When Peter Lynn, young-at-heart but prematurely aged physically by watching Sunderland, began his exercise in calculating how the rest of the season would go, he concluded that 37 points would be enough for survival – and that we’d get them.
After enduring the atrocious displays at home to Stoke and then at West Brom, even forgetting the equally clueless cup exit at Burnley in between, you might expect him to chuck in the towel.
Pete predicted no points against Stoke, knew we’d be booted out of the FA Cup at Turf Moor, and bargained on only a draw at the Hawthorns. So he has only one point to retrieve. Will it come? Where might it come from? Well, Pete reckoned we’d beat Spurs for a start, which called for 100 per cent support from the crowd and Honeyman-level commitment from the team. What happened? Here’s his update ….
“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.
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. Which ever 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
Jan 21 WBA (a) Draw. A tough demand at a ground where we don’t traditionally do well.
When I offered M. Salut to do an update of this article after each game, I hadn’t thought I would have Coldplay’s “Scientist” lyrics buzzing through my head “nobody said it was easy – no one ever said it would be this hard”. However, a deal is a deal, and in fact writing this is just like watching Sunderland. The match itself will have been covered elsewhere so I will just reference a couple of things I witnessed. Firstly, the team’s performance could be summed up in that shown by Djilobodji who began the game firing accurate 50 yard passes and ended it throwing punches. Secondly, Honeyman’s efforts showed what can be achieved and, judging by their praise of him, how generous our loving supporters are.
Regarding our support, a bit like “Billydodgy’s” but in reverse. They started singing that they wished Stephen Taylor was dead (can we move on please?) but quickly replaced the “we’re f—ing sh—“ with the more prosaic “You’re not that good, we lose every week”
So, we are only one point short on my prediction and some other under achievers have been good enough to keep us company over the weekend. However, we will need a whole team with Honeyman’s attitude and 100% from our home crowd for 90+ minutes in order to get the win against Spurs.
Wrinkly Pete 23/1/17
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.
Ok, so we didn’t get the win I predicted, although we should have if (a) Borini had scored when through on goal, or (b) wins were determined by attitude. It was a pleasure to be there last night.
IF we can maintain that level of performance EVERY game, we could stay up – with more than 37 points.
I would ask our fans to stay to the final whistle. Again last night they were streaming out on 87 minutes. Where are they going that arriving 5 minutes later would ruin? Our players put in a really gutsy performance against a superb team. Was that not worthy of applauding them off the field? My travelling group faced a four hour drive home and did so. In fact our journey this time started in January and didn’t finish until a month later!!
Keep the faith.
Wrinkly Pete 1/2/17
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.