Before the Stoke game, “Wrinkly Pete” Lynn calculated the points Sunderland might pick up from the rest of the season and concluded, perhaps generously, that we would snatch survival once again – even if we lost to Stoke, which we duly did and in style (what kind of style would require the sort of bad language Salut! Sunderland tries to avoid).
Using that article as his template, and then adding progress reports, Pete proposes periodic updates to let us all know how each result affects his prognosis. It could end in tears. Whether those tears are of joy or distress remains to be seen …
THEN: I’m sending out an S O S, ‘cos I’m in so much distress
So sang Edwin Starr in his hit song Stop Her On Sight and I am hoping that I will not feel the same as I begin my four hour drive home, post match on Saturday. If David Moyes, pre match on Saturday, can get his team to realise that this is War, another of Starr’s hits, then we might get a win and make a further small (?) step towards safety.
Just in case, and assuming we get no points from the Stoke game, I set out below my personal plan for what we will then need to achieve, game by game, to avoid relegation. This, of course, does assume that those teams presently languishing at the bottom with us do not exceed our achievements.
NOW: Well, we have not even broken sweat (yes, including some of our players) and my prediction is bang on course. We have nil points from the Stoke game and, having exited the FA cup, will be able to rest up prior to the Spurs home game.
I do try to enjoy the experience of following The Lads and can sometimes appreciate the bizarre events that I witness in so doing. As examples from the Stoke game, not only did the South Stand set a new record for earliest mass exit but our players were not stupid in the second half. They knew that if they annoyed Stoke too much they would be properly smacked (are you still allowed to type that?). How else could you explain Rodwell’s miss? Speaking of the mass exit, the crowd gaps that I refer to were filled by the time of the second half restart. As my namesake Peter Kay would say “What was that all about?” Did the exiteers all need an early wee? Were the gates opened at half time as in days of old and free loaders filled the gaps? I prefer to think the exiteers heard the crowd greet Defoe’s goal and still had enough belief to reclaim their seats. Whichever I am glad. If we expect fight from our players, we must support them.
On Saturday I will be at The Hawthorns hoping for a victory. I would rather that than a draw and wonder if I have magical powers and should have laid a bet on “my plan”.
Wrinkly Pete 19/1/17
Sorry to interrupt but Salut! Sunderland was 10 years old this week: here’s the birthday piece – https://safc.blog/2017/01/a-thank-you-from-salut-sunderland-10-years-old-this-week/
Jan 21 WBA (a) Draw. A tough demand at a ground where we don’t traditionally do well.
Jan 31 Spurs (h) Win. Spurs will have played in the FA cup 4th round a few days previously, we will have rested, having lost the upcoming Burnley replay.
Feb 4 Palace (a) Draw. Big Sam will still be struggling to improve things.
Feb 11 S’ton (h) Lose. In typical SAFC fashion, one we should win we don’t.
Feb 25 Everton (a) Draw. We bounce back. Well, a partial bounce.
Mar 4 Man C (h) Win. The crowd inspire an unlikely victory.
Mar 11 Boro (a) Lose. As with the Southampton game, we fail to maintain a revival.
Mar 18 Burnley (h) Win. Burnley are distracted by their forthcoming FA cup semi-final appearance.
Apr 1 Watford (a) Draw. A battling performance by Cattermole on his comeback from injury inspires the rest of the team to a 0-0 result.
Apr 4 Leics (a) Lose. Leicester get the three points they need to avoid the drop, avoiding the shame that they would have suffered as relegated champions.
Apr 8 Man U (h) Lose. The shrinking violet that is Mourinho finally gets his team playing like Chelski and Ibrahimavich is unplayable.
Apr 15 West Ham (h) Win. We get revenge with a 1-0 win in the 94th minute.
Apr 22 Arsenal (a) Lose. Miffed at not being in the FA cup semi-final, The Gunners take it out on us, with the four foot tall Sanchez getting a hat trick of headed goals.
Apr 29 Bournemouth (h) Lose. We have the jitters, with safety in sight, Bournemouth are by now already safe.
May 6 Hull (a) Win. Hull become our Norwich of last season as we secure their relegation.
May 13 Swansea (h) Win. Swansea, who are already down, give in to allow us to escape again.
May 21 Chelsea (a) Lose. Who cares?
We survive with 37 points, the same total as last season.
As if I could care less, Palace are also relegated. This then is Big Sam’s first relegation and completes a miserable season for him personally.