One of the key tasks for Guy Poyet is to bring some semblance of stability at Sunderland. His challenge is all the greater with more than a third of the 27-man squad he inherited facing uncertain futures even before his arrival.
Before a ball was kicked this season, Niall Quinn hit the nail on the head when querying whether Paolo Di Canio has the right interpersonal credentials to make Sunderland succeed. “The big question mark is over Di Canio's man-management skills. Will he be able to get the players he has kept to gel with the many new signings he has brought in during the summer? That is a big ask because, make no mistake, the Premier League will punish weaknesses”.
In a recent Sunderland Echo article there was short quote from Paolo di Canio which gives an indication on the financial situation at the club, which determined much of the summer transfer activity and the supposed “revolution”:“We have to be honest, at the end of the transfer market we couldn’t spend any more money and in Borini we were able to loan a player with the characteristics I had asked for”.
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.
Keep your own and your employee’s rallying calls to yourself, I’ve grown weary of such repetitive, meaningless drivel. I am sick of being lauded as part of the best group of fans in the country, like this pretentious accolade would somehow make everything alright. In times gone by this customer (that’s all I feel like these days) would beam with pride when professing his allegiance to the troops in red and white, even the talentless group that took us down with a meagre 15 points. Now I see an unstoppable pandemic starting from the top and ending with the almost exclusively spineless set of players who sheepishly stroll around the pitch. The pride has gone, but I am too tired to be angry.
It was a hunch and as hunches go, I find them rarely come true. After so many decades following Sunderland and seeing, I have no idea, 1,000 plus matches, I should have known better. The belief at the back of my mind was that the team would be enthused with the arrival of a new head coach, raring to go as they had shown under the interim management of Kevin Ball, but even more so. Getting a result at Swansea seemed far from being an impossible task, followed by defeating the Mags and Steve Bruce's Hull. It would be as it were: 'What crisis!'
There are two things Sunderland's American owner Ellis Short has in common with Niall Quinn. Both are Irish passport-holders and the billionaire businessman also succeeded the affable football legend as the club's chairman. But there the similarities seem to end with each having totally different records in trying to run the day-to-day affairs at the Black Cats.
Gus Poyet is to take first bow as Sunderland boss at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday. We have enjoyed reasonable success against the Swans since their arrival in the Premier League, unbeaten in four games. We caught up with Jules from Swansea City’s best fansite SwansFC (@swansfc) to ask him about our current plight, Poyet, the Europa League and of course this weekend’s match.
Jozy Altidore has been quoted praising himself and cursing Sunderland’s luck for the start of this season. The United States international has scored zero league goals, assisted zero league goals and generally not made a massive impact since returning to the Premier League after an enormously successful spell in Holland. I have to be pretty blunt here, I am afraid there is not much substance which I can use to back up Jozy’s claims.