Welcome to a new series! In these articles I’ll be lucky enough to chat to 1973 FA Cup winners Micky Horswill and Vic Halom about the forthcoming match. It’s something a little different to the usual preview analysis - enjoy and let us know if you like the new feature!
What’s your take on the transfer business this window and do you think we’ll see any new faces tomorrow?
Micky: “We have to get something out of them, we’ve only brought in young lads and Chris has found it difficult to bring in experience. We’ve struggled with the lads we’ve got so we needed an experienced guy up to like Chris Martin or someone, unfortunately we’ve only managed to bring in Fletcher whose a bit inexperienced. I think we’ll see at least two new players tomorrow and we need them to put up a fight.”
Vic: “Fletcher should be a good standard for his age but that said players are coming out of youth academies later, now and they look like schoolboys when they’re 22 or 23. Look at Mick Horswill people were terrified of him and he was only 19 when we won the cup; now as they come out of academies they’ve got less ability, in my opinion. It’ll be difficult to say the least if the loan players aren’t up to standard but I’d be very pleased if they gave everything and done the supporters proud, that goes for all the players.”
Do you think we need a few experienced heads in the mix too?
Micky: “We need O’Shea at the back for his experience and we also need some experience up front, which of course we haven’t got. I think Kone dedicated to the club at the moment and it’s frustrating for all of us that he came back from injury and now he’s picked up a knock. The manager, Coleman, must’ve played loads of games in his career with a knock or a slight injury and now some players just don’t want to play for us.”
Vic: “O’Shea is a senior pro, probably the most, he’s in a position where you don’t expect lots of effort but you expect him to do his defensive duties well. We need to stop Ipswich from coming at us because you know what you’ll get with a McCarthy team: physicality, a bit talent, strong and a focused team. We can’t let them start passing around, we need to force errors up the pitch, that’s done with the forwards and midfielders; by the time it gets to the defence it’s too late. If the strikers chase down defenders that gives the whole place a lift and the rest of the team will follow and force mistakes.”
Do you think we need to try out some of the young lads, maybe from the academy?
Micky: “We need to look at fresh legs and players with lots of energy, we certainly need players who want to play for the club and who’ll give 100% every game. I don’t care where they come from if they score goals, which is our biggest problem at the moment and if he wants to play then I’m happy with him. It goes back to the basics that goals win games and we just aren’t scoring enough and that’s what we need to fix and we need to do it quickly.”
Vic: “First of all, the youth team need to be pressuring the first team and have the mindset of I’m going to take his place if he doesn’t play too good or doesn’t put the effort in. There is some talent in the squad, the problem is it isn’t there all the time; I went out and seen McGeady in Russia, when I was over there, he has loads of quality but he just cannot seem to produce. Players have to earn the right to start each week, some players are under the impression that the world owes them a living but it isn’t like that, definitely not in the North East.”
The big talking point this week has been Jack Rodwell, whether he’ll leave or not and what his future holds
Micky: “I mean only Coleman sees him in training and if he is dedicated then there must be something else. It’s difficult for him as the crowd isn’t on his side and it’s difficult to change that but he needs to actually show the effort firstly to Chris then he needs to work his socks off to get anywhere close having a future here.”
Vic: “No matter who the player is, they should spend every ounce of energy they’ve got, on that football pitch. We need to be able to rely on players and with Rodwell, we just can’t, Coleman cannot trust him from what he’s done previously. Personally, I feel sorry for the coaches etc. but most of all the supporters because he’s taking up a lot of wages and we can’t even play him.”
After the result last week, did you think we were onto something?
Micky: “The win against Hull was massive, I thought we could build on that but unfortunately not. I don’t think Chris would be very happy at all with the performance midweek. Now, we need to win at least 90% of our home games to ensure safety, the players need to fight for the people of the city; draws at home are no good anymore, we need three points. We’re in it for the long haul and I know injuries haven’t helped us but we need to put everything we’ve got into every game.”
Vic: “I like to talk positively about the club, I don’t like negative comments about the club but at the moment what’s positive about the club? The young lads in midfield might run around but we needed more players to do something special. The Hull win was a great foundation to improve on but then that good work was undone by an absolute pasting midweek to a poor team. A lot of the time the fans will be happy if you put in 100% and then if you do lose you can say “well at least they put the effort in” but we cannot even say that. You can’t honestly tell me how they’re going to play on Saturday or what the game’s going to be like; it’s that unpredictable. We need to face the club’s problems and fix them, we’ve got some of the best support in the country, the team means everything to fans and we just can’t rely on these players. After all, the club is nothing without the supporters.”
What are your match predictions then?
Micky: “We need the win so I’m going to be positive and say 2-1 Sunderland.”
Vic: “I’d be happy with a point but I’d like to say we could beat them, I got the prediction right against Hull so I’ll say 1-0 again.”
Thank you to Mick and Vic for talking to me and speaking about the forthcoming match v Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich Town, it’s always great to catch up with them two as they’re great blokes and really do love the club.
You’ll be able to see the thoughts of Mick and Vic weekly, usually Friday before a match. Also, keep your eyes peeled on Wednesday as I talk to Micky Horswill about his career and his views on cup winning manager Bob Stokoe.