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Interview With A Sunderland Fan

Interview With A Sunderland Fan

1) So how is the season going, were you shocked at the exit of the bearded one or was it time for him to go?

Very disappointed. Being a Sunderland fans means I always expect the worst, but I honestly thought the pre-season signings had set us up to move on to better things, or at least away from another relegation scrap. I was told from On High when we appointed Keano that the club knew it was taking a massive risk that could blow up in its face. But to be fair, he did his job - or the first two parts of it, from rock bottom to champions in the promotion season , keeping us up last season. This season, he showed how little he appreciates criticism, how unwilling he was to play a settled side and how unattracted he was to a long, difficult haul.

2) What do you think of your new manager, do you think he'll be able to cope with the pressure of expectations?

As a stopgap, which the 18-month contract suggests, it may be a sound appointment. I'd assume that provided he keeps us up, we'll get a biggish name in the close season with his retention in some coaching capacity is part of the deal (or he gets a good payoff and, almost certainly, walks into a job somewhere else) . If we slide into a bad run, he'll quickly know all about pressure. Our lot can be quite unforgiving.

3) You seem to be sorted owner and chairman wise at your club, so with some manager stability, what do you think Sunderland can achieve?

I'd love us to be top six, but have never envied the fans of Brands who expect to win everything in sight and regard each game as just another day at the office. What Peter Reid achieved before he lost it - two seventh top finishes, better still safe by Christmas or thereabouts - was exhilarating while it lasted. Established Premier status would do very nicely and yes, I am a huge fan of all Niall has done for the club. I adored him as a player, and respect his commitment to the club and area.

4) So come on, who is the biggest club of the North. Newcastle, Middlesbrough or Sunderland - and why?

We've won more top flight championships - even if they were mostly in the 1890s! And just to prove I live in the past, I think the relationship between Sunderland and Newcastle was cast in stone on Dec
5 1908 - a Newcastle championship season, though not quite their last - when we beat them 9-1 at St James' Park, jointly the biggest top flight away win. Who are Middlesbrough?

5) We have been linked with Kenwyne Jones, what do you make of him as a player and of the rumour that we'd like to buy him. Is he seriously worth the press rumoured £12million?

He was an excellent acquisition for us, and we need to keep him. If he's sold and we go down for want of firepower, Niall - despite what I said above - needs to be led to a darkened room and handed a revolver and bottle of whisky (though I suppose that should be the Irish version, whiskey, in his case). But 12m is excessive. He is not yet a finished striker: strong, fast, clever but in my view still developing. In a better team, he could either flourish or seem less special.

6) If you could have a couple of our players, who would they be and why?

Can I have Ashley Young and, if you do take Kenwyne, John Carew? Or was I supposed to ask for Gareth Barry?

7) Who would you send in the opposite direction?

How long have you got? Anyone can have Diouf and Prica, plus a few others among Keano's more inexplicable signings.

8) Are you surprised to see Villa where they are in the league and do you think we can break the supposed big four monopoly?

Not totally surprised. Villa did well last season, have plenty of money and have shown an ability to keep their nerve against the leading clubs. I'd love to see you replace Chelsea, a club I (maybe irrationally) think of as totally charmless from top to bottom, in the big four, though their demise is not especially likely.

9) What do you think of Villa, Martin O'Neill and claret and blue in general!?

I have a grudge against Martin O'Neill, not for refusing to come to us after a string of meetings led the board to think he was on the verge of signing up, but for a more selfish reason. When he was at Celtic, neither he nor even the club's press officer bothered so much as to reply to a request for a quick interview for the magazine of the Sunderland supporters' association London branch (the trigger for the request, of course, being his boyhood love of SAFC). Suppose I should be charitable and accept that the press officer perhaps didn't even pass the request on. And it was a piddling little magazine, so maybe had little right to expect more. But I rate him very highly as a manager, and I like Villa: a proper club, with good, solid, stick-with-them fans.

10) So come on then, lets be having your prediction?

The way this season has gone, we could win 2-0, dominate but draw or get a thumping. That's having it every way, so let me be bolder than I feel about it and go for 2-1 to us, Kenwyne's presence showing he's going nowhere and accounting for one goal and one assist for Cisse.

With thanks to Salut at' and my almost unbelievably brilliant interview with them: Click Here

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:J P Fear
Date:Wednesday January 14 2009
Time: 4:22PM


'Chelsea, a club I (maybe irrationally) think of as totally charmless from top to bottom' I like this guy.
14/01/2009 16:49:00
i just cut, and was about to paste the exact same quote! what a brilliant quote!
14/01/2009 17:10:00
Agreed, however out of Man u, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea I like Chelsea best!!!
14/01/2009 18:44:00
Two very good interviews - thanks chaps. I used to rate Arsenal as Salut rates Chelsea, but lately Arsenal have handled themselves properly, whereas Liverpoop have behaved abominably (Gareth, Keane et al). Villa win by one goal, playing not too well.
14/01/2009 20:10:00
I'll think this could be our most convincing win for a while 3-1 to the Villa. I agree with what industrial_musical is saying. I too, probably prefer Chelsea over the other three. I find the supporters less arrogant.
14/01/2009 21:18:00
Agreed - I don't mind Chelsea supporters nearly as much as the other lots.
14/01/2009 22:24:00
In alignment with the first question; I used to live with an extremely passionate Sunderland supporter so when Keano walked, I was quick to find out his opinion on it. You may find it interesting so I thought I'd post it here.... Viewed from a distance the decision for Keane to walk seems bizarre, somewhat spineless (ala "can’t cut it") but a little closer to the Stadium of Light and the haze of confusion is starting to sharpen. Here are a few factors; 1) Drumaville left Keane alone, providing any funds required to deal in the transfer market, to give Keane the money to trade in the Summer Transfer window the consortium sold a majority share to an American Billionaire (Ellis Short). Keane vehemently stated that he was the boss and he would make decisions, such was his autonomy Quinn (the chairman) only communicated with him via text and if the text ran over the allotted characters then communication would be via the Club Secretary. This said shift of power (Irish to American) signalled demise to Keane’s autonomy, furthermore his transfer dealings and team selections were questioned, by Short. Keane’s response was none to welcoming telling Short he was not a football man and should allow Keane to get on with the job. Short’s reply was succinct but crushing; "if we were second top I wouldn’t question, but we are not, we are second bottom and I want answers". 2) Keane was only at the training ground on Thursday and Friday, telling players he would pick Saturday’s team based upon their performance in the training he had seen. Now this caused two rifts i) backroom staff felt devalued, why were they unable to inform Keane of who was performing well mon-wed ii) players were tearing shreds out of each other during Thur and Fri leading to unnecessary injuries. 3) Players and backroom staff were told by Keane that on Friday night (home or away) they had to stay in a hotel. For those players with young families this was not a popular decision. Likewise those players were not happy with their lack of "voice", failing to see why they had to follow blindly, without the option to question decisions. 4) Keane was prone to erratic behaviour. An example of which is telling Chimbonda he would never play for the club again and then calling him up before the Bolton game to tell him you are in the squad. Professionally it is suicide to walk out on a job when you were given over 100 million to spend, when the board wanted you to stay and when the fans were 100% behind you. Furthermore to walk away when a team is in the bottom three also smacks of "i am not up to this"...who would take damaged goods now?
14/01/2009 23:40:00
thats a big paragraph
15/01/2009 00:01:00
AVFC4ME thanks for that it would explain the reason Sunderland have been ****** for so long.
15/01/2009 02:56:00
Yes its a shame really as I thought Keane would make a pretty good manager but turns out he was a bit too irratic. Hopefully Sunderland can pull it together though and do ok this season. As Salut says, (like Villa) they are a proper club, with good, solid, stick-with-them fans. The more of them in the Premier League the better!
15/01/2009 06:19:00
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