• Malcolm Dawson writes….criticised for his negative comments after his side’s defeat in what was considered this season’s first local derby, David Moyes is full of optimism and praise for his team after the second. Well there are people who believe in the Yeti and Bigfoot and that the moon landings were all an elaborate hoax, that Elvis is alive and well and living in Stoke Poges and that David Icke was onto something. Pete Sixsmith doesn’t and he was at the Riverside last night too. Whose version of events is closer to reality do you think?

Pete Sixsmith sees the clouds looming on Teesside

MIDDLESBROUGH (away)

As I trudged around the streets of my childhood delivering Northern Echoes this morning, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the following as it took centre stage on the back page…..“If we had played like we have tonight in other games then we would have picked up more points and won more games. – David Moyes”

It is accompanied by a picture of David looking like a slightly younger, slightly more unhinged Victor Meldrew as he stands on the touchline at the Riverside wondering what on earth he, a man with the fourth best win ratio in the Premier League, is doing presiding over the rabble that are out there allegedly playing for him.

I can’t belieeeeeve it!


It got me thinking about an incident that took place in The Lincolnshire Poacher pub on Mansfield Road, Nottingham a quarter of a century ago when I popped in for a pint of Bateman’s XXX with Alec Savage, a man so gentle that he made mild mannered reporter Clark Kent look like Grant Mitchell after a steroids overdose. “Two pints of your ordinary bitter mate” said Alec. The landlord, a man renowned all over the East Midlands for his sharpness, nay rudeness replied, “You are making two mistakes there sir. First of all you are assuming that you are my mate when we have never met. And secondly, you are assuming that my beer is ordinary, which it most certainly isn’t.” We sipped our pints in a dark, secluded corner.

Like poor Alec, Moyes was making two wrong assumptions.

The first one was that we were better than Middlesbrough and that we should have won. I think not. They were just as awful as we were but they managed to fashion one genuine chance which they took courtesy of some downright rotten defending from Billy Jones and John O’Shea.

The second one was that there were at least three other teams who were so indecisive in defence, feeble in midfield and ineffective up front that they would allow us to score against them while failing to take advantage of our inability to keep a clean sheet.

Apart from that, Moyes probably got it right.

This was the nadir of his time at Sunderland and one from which he surely cannot recover. Middlesbrough had not won a game in 2017, had had no new manager bounce after the too late sacking of Aitor Karanka and had been humiliated by Bournemouth, a club that was nearly out of the Football League a few years ago.

We, on the other hand, were on an unbeaten run of er… 1 game after a 2-2 draw against a dismal West Ham United side which had given us a smidgeon of hope that we could escape the grind of the Championship. Khazri was restored to the team, Anichebe was fit and the garden, although hardly rosy, was looking a little bit less lack lustre than it had.

The performance we turned in was dismal. Against a side who looked more nervous than we did, we dominated for nine minutes until they launched a through ball from midfield which neatly bisected the ever ponderous Billy Jones and the increasingly creaking John O’Shea to allow Marten de Roon to get into the box and poke the ball past the perhaps too slowly advancing Jordan Pickford. There was a silence for a split second while the home support tried to remember what to do when they scored and that was that. Nine minutes in and game over. Eighty one minutes to fashion an equaliser or a winner and we failed dismally.

no worse than the rest

Guzan in the Boro goal made two regulation saves from Ndong (our best player) and Khazri (no worse than any of the others) and that was it. Defeated and demoralised, we trudged back to the free coaches knowing that the game was up and it was Griffin Park on a Tuesday night for the foreseeable future.

There were two things in this game that stood out for me, both of them negative and both involving players that David Moyes has brought into the club.

  • The first was Darron Gibson playing that key role in front of the back four where he could win the ball and use it to open up the Boro defence. In the first half, there was a loose ball that was 60-40 his. He ducked it and allowed Forshaw to win it and set up an attack. No commitment, no interest from yet another player who has no reason to be at Sunderland. Ethan Robson or Elliott Embleton from the Under 23’s would at least have rattled Forshaw. And, if substituted, they wouldn’t have gone straight down the tunnel because they would have cared about their employer.
  • The second point relates to Adnan Januzaj, a man who makes Anthony le Tallac look a world beater. Pressing (a relative term) for an equaliser in the last few minutes, we were awarded a free kick in a good position. The defenders lumbered up for it only to see the once highly rated Belgian deliver a free kick that went across the box and out for a throw in. This from a man that the manager keeps telling us will come good and will go on to become a great player.

No chance of a job with Royal Mail with deliveries like his

Take the delusion glasses off David. The away support let it be known that, if they had a choice, David would be at home on Merseyside, waiting for Gordon Strachan to resign so that he can take over a job that he has always coveted. His time at Sunderland should be up but I fear it isn’t.

I also fear what will happen to us next season as the Championship is a fierce league and the jackals that inhabit it will be nipping at the legs of fallen Premier League clubs hoping to do them down even further. Villa have struggled at times and Fulham nearly slid into Division One a couple of years ago.

Middlesbrough will certainly be joining us but they have a squad that is equipped to do well – a bit like Burnley under Sean Dyche. We, on the other hand, have a mass cull to look forward to and a new influx of players which may or may not, be brought in by David Moyes. They have to be better than the ones he has brought in this season – don’t they?

In football, as in life, perception is everything. The perception of how well we played last night is fundamentally different between the manager and the 3,000 supporters who witnessed another performance that plumbed new depths in Sunderland AFC’s once proud but now increasingly tarnished history.

Only five more games to go. Thank goodness for small mercies.

 

Jake shows the way to go home

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Born in Hetton le Hole, deputy editor Malcolm Dawson's first game at Roker Park was the three all draw with Leicester City at the beginning of the 64-65 season. Having spent more than thirty years living in the East Midlands, he was Chairman and Information Officer of the Heart of England Branch of the Supporters' Association but has now returned to live in County Durham.

11 Responses to “Sixer’s Middlesbrough Soapbox: time for a reality check Moyesey old son” Subscribe

  1. KenG April 27, 2017 at 12:28 pm #

    Serious arguments amongst the Sunderland faithful added to a totally depressing evening. Happy days indeed.

  2. Wrinkly Pete April 27, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

    Spot on opinion on the same game that I also attended. I realise that David Moyes HAS to put out these bland post match reviews so don’t really take too much notice. Keep up the splendid effort, please.

  3. Paul April 27, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

    The Championship cannot be as dreary as the PL, this is utterly depressing. The first priority is to make sure players are recruited to keep the club in the Championship. Havind writtrn that, I think even Keane would think twice about taking over such a poorly run club, and who would want to work under Short?

  4. Eric012 April 27, 2017 at 1:07 pm #

    3000 away fans for a game of no consequence. Incredible. Hopefully we’ll do well in the Second Division and our fans can learn how to smile again.

  5. KevS April 27, 2017 at 2:53 pm #

    For me, THE worst 2 players in the Premier League this season, by a long, long way, have been Billy Jones and Januzaj. At least Januzaj’s going soon (he should never have been seen again after his performance at Watford the other week). But please don’t tell me that Jones still has a contract for next season ?

    Meanwhile Gibson looks no better than Plodwell. I’m still working out what Plodwell’s attributes are supposed to be, three years after he arrived. I fear that in a couple of years time we’ll still be trying to work out what Gibson is supposed to bring to the party.

    Make no mistake, we could easily go down again next season.

    • Rob April 27, 2017 at 9:24 pm #

      Sort of what I was dreading. Having had a chapionship preview against the Boro I know we are not coming straight back up with David Moyes in charge. He is so dour & downbeat it is bound to drain any player of confidence.
      Our u23 team is excellent and they ask he stays away due to his negativity. He is Mr. Paycheque and I work with one so I know.
      If you saw Leon Osman on Radio 5 live (or listened) he said, ‘This is not the Moyes who was at Everton. That guy had fire in his words. This guy has defeat (or something to that effect). He has to be replaced by someone who motivates. Allardyce was perfect until England screwed our club Big Time!

  6. OkieDokie April 28, 2017 at 1:48 am #

    We need to get Allardyce back,,,he would leave Crystal Palace in a heartbeat if the money was right,,,get him and let him get to grips again.Moyes is a joke,just pay him off and get Sam

  7. Mike Sixsmith April 28, 2017 at 12:10 pm #

    As Sixsmith Major is only too well aware, I don’t go to the games. Working away for at least a couple of nights a week, means that I haven’t the audacity to spend a Saturday afternoon watching my team, it simply wouldn’t be fair.
    However, whenever there is a midweek game, I usually hook up the laptop and listen to the commentary and this was the case on Wednesday in Bristol.
    Listening to Benno was, to say the least, depressing and once Middlesborough scored, I knew in my heart of hearts that that was that.
    Turn the clock back nearly 12 months, sat in a pub in Carshalton watching Sunderland destroy Everton. Turn it back a further 12 months and that superb rearguard action at the Emirates when we needed a point and got one.
    Where has all that fire and determination gone? The team hasn’t changed all that much, it’s the attitude.
    The 3000 people who went to the game on Wednesday deserve better and perhaps it is time, once again for a change of leadership off the field and a major change of personnel on it.
    I wonder what Bob Stokoe would have made of it? Come to think of it, I wonder what Sam thought too?

  8. Eric012 April 28, 2017 at 1:18 pm #

    Di Canio, Poyet, Advocaat and Allardyce. All managed to keep us in the PL. Then along came Moyes!

    • Drummer April 29, 2017 at 7:41 am #

      Moyes is on his way to becoming the new Mackemenemy. He’s certainly the most inept and disliked ‘ manager’ we’ve had since then . This clown won’t keep us in the Championship never mind get us promoted. The only hope is that he’ll leave at the end in the Summer . He mumbled something about looking at his options at the end of the season .

      • malcolm April 29, 2017 at 8:24 am #

        I can’t believe that so many people are willing to let Moyes carry the can. The club’s problems go much deeper than the manager. Yes Di Canio, Poyet, Advocaat and Allardyce kept us up but look how long they lasted after doing so.

        Once we had escaped the drop none of them could push on. Allardyce’s circumstances were different but even before the England job came up there was no indication the club had plans to build on his achievement. I don’t believe he would be at the club now even if England had won the Euros. He would have struggled to improve the squad.

        Look at the bigger picture lads and lasses. Is 17th place really the height of our ambitions? Every year since Steve Bruce went (and how many fans wanted him to go?) we have flirted with relegation no matter who the manager was.

        We won’t achieve anything under Ellis Short who is probably more relieved to see that the club’s losses are decreasing rather than worrying about relegation.

        It is that mismanagement of the club rather than the team that sees us where we are.

        Now I’m off to get a supply of tranquillisers before I head off to watch what will be our penultimate home game in the top flight of English football for at least five years.

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