Pete Sixsmith didn’t quite take the day off but the trip he made was a short one, only over the border to the next county.

It was Bob Chapman who crossed the border into another country.

Meanwhile, Sunderland appear to have only one place to go.

Here’s Bob’s report.

As it stands of the 92 clubs in the 4 top divisions of English football, I have watched Sunderland on 72 of those grounds. If I counted those grounds that no longer exist or are in a lower division then I can add another 26. However, for the past few years that total has only increased very slowly. Burton Albion earlier in this season was the first for a couple of seasons.

This is surely to change. Currently in League 1 there are 8 new grounds I haven’t visited with Sunderland.

I had been looking forward to the Cardiff game for a while. My good friend John Marshall, living in Portishead suggested we join up, along with our wives for a weekend away. We have done this for a few years now and the last time we were in Cardiff was 4 years ago, when John and I travelled down to Swansea for a 0 -0 draw.

On that occasion I stood in for Pete and the headline for the report was, ” The Chapman Report from Swansea : relegation a no brainer”. Can I suggest that for this post we just need to change Swansea for Cardiff !

needs the boot?

With the boys off to football and the girls off shopping, I think I already suspected who was going to have the better day? At least with shopping you can return unwanted goods at no cost. Unfortunately, Sunderland don’t seem to be able to return unwanted goods. I wonder what that famous retailer WBA would say, if Sunderland asked whether they could return their faulty purchase called Billy Jones?

Anyway, we set off after a hearty full Welsh breakfast, had a decent walk and then settled in with a couple of pints beforehand. With all our injuries I’m not sure Coleman knows his strongest 11 yet. I certainly couldn’t predict who would start although it was obvious that Ruiter would start in goal along with Maja up front.

The first half was dire, with both sides seemingly unable to string a sequence of passes together. It seemed that we were trying to emulate the Wolves away performance, when we got men behind the ball and preventing them putting pressure on our goal. They had one decent shot which Ruiter saved so I suppose everything was going to plan.

However, that all changed and by the 50th minute it was effectively all over. Once again Ruiter failed to dominate his box from a corner and Patterson easily out muscled the inept Billy Jones to open the scoring.

Ndong – not likely to be leaving any time soon?

Within minutes Ndong went for an early bath. Friends watching on TV said it was harsh and knowing our luck his subsequent appeal will fail and he will be out for a long spell. Could this be the last we see of him in a red and white shirt? Probably not, as on this showing he was clearly not fit and I’m not sure clubs like Watford would want to take a gamble on him. Anyway we need him as who would we get as a replacement? I’m getting rather tired of seeing quotes about how hard Martin Bain is working behind the scenes to get somebody in. The transfer window has been open for 2 weeks now and we need immediate replacements for a number of players who are just not good enough for dog eat dog Championship football.

The 2nd goal came from a breakaway Cardiff attack. Clarke-Salter, who up to this point had made a decent enough debut, failed to prevent a cross coming in from the wing, from which Ralls increased the lead and make it almost impossible to recover from.

Goals 3 and 4 inevitably came. There was no mass walkout from our fans. We have been used to this sort of performance so much this season that we just sat there bemused, wondering how much worse can it get? Sorry about the lack of detail but why waste your time trying to think of positives when there are none. Similarly, I never boo the team however bad it gets, so I can’t do it when I am asked to write about it.

After the match we met up with Peter, an ex work colleague of John’s. A Cardiff fan who didn’t think we would get relegated and thought Ruiter had a decent game! Needless to say we put him right and went off for a drink together to watch the scores come in.

Even with the necessary elusive back to back wins we are still going to be in trouble and unless money is spent getting good players in there is only one way out of this mess. I had thought about comparing the side that got relegated to the third tier against this present side. I soon gave up as this one is clearly far worse!

My wife is an ex History teacher and one of her pupils always pestered her to run a school trip to Blackpool. As a Lancashire lass herself she was always able to offer an excuse and offer alternative destinations. Maybe next season she will finally have to give in as I don’t think a weekend in Cardiff is going to be an option again.

Let’s hope I am wrong, but it looks like Shrewsbury, Scunthorpe, Rotherham, Oxford Utd., Fleetwood, Doncaster, Wimbledon and Rochdale away next season. Here I come and another 8 new ground ticked off.

Sadly it is a depressing thought!

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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.

7 Responses to “Sixer’s sub’s soapbox: Grounds for pessimism after Cardiff” Subscribe

  1. Peter Sixsmith January 14, 2018 at 10:31 pm #

    Good stuff Bob. I have done all the grounds mentioned but the only ones I haven’t seen us play on are Oxford, Wimbledon, Fleetwood and Northampton. Great for tick lists, heart breaking for real supporters.
    I can’t imagine any decent players wanting to sign for a club that has shown itself to be as inept as this one has been over the last four or five years. If you were a half decent player, would you choose Sunderland above any other club in the Championship? It’s like going into a failing school and trying to get good exam results from a demoralised set of students.
    Still, the rugby league season starts next month……

  2. JohnM January 14, 2018 at 11:27 pm #

    First game of the season for me, and just dumb struck at the ineptitude of so called professionals who can’t can’t even control a ball or pass it like you would expect of a 10 year old. Jones is 30 year old with 400 appearances, and even asa poor Premier player, should at least be average in a league lower, but words like abject and pitiful are more than he deserves on yesterday’s performance . The rest weren’t much better.

  3. Drummer January 15, 2018 at 6:48 am #

    Out of all the 92 clubs in that football league pyramid, we are worst over the calendar year . We’ll struggle in league 1 next year. Well done Short, how’s that plan to get us into the top 6 of the Premier going ?

  4. Wrinkly Pete January 15, 2018 at 3:03 pm #

    Well done Bob. It takes something special to bring yourself to write coverage of our showing (I was going to write performance but that seemed too generous a word then almost wrote effort – that would have been worse) when it is this poor. I was at the game and the only positive on the pitch was that the players kept trying. The problem with that was that with ten men and our high number of (often unforced) errors this led to more goals against.

    • William C January 15, 2018 at 6:04 pm #

      I only watched it on Sky Pete. The players did keep trying. They reminded me of my early days of army training in 1955. The platoon kept trying to drill, but unfortunately lacked the co-ordination, timing, fitness and skill to work as a unit – resembling instead, a disorganised rabble, going through the motions.

  5. William C January 15, 2018 at 5:53 pm #

    Grounds for pessimism? – more like grounds for suicide.

  6. KevS January 15, 2018 at 10:45 pm #

    WBA clearly regard us as the dumping ground for their waste. First Billy carthorse Jones and now Mcmanaman. I have never seen anyone look less like a player than Mcmanaman. He is clearly shot and is finished as a professional footballer. All the woffle from Bain & Grayson in the summer about getting the right type of player with real commitment etc etc. I’d like to know just what homework was done on Mcmanaman. The majority of Grayson’s ten buys have been a complete disaster and he then has the audacity to appear on Sky’s match coverage as one of their “experts”. As Bain is still involved in transfers, anybody confident that this month’s arrivals will be any better ?

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