Jack Comeback

With Jack Colback rejecting a new contract and seemingly seeking an exit, just how important is he in Paolo Di Canio’s squad? Colback is currently the longest serving player at Sunderland, and when you factor in his youth career – that’s thirteen years he has been here. Canny stint. His development over that time has always been admirable if not spectacular. Until the 2011-12 season his contribution to the first team was sporadical but since then he has commanded a regular place in the side achieving nearly 60 starts over the last two campaigns. That would be appearances pretty much everywhere on the pitch, having nearly as many elsewhere as in his favoured central midfield position. [More]

Mannone Versus Westwood

I really like lower league football. Not that I would want to see us play it again, of course – despite the memories of one strangely enjoyable 1987-88 season in Division 3. I go and watch it in the flesh when I can though I travel a lot with work. Taking in real football at somewhere like Macclesfield... [More]

Jozy Rancher

It’s been 12 years since Claudio Reyna played for Sunderland AFC and he was the last American to play first team football for the club. There was Stuart Holden, but let’s not get in to that. After weeks of speculation and a lot of waiting, the Black Cats announced that USA International Jozy Altidore had signed a four-year contract and flew straight to join the rest of the squad in Italy. [More]

Moby Diak

Over the years, Sunderland have seen the good, the bad and the ugly side of central defenders over the years, with Steve Bould and Charlie Hurley the only two that played magnificently during their time here. It was a very disappointing season, one where defensively we were fragile and bare in numbers, but since the turn of the summer Paolo Di Canio has already began his quest to bulk up the squad. [More]

Don Vito

Sunderland’s latest Italian is the erstwhile Arsenal third-choice goalkeeper Vito Mannone. Arriving after a stand-out season from the Liverpool-bound Simon Mignolet, replacing the Belgian will be no easy task. Mannone’s arrival was greeted with a fair bit of hesitancy from the Sunderland faithful. A goalkeeper with a chequered reputation and somewhat down the pecking order at a club which hasn’t been known for its goalkeeping consistency... [More]

Success!? Under 18s Season Review

The 2012-13 campaign marked the start of the new national system for the under-18s set-up, with a new Barclays U18 Premier League replacing the old Premier Academy League. This was intended to enable a more secure transition for players with the potential to progress from youth football into the first team. Beginning with the teams playing each other in group leagues, the competition would climax with a play-off in May to decide the champion. [More]