As the season draws ever nearer (tomorrow! TOMORROW!), I’ll be throwing a few of these up before anyone can get depressed/begin dreams of winning the league after 90 minutes of football. So, the latest to offer their tuppence is a proud Mackem who wants nothing but bad for the Geordies and is keen to see a chairman abducted by aliens…
Hello. Are you are?
Paul Raine, Sunderland fan from www.readytogo.net
How do you think your lot are gonna do?
I think we’ll do ok. I expect to avoid relegation but predicting mid-table is always a bit dodgy as those teams are never really safe. I think we’ll always be under pressure to get a result but we’ll beat enough of the poorer teams to do ok. A good start is vital and we have some tricky fixtures early on so it will be vital to carry on the form and spirit we had at the end of last season – even if pre-season has been a bit patchy.
Enjoyed your summer?
Had you said at the end of last season our major signings would be Kieron Richardson and Michael Chopra I’d have been gutted (this is written before an impending deal for Gordon and Mido comes off though – fingers crossed). However I think we were all a little giddy back then and dreaming of Scholes and Van Nistelrooy coming. After reality kicked in and realising that despite the fact that we as fans think the club is amazing, most outside of Wearside just see it as a yo-yo club with good chance of going down again.
After a slow start to transfer activity things have picked up and Keane seems to be getting the kind of players he wants (with notable knock-backs, Baines and Nugent). No stars and some unusual ones like Dickson Etuhu and Paul McShane, but it appears character is a key point in the players he looks at and that could be the difference when the going gets tough.
Who is all set to impress?
Carlos Edwards for me. He was magnificent in the second half of last season after his move from Luton and had the goal of the season competition all to himself. He gave us pace and a killer cross from the right. Of course its a different ball game this season but I think he’s got what it takes to make the step up. Of the new signings I think Richardson has talent so he’ll do well and I like the look of Greg Halford, he had rave reviews last year at Colchester and everyone seems to have forgotten about him since he went to Reading but as long as he wasn’t a one-season wonder, he should do well.
Who needs a kick up the arse?
Difficult to say. Most of the spineless cowards who were with us the last time we went down have moved on thankfully. The few that remain like Danny Collins, Nyron Nosworthy and Daryl Murphy had excellent seasons last year so they’ve already made up for it in a way. I could say they all us as we’re loyal and deserving fans who’ve had it hard in recent times but that’s trite and sounds crap so I won’t.
Which young’un should we keep an eye on?
Sadly we don’t really have any, not of our own anyway. Sunderland’s youth policy is rubbish. To be fair everything is in place, the academy, the staff, everything but we don’t produce our own. Of the existing squad Anthony Stokes is the only real youngster we have, he’s just gone 19 and has lots of promise but didn’t really deliver in the second half of last season. He should get better though.
In the top 4?
Sadly – Man U, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal. I can’t see it any other way I’m afraid
Wigan, Derby, Middlesboro
Finally, make a random prediction about next season.
1 – Egg Heads spaceship to come back to take him back to his planet and rid us of him and his dirty, cheating football club (sorry West Ham fans, nothing personal)
2 – Michael Chopra to get a last minute winner in the derby at St James next year causing a mass carnage on the Tyne Bridge as jumpers queue for their turn.