In a recent Sunderland Echo article there was short quote from Paolo di Canio which gives an indication on the financial situation at the club, which determined much of the summer transfer activity and the supposed “revolution”:“We have to be honest, at the end of the transfer market we couldn’t spend any more money and in Borini we were able to loan a player with the characteristics I had asked for”.
It's one of football's oldest clichés; when it comes to derby games, the form book goes out the window. So how true is it? Well, looking at one of English football's fiercest derbies - Sunderland against Newcastle - suggests that, like all good clichés, there is an element of truth in it but it doesn't tell the full story.
As we begin to contemplate the proposition of Sunderland departing the familiar habitat of the Premier League on the eve of the derby, it'd probably be best to reflect on our ventures against the mags over the course of our current residence. Since the Keano-inspired promotion in 2007, our fortunes against the rivals against whom we crave victory most have been very mixed.
Keep your own and your employee’s rallying calls to yourself, I’ve grown weary of such repetitive, meaningless drivel. I am sick of being lauded as part of the best group of fans in the country, like this pretentious accolade would somehow make everything alright. In times gone by this customer (that’s all I feel like these days) would beam with pride when professing his allegiance to the troops in red and white, even the talentless group that took us down with a meagre 15 points. Now I see an unstoppable pandemic starting from the top and ending with the almost exclusively spineless set of players who sheepishly stroll around the pitch. The pride has gone, but I am too tired to be angry.
It was a hunch and as hunches go, I find them rarely come true. After so many decades following Sunderland and seeing, I have no idea, 1,000 plus matches, I should have known better. The belief at the back of my mind was that the team would be enthused with the arrival of a new head coach, raring to go as they had shown under the interim management of Kevin Ball, but even more so. Getting a result at Swansea seemed far from being an impossible task, followed by defeating the Mags and Steve Bruce's Hull. It would be as it were: 'What crisis!'
There are two things Sunderland's American owner Ellis Short has in common with Niall Quinn. Both are Irish passport-holders and the billionaire businessman also succeeded the affable football legend as the club's chairman. But there the similarities seem to end with each having totally different records in trying to run the day-to-day affairs at the Black Cats.
Gus Poyet is to take first bow as Sunderland boss at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday. We have enjoyed reasonable success against the Swans since their arrival in the Premier League, unbeaten in four games. We caught up with Jules from Swansea City’s best fansite SwansFC (@swansfc) to ask him about our current plight, Poyet, the Europa League and of course this weekend’s match.
Jozy Altidore has been quoted praising himself and cursing Sunderland’s luck for the start of this season. The United States international has scored zero league goals, assisted zero league goals and generally not made a massive impact since returning to the Premier League after an enormously successful spell in Holland. I have to be pretty blunt here, I am afraid there is not much substance which I can use to back up Jozy’s claims.
One man who seems destined to blossom under Gus Poyet is cultured centre back Valentin Roberge. Like most at Sunderland, his start to life on Wearside has been inconsistent but I see a very competent defender here – certainly more so than any other player we have in that position.
There are five minutes left to play and Man Utd are a goal ahead with Sunderland looking highly unlikely to cause any cursed, last minute press-box re-writes in another, ultimately, predictable conclusion to a supposedly highly unpredictable form of entertainment. My extremely bored, Leicester-supporting, step-son yawns beside me and inspects the label on his now empty bottle of nuclear-blue energy drink. It's the least energetic I've ever seen him. I glance over to my dad just past him, who returns my gaze with a resigned roll of his eyes. We exchange no words as we have suffered through this particular play many times before.