but it might not be enough. Cardiff, despite the surprising points against Southampton, I think will be playing Sunderland next year.
So if I was a betting man, it would be Sunderland, Cardiff & Norwich to drop (in that order).
To be honest, I don’t much care any more. Many are describing it as the most exciting Premier League ever. Not for me. Not for Sunderland fans. For Sunderland fans it is the dullest Premier League since …well, since last year. Sunderland have won 15 league games in the last two seasons, so far (70 games); 25 out of the last 100 league games. In the last three seasons we’ve won 11, 9 and now 6 games. The reason there will be no miraculous escape on Wearside this season is that relegation is actually long overdue. This year we will go down. Thank God.
Yes, ideally, I’d like us to have stayed in the Premier League thanks very much. Perhaps I’m looking at it differently now that I’m resigned to our fate but I think we have to get relegated. The whole squad needs overhauling. Much has been made of the “player power” which saw off Di Canio or the “old guard” of players who ultimately flattered to deceive Bruce & O’Neill and, arguably cost them their jobs.
The Secret Footballer has talked about the drinking culture amongst players at the club, apparently we’ll known in football. Leaving aside whether or not we need a huge overhaul of the squad, one will happen anyway. We will definitely lose 5 loan players and 9 out of contract. Some of those have been, for better or worse, the backbone of the team. Or lack of it.
Despite the fact that we have been very active in every transfer window for the last few years, we need a complete overhaul of the squad. Again. If we did that in the Premier League next year, at best we could hope for another season of struggle in which we win, what, perhaps 10 games? If we’re lucky?
I’m not sure I could summon up he requisite optimism to get through another season like that. Thankfully we will be in the Championship, which gives us a much better chance of rebuilding the squad and might even have something approaching entertainment on the pitch. I know many fans don’t like that attitude. The idea that being relegated helps you to change a squad or a team. “Why do we have to go down to do that,” people will say? “What about the money we’ll lose out on?” And “what if we do a Sheffield Wednesday, Coventry, Wolves, etc and don’t come back?”.
Well, who knows what will happen to Sunderland next season, let alone any after that? There’s no reason to believe we’ll sink ever lower though? We might just as likely come straight back – a la our friends up the road.
We certainly have a better chance of seeing some goals, some wins maybe? Being reacquainted with that experience of going to the match with realistic expectations of winning, not just hoping for something miraculous. Apart from anything else, the last couple of seasons have been absolutely dire entertainment. No one can really say they are going to miss the match day experience of Premier League games over the last few seasons. I live in Leicester so I’m surrounded by City fans delighted to be back in the big time! Fair play to them too, they’ve been relentlessly good this season. A pragmatic side built around team spirit and hard work after failed dalliances with champagne Sven and splashing the cash about brought nothing but disappointment. My only advice to my Leicester supporting mates is, make the most of it now! After a long 10 years out of the top flight they’ll be glad to be amongst it again but the joy of watching those “best sides in the world” soon fades when you’re getting hammered ever week. And scrapping for a 1-0 against fellow cannon fodder at the bottom ain’t much of a beautiful game either.
So the sooner this “most exciting” Premier League season ends the better.
Let’s get on with a new start in the Championship. Personally I hope Poyet stays. When he was appointed many – me included – said, “OK whatever happens, let’s stick with him and see what he can do”. I hope that feeling persists and Gus gets the chance to take us back up with a new nucleus to the side and, hopefully, an attractive style of play that might even bring back that thing most lacking from following the lads in the league: joy.