Bendtner’s caution gives unconvinced fans the benefit of their doubts


Monsieur Salut is back from froggieland and champing at the bit ahead of his SoL debut this Saturday (and two away games already pencilled in). Will the Lads send him away as happy as he felt at 10 to 5 on Saturday? …

It has already been pointed out here that even a win cannot stop the carping.

Two days after Sessegnon and Bendtner gave us three points at Bolton, the cauldon of negativity can be heard simmering away without any attempt on Salut! Sunderland‘s part to turn up the heat.

Most people who have submitted comments (the total, incidentally, falling some way short of when we were all doom and gloom) have been given a lift by the performance. But not all …

Jeremy says:

“At the end of the season this … will be shown to be a completely insignificant result in the grand scheme of things against a woeful side that will be relegated. The last nine months of unabated torture will not be wiped clean by beating Bolton, (as virtually anyone can do that right now). Bruce out!”

And Bill Taylor disputes the idea that we’ve turned the corner:

“I’m not sure we’ve reached the corner yet. This was just a few steps in the right direction.”

CSB was much more willing than Jeremy, and more willing than Bill, to see what happens next:

Still much to do, could be yet another false dawn, but S(teve) B(ruce)’s head is still on chopping block, only he can remove it by building convincingly on this.

For M Salut, and also M Sixsmith, victories are to be acclaimed when they happen (sorry, but the former does not even subscribe to the view that it’s OK to lose provided that defeat sends Newcastle United down; he wants SAFC to win every game in sight). Bolton was a good, solid away win. No more, no less.

But there is nothing other than respectable about the views of Jeremy, Bill and CSB. We have been expected to endure a great many woeful performances under Steve Bruce.

Up until the start of this season, he could just about get away with saying it was not his team. But having allowed – if not forced by circumstance or, perhaps, direction from above – to let a succession of Premier-standard strikers slip away, without replacement, he knew it was for him to prove that his squad was up to the task of moving us up to a new level. That meant better than a creditable but fortuitous 10th top finish.

Eight games into the current Premier campaign, he had not done so; we were hovering immediately above the drop zone – indeed we are still just above it now.

For all that, 2-0 at Bolton was a good win. It matters not that Wanderers have had a diabolically bad run of home defeats, nor that they are early-season favourites to go down. This was still the sort of game we have been eminently capable of losing, or struggling to draw. If Bruce is to be slammed for single goal defeats to Norwich, Newcastle and Arsenal (his and SAFC’s actual culpability diminishes in that order), he must be given a fair crack of the whip and applauded for pulling off a two-goal win at the Reebok.

That, however, is all he needs to be given for now.

One win, against abysmal opposition, fundamentally changes little.

If it is followed by three points at home to Villa, a heads-held-high showing at Old Trafford and a really strong haul from what follows (Wigan, Fulham and Blackburn all at home; Wolves away), M Salut will be happy. In the Bruce in/Bruce Out stakes, he will return from an uncomfortable Out-facing position on the fence to a slightly hesitant In.

That leaves plenty of work to be done. Don’t take it from me. Don’t even listen to the serious doubters. Take it – courtesy of The Journal – from Nicklas Bendtner, a player who oozes class, confidence and awareness:

“It’s major that we carry this forward to the next game. The next one is major. We have to play like we played the second half here. We have got to go into it with the same belief. It is no good coming away from here thinking we have won the game and everything is sorted. This is the Premier League and if you don’t win week in, week out, get points on the table, you don’t climb. …

We have put a marker down and we have to try to carry that over to next weekend. If we come out and play badly on Saturday then what we have achieved here is worth nothing. We can’t let that happen … If you looked at the stats, it said it all. We had played a team where we should have won.”

There you have it. If our own Jeremiah is to be accused of doom-mongering, even after a decent win, the level-headed caution expressed by our world-class, on-loan striker tells you all you need to know about the Spring-making limitations of the swallow.

Monsieur Salut

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Salut! Sunderland is written, illustrated and edited by - and principally for - supporters of Sunderland AFC. The site aims to be sufficiently literate and entertaining to appeal to people who do not follow SAFC but enjoy good football writing.

35 Responses to “Bendtner’s caution gives unconvinced fans the benefit of their doubts” Subscribe

  1. Bill Taylor October 24, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Carping comments? Or merely a reminder of grim reality? I was delighted at Saturday’s win. And I think Bendtner is one of the best things to happen to the team in quite some time. Is it too soon to think of giving him the captaincy?

  2. davey October 24, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    Sad , Sad ABB at it again
    We could win our next 5 matches – and they would still want him out .
    There is no way we could have attracted the better players we have without Bruce there . Look at the comments from Larson etc , Bendtner too – the main reason they are here is because of Bruce . Gyan and Bent too – although they have left for pastures new . Would we have had Welbeck last year without the Bruce connection .
    Bolton will not go down , they are having a bad run – as all teams do sometime during the season
    You lot would be calling for SAF’s head after yesterdays result !!

  3. salutsunderland October 24, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    No. Not too soon at all (Bendtner and captaincy).

    However, he’d probably need to be ours, not just on loan, for that to be feasible (and I’m not even sure what the rules say, if anything).

    In the meantime, no one should let on to Wenger that he’s doing OK.

  4. bill barkess October 24, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    Do not get carried away 3 points we neaded but Bolton were crap . 3 points on saturday would be a step in the right direction but we have had too many false dawns. Xmas will see if we have really turned the corner and i hope bruce believes in santa.

  5. malcolm October 24, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    Too right. This is only breathing space for Steve Bruce. His team must now produce the goods consistently for the rest of the season. For once, to my layman’s eyes, he appeared to pick a balanced side. Instead of four or five holding players across the middle of the park there were two in midfield with a bit of flair plus Vaughan who is also capable of a good defence testing pass. Also two forwards who provided more than Gy£n was doing should worry the defences of most teams in the bottom half of the table.

    My main criticism of the manager has been his lack of imagination and his inability to react positively when things go awry. A win, however welcome, against a very poor side isn’t enough to convince me yet, that he has adopted a more positive approach.

    If we have 28 points before the end of the year then there will be reason for optimism. But whilst we reflect on the Bruce in/out debate we are not the only club so pondering. The managers at Blackburn, Wigan, Bolton, Wolves are all being subjected to similar pressure. The biggest plus to suggest that Bruce should stay is the argument that we will end up with no-one better running the side.

    I’ll be there on Saturday, cheering on the team but it will take more than a good performance to convince me we have turned the corner.

    I honestly hope that Bruce will turn around the negativity so many of have felt this season but he got us into it in the first place.

  6. Birflatt Boy October 24, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    Davey. Birflatt has not yet spoken about this isolated spark for optimism which to your views from the flatness of your earth has been witnessed as a conflagration.

    Bolton will not go down, you say. Really? Well where the earth is flat and where piglets see saw above the clouds they will indeed survive. Bolton have lost seven home games in succession. This is the worst run they have experienced in their history in any division. Bolton are doomed, doomed, doomed. That is the view from Birflatt, and simple reason even if it is not the view from the plains of Peterlee.

  7. davey October 24, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    Isolated spark – and not yet 5th November – have you turned your clocks back too ??
    Did we not come back from 2 – 0 down last home game , and hammer Stoke the home game previous to that . Oh I forget Stoke are on their worst run for years – and will probably get relegated .
    As I previously mentioned , every team will go through a bad patch , no way will Bolton go down

  8. hilary October 24, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    Like Bill, I was very pleased by the win on Saturday. We looked very business like for much of the second half and I was also impressed by Bendtner. I do hope that this is the beginning of a period of consistency. We have some decent players in the squad and should be able to find our feet now that they have been playing together for a while. I hope so.

  9. Birflatt Boy October 24, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    Yes we managed to come back from a shambolic start against those footballing titans from the Hawthorns, WBA. Keep it up Davey because you are giving us all a really good laugh mate.

    What a season we’re having. Not only have we beaten Bolton, my goodness we won against Stoke! Whatever next. We might manage a 0-0 against Wigan when we play them. Now that would be something wouldn’t it? I imagine you’ve got the champagne chilling already in case that one comes off eh?

    Yet. Bruce thinks our expectations are too high. He clearly doesn’t know you Davey.

    Like you Hilary I was pleased to see us win away. The context of this though is very important and there’s a lot for SB to do to get the fans behind him again.

  10. andy p October 24, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

    So does this mean you will staying in the Marriott and using station taxis, If so why not try our new automated service.looking forward to seeing you again,Andy car 143

    • salutsunderland October 24, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

      I’ve come down in the world Andy. Can just about afford for the wife to use the Marriott gym while I’m at the match! Great to hear from you, though and next time I am up without my own car I’ll make sure to use yours.

  11. hilary October 24, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

    I agree that the context is very important. I am pleased that we won, but that does not necessarily mean a great deal in the context of our lack of consistency. I am trying to see the positives, but am all too aware of the underlying problems.

  12. Sanddancer October 24, 2011 at 11:50 pm #

    I am liking Bendtner more and more. Not just for what he brings to the pitch, which is substantial, but for what he says off it. He gets it. We need more swallows before claiming a turnaround as Bruce is doing. The team will benefit hugely from having Bendtner in the side. Hope we get to keep him.

  13. davey October 25, 2011 at 6:13 am #

    BB
    The context of this though is very important and there’s a lot for SB to do to get the fans behind him again

    Have you ever been to an away match ? Or any match at all come to that !!!
    Bruce had 4,000 + of us behind him at Bolton – and the team responed . Have yourself a trip away with the away fans sometime , broaden your horizons perhaps .
    I sit in the East Stand surrounded by zillions of moaning minnies like yourself ; they pay for their season tickets , then spend all their time complaining . I don’t know why they don’t just hire a beach hut on the prom at Blyth , they can sit their and moan to the sea to their hearts content
    I’m pleased i’m giving you a good laugh anyway mate , enjoy

  14. JD October 25, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

    I think some SAFC fans should be ashamed of themselves. This is typical Sunderland, in times of crisis we seem to implode on ourselves and look for a scapegoat or a series of unfortunate events to lay the blame on. Simple fact is this, we were lucky to finish 10th last season and there were obviously going to big changes to playing staff this season. The team needs a chance to settle and I think it will come together sooner rather than later. That said it doesnt excuse the fact that we havent bought players to fill our problem positions (Left Back, Striker, Natural Left Winger), but again if the right player isnt available at the right price its best to keep your powder dry. All of this combines with the fact that those bastards down the road are overachieving is hard to take, but hey!! if your not used to it by now you’d better go and find a new club because this is what being a Sunderland supporter is all about.

    • salutsunderland October 25, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

      I take a different view, JD, namely that “this is what being a Sunderland supporter is all about” is exactly why we question what is done by our club at times. I agree that there are reasonable and unreasonable ways of expressing views but even reasonable views can be put robustly. I think relatively little of the criticism of Bruce, though harsh, has been over the top despite my own willingness, amid much soul-searching, to be more understanding and patient than others feel is justified. I found Bendtner’s comments surprisingly open and perfectly sensible. There is plenty of opportunity in the coming spell of games to build on a good win at Bolton, but I am with Malcolm in regarding a decent haul between now and Christmas as a must.

  15. Plan B October 25, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

    Will Bruce be unhappy with Bendtner for his comments, after all talk of ‘winning every week’ is having too high expectations isn’t it? does he know we’re ‘only’ Sunderland?

  16. JD October 25, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    PB – You are exactly the type of fan I was talking about. This ultra sceptical attitude that your ilk are choosing to adopt is really pissing me off. If you dont want Bruce then name a realistic replacement who would do better and is available???

  17. Plan B October 25, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    JD – It was Steve Bruce himself that made those comments, I’m simply stating that Bendtner is saying what fans ‘of my ilk’ know and am quite happy to feel and talk about. Yet when we say it, we’re slagged off. As for managers, I firmly believe we could attract Hughes, O’Neill and Benitez, who has stated he wants to stay and manage in England and knows he probably won’t get the chance of a top four/six club. All far better managers than Bruce. If you want to believe none of those are realistic i’ll give you Lambert and Poyet. If they turned out to be slightly better or even as average as Bruce is we’ll certainly be no worse off.

  18. davey October 25, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    Plan B !

    None of those are as good as Bruce Benitez ffs Benny Hill would be better
    Did you see Poyet’s after match comments last night – not a clue !! Hughes – jury out for me – O’Neill – vastly overrated – just don’t get him at all Lambert – who is he ???

    Surprised you haven’t mentioned Sven or McClaren –

  19. Birflatt Boy October 25, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    This is descending to the standard of RTG.

    Davey. Why would you question a life long fan whether they have been to an away game, “or “at any match come to that.” What gives you that right. I thought twice about responding to you, and just couldn’t let your facile remarks pass without response.

    You don’t know me, and I don’t know you. All I know of you is that you possess an optimistic streak which has little justification. Other than that I know nothing about you, other than that you are capable of providing Salut threads with an incessant stream of complete and unparalleled drivel. You have no idea how many games that I have been to or the miles that I have travelled supporting SAFC and nor should you care. This is just a rekindled version of your other response to those with whom you disagree by likening dissenters to “that lot up the road”etc.

    You say “Bruce had 4,000 + of us behind him at Bolton” and the team responded. Well what do you want son? Shall I bake you a cake? Some flowers perhaps? Bruce has had 40K + behind him at home for the last 10 months and it’s made no palpable difference. So what is your point exactly Davey? Do you have one, or are you prevented from handling anything sharp where you live, with ideas and clarity of thought being at the top of that list?

  20. Plan B October 25, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    Davey Benitez won cups at Liverpool and finished 2nd. There you go, 2 things that Bruce would never have done. Didn’t see Poyets comments, full of excuses was he?

  21. Birflatt Boy October 25, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    Plan B. There’s no point in arguing with idiots. They drag you down to their level and beat you with their experience.

  22. CSB October 25, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    One win and out troop the flag waving dawn of aquarios bunch, yet again saying how all the so called ABB have been wrong all along whilst the Brucie Love in supporters despite all the evidence from last January to now are correct.

    A win against a weakend Stoke and a rather pitiful Boloton, whilst being very welcome, does not constitute an upward trend. Do the same between now and Christmas and it may well result in an improvement in standings. At least by then you will have some actual evidence to support your persistent mewlings, instead of this spouting that we have to put up with because of one win.

    As previously pointed out (ad naseum), we are not anti Bruce but we do not consider him to be up to the task in front of him, this is amply supported by the evidence to date. One win, regardless of how welcome it is, does not alter the evidence nor Bruce’s current standing.

    Half a dozen more wins between now and Christmas might, but is he up to the job?

  23. Birflatt Boy October 25, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

    CSB To my mind he clearly hasn’t been up to the job for most of last season as well as this. It’s the attitude of these misguided optimists who for reasons which baffle me think that a win at Bolton can wipe away the abject performances and results that have blighted us since February. It’s ridiculous.

    I know that we look for every cause for optimism being Sunderland fans but this is beyond the pale. I’m sick of their witless muttering to be honest. If they think that something has changed because of a single results against a team that’s heading for the drop then they should be certified.

  24. Bill Taylor October 25, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

    This is one of the reasons I tried to disengage myself before the season even began — the anticipated mediocrity of Steve Bruce, leavened by the occasional three points that would cause, among some people, quite unjustified joy and optimism. I discovered, of course, that letting go of the team was not at all that easy. I care more deeply than I thought. Deeply enough to have actually had mixed feelings about Saturday’s win. On one hand, I was thrilled with the points and the standard of football in the second half; on the other, worried that it would give SB breathing space. As I’ve said before, I don’t think the guy has much idea of cause and effect. As I’ve also said before, I’d like to see us tempt Ian Holloway away from Blackpool. That’s not an original idea – I think either Jeremy or BB came up with it first – but it strikes me as a good one. Holloway the Lads!

  25. Plan B October 25, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

    BB you’re right, I shouldn’t lower ones self; ‘There are none so blind as those that cannot see’ I’m sure the wise man must have been looking at the bigger picture.

  26. davey October 25, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    BB – I take it you did not agree with my comments ; however no need to get so personal mate
    If you can bake some flowers , i’d certainly accept them .
    It wouldn’t matter who we beat , those of you in the ABB would still want him out . That’s your choice , I think he is ok – that’s my choice
    The point I was trying to get over about the support was; the away fans get behind the team no matter what . At home the murmuring of the dissenters comes through and everyone gets nervous . Just see what the players say about the support away from home , if only everyone got behind the team at home in the same way .
    We shall see who is correct as the season progresses

  27. Birflatt Boy October 25, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    Davey; you were the one that started asking whether I’d ever been to a game. I take that as an insult, and very personally.

    The ABB as you call us weren’t shouting for his head when he was winning games and going about his job the right way. Some 4 wins in 24 justifies the criticism he is getting. Beating Stoke and Bolton is not any sign of progress. If you can’t see that then that’s not my problem. Just give it a rest from shooting the messenger Davey and all will be well. Attacking the credibility rather than the argument of those you disagree with shows that you are on a sticky wicket. It’s an age old ploy of defence lawyers when they know their client hasn’t got a hope. Question the credibility of the accuser and not the facts.

    I don’t know how old you are Davey but I can bet that I was standing on away terraces well before you were born. I’ve followed this club through thick and thin for decades now, so you’d better expect me to get the hump when someone like you comes out with garbage about going to games.

  28. Ian_Safc October 26, 2011 at 2:45 am #

    I think that, subconsciously, the fact that Newcastle are doing so well is not helping Bruce. We started off the season expecting to be the biggest team in the NE, and now we find the Mags doing better than us. A lot of us have to work with Newcastle fans who remind us of this. Add the fact that Bruce was born ‘up the road’ has not helped him at all. I think, in all this “Bruce Out” business, that’s a subconscious factor whether we openly admit it or not.
    I’m with Davey on the fact that many a good player would not have come to the club without the presence of Bruce. The recently lauded Niklas “give him the captain’s armband” Bendtner might not even be here. Let’s give Bruce a chance … and buy a big name striker in January of course!

  29. CSB October 26, 2011 at 4:51 am #

    Players tend to go where the money is, Bendtner camd to SAFC because he knew he would get a regular start, something denied him at Arsenal. Any one of several Managers could have signed what Bruce did.

    Additionally ‘good players comimg to the club’ is of little use unless the Manager can get the best out of them on a regular basis, something Mr Bruce has yet to achieve.

    I admit that it takes time to get a team to gel but it should have happened by now. SB seems to be operating along a geologic timescale. If we all agree (tentative assumption) that the squad is good enough to easily achieve ‘mid table mediocracy’ then what is the problem, why are so many performances sub standard, inept, etc.

    Answers on a postcard please!!!

  30. davey October 26, 2011 at 6:24 am #

    Sorry if I offended you BB ; for your information I have followed Sunderland since being a kid in the early 60’s . I have always felt that I support the club as much as the team (team changes season on season ) , this includes the manager and the chairman . I feel we have an excellent chairman , as long as he is happy with the manager , I’ll accept that – he obviously knows more than you or I about the situation . Any new manager arriving will have my full support too , even those I have mentioned previously as not rating .
    Let’s hope Blackburn give the mags a good going over tonight

  31. CSB October 26, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    Davey said:

    ‘he obviously knows more than you or I about the situation’

    I think you will find that he access to the same poor statistics that Mr Bruce has accumulated as the rest of us. Additionally he will also know how much it will cost the Club to replace Mr Bruce should he choose to do so.

    I really fail to see where the optimisim comes from, the best SB will do for the Club is mid table safety, something he is failing to achieve currently. If ES short term plan is mid table then he may well stick with SB. However, as a supporter I would like personally to see a bit more ambition involved.

    A win this weekend will probably supply SB with a much needed breathing space til Christmas, one way or another this period will settle the position for the remainder of the Season. Then whether you are pro Bruce or pro progress will become a mute argument till the end of the season. It should be interesting.

  32. chatnoir_safc October 26, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    Like all Sunderland supporters I was happy to win the match at Bolton. (If it matters, I was actually there at the match– does it matter? I don’t know).

    I think we were fortunate that Bolton are having an iffy spell as well, because we did have (another) slow start and for me if we’d been playing a side imbued with a bit more confidence, it’s likely we could have gone a goal down in the first half.

    But we were brilliant in the second half, and it was clear that we were going to get the three points.

    We’re in a funny situation now where we’re seeing a dichotomy between results and performance. I’m not generally an advocate of saying a team ‘deserves’ to get anything from a match, but some of our recent performances (or parts of performances) have shown real class and commitment.

    Such is the dilemma. Do we look at the squad of very good players and an adept manager and allow them time to progress– trusting that good performances will eventually yield results? Or do we take a more quantitative approach– get wins or GTFO?

    Whilst I agree with those who have said that the weekend’s win is not necessarily an indication of having turned some cosmic corner, ideally it will have served as a confidence boost to the lads. And ideally they’ll carry that confidence through the following fixtures.

  33. Tony October 26, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    Just goes to prove that even with a win you can’t please all the people all the time.

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