Kevin Ball must be wondering why the gods seem to be working so much against him by setting such missions impossible. When he was appointed caretaker manager back in 2006, Sunderland's fate was all but sealed, having accumulated just 10 points from 28 games. In his current predicament, he was given the herculean task of inheriting another demoralised squad again on an interim basis with just one point from the first five matches.
It was fascinating to read that in the recent revolt, players reportedly had to go to Sunderland's chief executive Margaret Byrne and director of football Roberto De Fanti to air their grievances. Seems there was little choice.Previously they would have gone to Niall Quinn, when he was chairman or even in his temporary role of international development. Since his sad departure, the whole structure seems to be lacking in what the club is supposed to be about.
As speculation regarding Paolo Di Canio’s successor as head coach show no signs of subsiding, one name continues to loiter at the fore of the odds table. Uruguayan maverick Gus Poyet – untested in the Premier League – is a Chelsea legend with something to prove. Furthermore, he possesses a reputation as a cunning tactician and, having played top division football more recently than other leading candidates, would be likely to offer a more effective and popular style of play.
Sunderland as a football club has been shook to the core. The initial rattle started in excitement as Paolo Di Canio replaced Martin O’Neill professing promises of new ideals focused around strict discipline and flowing football. The rattles became more and more vigorous during the Italian’s tenure before descending into a chaotic earthquake after recent revelations. Di Canio sacked, player revolts – we are a laughing stock.
He rode in on his glittering Roman chariot to exterminate Sunderland's eternal woes, slaying the Mags in the process in true swashbuckling style. The gladiator set forth a revolution at the Academy of Light, showing all the right fervour and passion. Battle lines were drawn but it was always going to be a poisoned chalice. As the harrowing way revolutions go, they tend to devour their own children. Tragically at the end, he became a pathetic and lonely figure, seeking solace from suffering fans.
I really like lower league football. Not that I would want to see us play it again, of course – despite the memories of one strangely enjoyable 1987-88 season in Division 3. I go and watch it in the flesh when I can though I travel a lot with work. Taking in real football at somewhere like Macclesfield...
With Jack Colback rejecting a new contract and seemingly seeking an exit, just how important is he in Paolo Di Canio’s squad?Colback is currently the longest serving player at Sunderland, and when you factor in his youth career – that’s thirteen years he has been here. Canny stint. His development over that time has always been admirable if not spectacular. Until the 2011-12 season his contribution to the first team was sporadical but since then he has commanded a regular place in the side achieving nearly 60 starts over the last two campaigns. That would be appearances pretty much everywhere on the pitch, having nearly as many elsewhere as in his favoured central midfield position.
Just six months after arriving on Wearside, Alfie N’Diaye is seemingly set to move back to Turkey as Süper Lig’s Eskişehirspor close in on the central midfielder. Paolo Di Canio was spoilt for choice last season in centre midfield, albeit a choice between particularly average performing players.
Although pretty much all incoming transfers are interesting – which has made this a particularly interesting close season, of course – I must say that I haven’t got a clue whether Valentin Roberge or Modibo Diakite are any good at all. I would hope that they are better than the men they replaced (Matt Kilgallon and Titus Bramble), without the baggage, and probably cheaper too...
This summer has been a rollercoaster of a ride in terms of transfers for Sunderland.With nine players already signed and potentially one or two due in, the entire squad has had a massive facelift with the majority of the changes being made in the centre and defensive side of squad.Three forwards have been signed so far under Paolo Di Canio; Jozy Altidore, David Moberg Karlsson and Duncan Watmore...