Tag: Sunderland

Oh Adam, Where did it all go wrong?

The Sun newspaper, bastions of taste and decency to the last, led with the headline “Paedo In His Speedos,” accompanied by a picture of the (now surely former) footballer. The dividing line between extreme sexual deviancy and wholesome family entertainment in the black and white world of the tabloid press presumably falls somewhere between the fifteen years of age of the victim in the case of Adam Johnson and the sixteen years of age of Samantha Fox when she made her Page Three debut under a strap-line reading ‘Sam, 16, Quits A-Levels for Ooh-Levels’ in 1983. Moral relativism was...

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Video of the Day: Sunderland vs Manchester United, November 1984

In November 1984, Sunderland were mid-table in the First Division whilst Manchester United were chasing the league championship. Sunderland had spent the previous fifteen years bouncing between the top two divisions, winning the FA Cup in 1973 whilst in the Second Division. Manchester United, of course, had not been the champions of England since 1967 and had spent reasonably lavishly in the early 1980s under Ron Atkinson in an attempt to close the gap on Liverpool, their biggest rivals and the dominant team of the era. This particular season, however, Liverpool were struggling. On the morning of the 24th...

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Manchester United’s Angst & Sunderland’s Conflict

When the ball’s not rolling your way, the ball’s not rolling your way. Into extra-time having won in ninety minutes – had the away goals rule applied after ninety minutes, this would have been enough to see them squeeze through to the final – they were pinned back to almost certain defeat with a minute of extra-time left to play, but somehow they still they managed to find the briefest moments of time to force a penalty shoot-out. And then they lost the penalty shoot-out. Even though the other team missed three out of their five shots at goal. On a night when the villains outshone the heroes by a factor of appoximately three to one, Manchester United imploded in the most improbable, spectacular, self-inflicted manner possible. Had Brian Glanville used it as a plot line in a new children’s novel called “Goalkeepers Are Different II: The Personal Inner Torment Of David De Gea,” it would have been laughed out of court as “too far-fetched to be credible” by the press and public alike. Where they found a way to lose, they found a way to lose. But there was a peculiar beauty in defeat of this nature. It was epic, sweeping, almost grandiose. Not that this will come as much of a crumb of comfort to their supporters today. For Sunderland supporters, there may be an element of...

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A Loose Cannon Firing In The Wrong Direction: Di Canio Out At Sunderland

In the current hire ’em and fire ’em culture of football management, it is not uncommon to hear statements of sympathy for managers who have fallen foul of the whims of their club’s owners and found themselves out of work. We will have to play a game of wait and see to establish whether this will happen with Paolo Di Canio, whose short spell in charge of Sunderland AFC came to end earlier today, the first Premier League manager of the new season to lose his job. Perhaps more than any other manager in the Premier League, Di Canio was one who had to deliver results. His previous political utterances meant that there were a good many who were deeply uncomfortable with his appointment, and this had the effect of meaning the the knives have, for some, been sharpened from the very day that he first arrived at The Stadium of Light. His honeymoon period in charge of the club could barely have started any more positively, beginning with a three-nil win at Newcastle United and a one-nil win at home against Everton, but since then his results have taken a distinctly downward turn. Sunderland held onto their Premier League place at the end of last season, but they club has only won one of its eleven matches since then, and that was against a team from two divisions...

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The 200% Premier League Pre-Season: Sunderland

It’s all going to be about one man, of course. No matter what you may think of his politics – or, as he has claimed himself, his apparent lack thereof – or any of the other controversies that have followed Paolo di Canio’s career around, there can be little question that once the season has started, at least the attention on the man in the sharp suit and the red and white tie should take the pressure off the players a little. With Alex Ferguson having departed from Old Trafford and David Moyes having left Goodison Park to succeed him, there is likely to be no other club in the Premier League that will be so dominated by the personality of one man as Sunderland AFC will be, and perhaps the biggest question facing this club over the course of the coming season is that of whether this will allow the players freedom or whether it may prove to be a millstone around the club’s neck. Last season, Sunderland did just enough to survive in the Premier League but no more. Di Canio was in charge for the last seven matches, and won two of them. Such a small sample size of results makes it difficult to judge whether his first full season at The Stadium of Light is likely to be a successful one or not, but the...

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