Everything they touch - SOL20 Celtic debacle new low for Sunderland AFC; a club dead behind the eyes


The Stadium of Light's 20th anniversary will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Outclassed on the pitch and embarrassing off it. If that was supposed to be a 'celebration', then the party planner wants shooting into space attached to a Celtic smoke bomb. 


Sunderland were terrible yesterday against Celtic, truly terrible. And not just on the pitch. Every aspect of the club from top to bottom, left to right, and every angle in between was exposed yesterday in the late July sunshine that bathed a stadium built twenty years ago that, at the time, ushered in a new era of football on Wearside. 

An underfunded squad assembled in front of a pink-seated ground which was supposed to be the centre-piece of celebrations but one which has already seen better days. No investment, no care, no thought, no responsibility, no respect. 

The two decades since the Stadium of Light opened in 1997 have brought many good memories but the custodians for the last ten years have been progressively ripping the soul out of the old girl until such point as yesterday's debacle was reached. 

In fact, some will tell you they still haven't bonded with the SoL. It has borne witness to more painful recollections than good and for most of the last decade, the majority of visits for Sunderland fans have been nothing but drudge. 

Now in 2017, when Wearside was supposed to celebrate its football club, all that arrogant incompetence which has littered every echelon, hierarchy and back passage of Sunderland AFC in recent years showed up as the city's football club barely arsed itself with marking the birthday of its stadium. 

That stadium was built by an often-maligned but far more worthy custodian than this current American idiot and his rancid administrators. Accounts suggest Bob Murray had been invited yesterday but didn't turn up. 

In the end, Sunderland supporters hastened for the exits mid-way through the second half, at an event which was supposed to be one of celebration. Celtic fans were truly magnificent inside the stadium. But outside everyone knew how yesterday was going to pan out - everyone - bar the goons who sit in charge of SAFC. 

From inviting the wrong guests to forgetting to bother themselves with the occasion, turning up to the Stadium of Light's birthday bash yesterday was a pitiful experience. 

The only sign of this supposed 'celebration', laughably, was a plane which flew overhead midway through the first half. The last time a buzzing had been heard above the Stadium of Light roofs it had been carrying a banner bearing Newcastle mirth at relegation. 

Sunderland AFC have become a club without a soul, dead behind the eyes. An owner who doesn't want to be here, employing a brand of administrators akin to career politicians to do his bidding. 

Why did Sunderland AFC hide every aspect of Sunderland AFC from view yesterday? They merely laid on a sponsors' bash for the good people of Glasgow. Heck, there wasn't even anyone selling commemorative programmes for the 'occasion'. 

As for the football, well it wasn't good. And it wasn't a good preparation for the league campaign which starts imminently by any stretch of the imagination. 

Privately, Simon Grayson must be this morning ruing the fact his employers organised a final warm up game against a team in the midst of a Champions League qualifying leg, though Sunderland should have been able to at least compete with an SPL side no matter that they happen to be champions. 

Sunderland only possess three players of quality now. Wahbi Khazri looked lively for the half hour he was on the pitch and seemed to have been instructed to roam freely across the front line. The Tunisian suffered a knock and was restricted to half an hour though. The other quality attacking midfielder that the club own, Jeremain Lens is more or less sitting by the phone with his bags packed awaiting the call to fly to Turkey. 

New loan signing Lewis Grabban was the only other player in red-and-white yesterday to look like he possesses the ability to turn out for a side in the upper half of the Championship. 

As for rest of the Sunderland squad based on yesterday's showing, there really is nothing to get excited about. Jason Steele will be avoiding the internet this morning after his dire first showing at the Stadium of Light; Lamine Kone looked like a man who can barely kick a ball never mind defend one; and someone will need to put an arm around Didier Ndong as the season starts because the Gabonese midfielder continues to allow games to float past him. 

It was a horrible day out for Wearside. But the real stuff starts on Friday. 





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