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.
“I can let the team do the talking for me.” It is a quotation obvious never learnt by Paolo Di Canio or seemingly able to understand. It comes from one of the most unlikely football legends, whose name stands at the summit of managerial achievements in British football - a stunning array of 20 trophies in nine seasons, which will never be equalled. Despite this, he brought humility, not seen or ever likely to be seen any more, to the game.
I thought that the smattering of boos that could clearly be heard at the Stadium of Light on Saturday beggared belief. It seems that a sizeable minority of our fans have simply got into the habit of booing any negative result against any team they feel we should be beating, regardless of levels of commitment, or overall performance. This is one of the newest and most unappealing of traits of modern football.
Sunderland’s recent performances in the League Cup are hardly a new phenomenon, the competition has been a thorn in the side for the club since its beginnings in the early 1960s as a way to exploit the new attraction of midweek floodlit games. A semi-final was reached in 1963, but this was when several top teams refused to play, seeing the competition as some still do as unwanted fixture congestion.
When Arsenal travel to the Stadium of Light this weekend to take on Sunderland, a fairly familiar face on Wearside will be sat in the Gunners’ dugout. Following the departure of long-serving Irishman Pat Rice in summer 2012, Steve Bould has, as assistant manager, shared with Arsene Wenger his tactical nous...
As we reflect on what is our worst start to a season since 2005, let me take you away from chomping your nails at the inevitable goal(s) Stephane Sessegnon will score against us for West Brom this weekend. Signed as part of Roy Keane’s raid of the former Manchester United players dustbin, Baggies saviour Kieran Richardson cost us a hefty £5.5 million price tag and god knows how much in wages. Did he ever repay that? Well, maybe just about…ish.