John McCormick writes: As my brother-in-law Ed and I walked from Goodison into the well-worn district of Tuebrook, to await a bus that never arrived, it started to rain. During the long cold winter which followed it felt like there would be no more buses and precious little sunshine coming. And so it proved until Wigan lost at Arsenal, and even then it was someone else’s bus.
So what, if any, were the highpoints of a season that went on for ever and ever, and never seemed to get any better?
I’ve graphed out our progress to safety – click on the image to magnify – and maybe you can pick out some of the highs and lows of your own to go with the comments I’ve added. Here are my highs
Having a pint with Sixer before the Everton game. Good beer, good conversation with Evertonians in the Leigh arms. It’s what football’s about
Fletcher. Without him we would be down.
Ming. Even with Fletcher we’d be down without Ming.
That win against the Mags. Need I say more
And really, for me that’s about it. I’d include Danny Rose if he was staying. A class act, I’m really pleased he signed off with a goal, and I hope he comes back to grace our team. That would make it five highs but, of course, we don’t yet know where his future lies.
And here are my lows:
McClean. Is he turning out to be a one-trick pony?
Cattermole Is he ever going to play for us for more than 2-3 games in a row?
Fletcher’s replacement Earlier in the season I expressed the opinion that Frazier Campbell was worth an extended run-out to see how he had recovered. Few people, if any, agreed and presumably MON was among those who thought I was wrong. Campbell left for a reputed £650,000 and then scored seven goals in twelve appearances to help Cardiff get promoted. Danny Graham came in for about £4 million more and failed to score in twelve games. Yes, it’s comparing championship with premiership but surely you’ll now agree that it wasn’t good business to sell one and buy the other.
Our PR team and anyone dealing with Di Canio’s appointment. Totally inept. A classic example of how not to manage a situation.
Villa I was thinking of going but the times of trains back here meant I’d have had to leave at half time to get home. Lucky me.
I’m neutral about
The managerial change. Possibly the right thing at maybe the wrong time, possibly the wrong thing at maybe the right time. We’ll never know if MON could have kept us up. For me, however, the key point was not the change but Fletcher’s injury. I’m sure that he’d have scored in some of the games where his replacement didn’t and that we’d have got the points needed for safety. If that had happened MON might still be here and we’d be living in a different world. Time will tell if appointing Paolo Di Canio is the start of something good. Like all Sunderland fans I live in hope.
Roll on next season.
* See the full series of 2013 End-of-season reviews at this link: http://salutsunderland.com/category/end-of-season-reviews-2013/
See all Salut! Sunderland’s articles recalling May 5 1973 and the run that took SAFC to FA Cup glory: http://salutsunderland.com/category/fa-cup/may-5-1973/