Winning Sunderland, whining Newcastle and winsome Everton

Jake: 'Sam on the road and Sixer too...'
Jake: ‘Sam on the road and Sixer too…’

When not watching clips of Coloccini barging into Fletch and maybe getting the wrong colour of card, Pete Sixsmith has been purring about the 3-0 win against Newcastle and hallucinating about a Geordie Nation campaign to force a replay.

Six-in-a-row has that effect. But can we make it three-in-a-row, three successive wins at Goodison? It’s a tall order against a good side, far too good to be only 11th and also far more likeable than most other Premier clubs, their friends across the park included. Sixer will be there, and at a Shildon game in the FA Vase the day before …

And so, days after that record-breaking sixth win in a row, the dust has yet to settle.

The red card was rescinded, probably rightly, as it was a bonus after the (very clear) penalty had been awarded, but there are stories of Newcastle fans besieging the FA HQ at Wembley (the nearest they will get) demanding a replay. Not sure that I believe the stories but that’s the word on the streets around DL4.

I have seen the incident several times and am completely convinced that it was a penner. However, I am not convinced that Mr Madley was correct in sending Coloccini off and I think that the FA probably got it right in overturning the card.

But it creates a difficult situation for Madley and he will not be made welcome at The Sports Direct for a while – probably for the rest of his refereeing career as Newcastle fans are, like all supporters, unlikely to forgive and forget.

There have been some black and white voices who have accepted the result, saying “although we outplayed you for 43 minutes, we never looked like scoring” and it would be a foolish red and white who would argue against this. I certainly won’t be that fool.

However, when future generations look in the record books, it will say Sunderland 3 (Johnson (pen), Jones, Fletcher) Newcastle United 0 with no mention of Magpie domination for the first half or of Coloccini’s unnecessary lunge at Fletcher.

Likewise, the 2009 entry will say only Newcastle United 1 (Ameobi (pen) Sunderland 1 (Cisse), making no mention of the embarrassing decision made by Howard Webb to award the home team a penner when Steven Taylor took a clear dive over Steed Malbranque’s leg. As the old maxim goes, “what goes around comes around” – or something like that.

The circus now moves onto “The Old Lady” as Evertonians refer to the crumbling ruin that is Goodison Park. The away section has not changed since I first went there in January 1966 for an FA Cup tie, where we managed to get through the entire game without having a worthwhile attempt on goal (The Toffees had three).

Jake says: 'have a go'
Jake says: ‘have a go’

Guess the score
in the Everton v SAFC game: you could win a prize

Every time I walk into the Bullens Road Stand, I am reminded of Higson’s Double Top, card train tickets, coaches without toilets, Saturday Club on the radio and the Football League Review. When Everton finally do move, the whole structure should be re-erected by the National Football Museum and they should show films of Alex Young, Howard Kendall and that wonderful Hungarian team that played there in 1966.

That we have won there for the last two seasons does not fill me with confidence. They have lost their last two league games and must be keen to get back to winning form. We have won on the last two visits but not particularly convincingly. The new manager has had a full week to work with the players so it will be interesting to see what effect that has.

Team selection will be interesting. Borini may well be fit and either he or Defoe should start the game. As much as I like Toivonen, he struggled on Sunday (and is probably out with injury- Ed] and maybe the pace of Borini or the sheer cleverness of Defoe would be to our advantage.

As I have said before (many, many times – Ed) I have a soft spot for Everton.

Like us, they live in the self-perceived shadows of an alleged “bigger” club who have delusions of grandeur and who dominate the local and national headlines.

Like us, they have an aura of class about them which their near neighbours (like ours) lack. Not quite like us, they have a tendency to underachieve (we underachieve permanently).

I will be there on Sunday after a Saturday spent in Worksop watching Shildon play Handsworth Parramore in the 1st Round of the FA Vase. They are a Sheffield based club who bought the ground of the liquidated Worksop Town FC in 2011. This is a big game for the Railwaymen, whose league form has stuttered this season. Despite being second, they have not played well and they exited the FA Cup at the first stage to, of all teams, Bishop Auckland.

Worksop has two breweries and I hope to sample the wares of each. Every town now appears to have at least one as well as a micro pub. There is one about to open in Durham. Should it be as good as The Whippet in Lichfield or the one on the bridge in Morpeth, it will go well.

Here’s hoping that the aroma of Higson’s perfumed ales wafts over the Bullens Road Stand and that we can repeat the score line of last season – this time scoring two proper goals rather than the scrappy duo we got last season.

 A little piece of history, courtesy of Bernard
A little piece of history, courtesy of Bernard

*** See the Everton ‘Who are You?’ at

Salut! Sunderland:What thoughts do you have of Sunderland – the club, fans, city, region, Big Sam?

Sam Myers, Everton fan:
I’ve never been to Sunderland so wouldn’t like to judge the place based on hearsay. I can say that one of the nicest people I know is from there (who sadly suffered a serious stroke earlier this year and is still recovering) though, so if she’s a reflection of the place then it must be fantastic (although she did move to Liverpool many years ago…).

I’ve visited the wider region a few times although mainly a few miles north of Sunderland I’m afraid. A very beautiful region with some fantastic coastline.

Big Sam is one of the game’s pragmatists and I don’t think there was a better available manager for the job.

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3 thoughts on “Winning Sunderland, whining Newcastle and winsome Everton”

  1. Everton fan here, Good article, what we’d expect from Sunderland fans, honest and without the deluded view of some ..other clubs supporters. But. The Old Lady may be a bit crumbly but we love it anyway! Just a few things to consider about Goodison,
    It has hosted more top-flight games than any other stadium in England.
    It’s hosted FA Cup Finals, World Cup semi finals, it was the first, purpose built football stadium, the first with four sides with two tier stands, the first with a three tier stand,First club to install dugouts at their ground, first under soil heating, first match day programmes, and I think the first with corner flags. And there’s plenty more history in the fabric of that ground. Good luck for this season AFTER Sunday!

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