I think the international weekend was perfect timing, contrary to the belief it could have dampened the high of winning two massive home games. I’m sure the players selected went about their national team duties with much bigger smiles on their faces than the break in September whilst those left back at home continued to swat up on an information-heavy footballing philosophy. Preparation is key and we visit Stoke City who are a completely different prospect to the Stoke who have only scored once against us in the last four meetings.
Well, I'm not sure if I was expecting that. Tribal loyalties mean I'm not on as much of a high as I was after the Newcastle win, but the organisation of our defence and the heart our players proved the seeming ease we are showing to a commitment to possession football from the back make this the most heartening performance from the club in months.
Well, that was certainly fun but now we have got to face up to the stark reality once more that we are still stuck in the rut of a relegation battle. It would be pretty ludicrous of me to suggest this weekend’s game against Hull City is as important our win against the Mags – but it can’t be too far behind in the context of our season.
Whilst we are still revelling on our tremendous derby win – there is another football match to think about as Sunderland take on former gaffer Steve Bruce’s Hull City. Andy from the Tigers’ former fanzine and most established website Amber Nectar (@Amber__Nectar) kindly took the time answer a few questions on Sunderland, Bruce, their season and a match of huge importance for both clubs.
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.
We were lucky enough to get a few moments with Republik of Mancunia writer Nashat Hassan (@nashat_hassan) – so we fired him a few questions. He talks Sunderland, Paolo Di Canio, United, Moyes and today’s game.
Perhaps it’s time to alleviate ourselves from the thought-shackling managerial mess and think a little bit about football, for a bit anyway. Kevin Ball takes charge of what is likely to be his last match as caretaker manager with the next permanent boss set to be announced next week, apparently. So what exactly does a managerless team with one point on the board, the worst defensive record who find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table need next? A visit from the champions of course!
It's hard to be confident going into this weekend's game against Liverpool, but the regime change and a more relaxed atmosphere around the Academy is surely a huge boost.Life under Paolo Di Canio doesn't seem to have suited our squad and if some of the stories I have heard about him are true I'm not surprised. Hopefully they enjoy life a bit more under Kevin Ball and we can start picking up points sooner rather than later. We are still bottom of the league, let’s not forget that!
In the first of a regular feature to build up to the first game of the coming season, we will look back at some of Sunderland’s more memorable opening games over the years. Today we remember the six-goal opening game of the 1964-65 season at home to Leicester City, where a 15 year-old rookie debuted in goal. This was Sunderland’s first game back in Division One following their first ever relegation in 1958. The season continued the trend in keeping player numbers...
In the second part of our build up to the opening game of the season, we look back to the turn of the millennium. Sunderland were entering into the era dubbed as ‘second season syndrome’ and quite possibly a pivotal year for Peter Reid. To make things a little easier, their curtain raiser for the season was against an Arsenal side...