Malcolm Dawson writes…..it was like old times yesterday with a packed house to welcome our visitors from Bradford, which included more than 2,000 in the North Stand Upper, who had made the Boxing Day trip from West Yorkshire.

Lake Poets – click the pic to hear the song on You Tube

Half time included a perfect rendition of “Shipyards” by Martin Longstaff, who performs as The Lake Poets. The song is used as the theme music for the Netflix docuseries “Sunderland ‘Til I Die” and credit to the Bradford fans, who could have tried to drown out a man in red and white stripes standing alone with a guitar in the centre circle, but the stadium was almost silent throughout before erupting into a huge cheer and round of applause when he finished.

If you haven’t seen the series it is well worth a look and you can get a full month’s viewing with no commitment for free.

In it Aiden McGeady criticises Chris Coleman for asking him to play in a 4-3-3 system without explaining what his role was. I have to admit I found it difficult to understand how a professional footballer who has played for his country, couldn’t work that out for himself, but the Irishman, nor any of the others in this squad, appear to have any problem with Jack Ross’s different set ups. Luke O’Nien for example putting himself up as a right back, even though he’d only ever played there on FIFA, looked as if it was his natural position.

I thought we were the better side yesterday and deserved to win, and for once we had the rub of the green and the Bantams’ fans will feel robbed. What did Pete Sixsmith think?

Well after having a drastic trim of his beard so the young people of Shildon don’t work out his secret identity and a triste with the local district nurse, she works for the National Elf Service of course, he found enough time to e-mail his thoughts which we can share with you here.

 

BRADFORD CITY

They have a lot to answer to do that Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven.

Here we were, slipping into the third level of English football and looking forward to rolling up to the ground at 2.45, lolling around over two or three seats, watching a side which another no hoper of a manager had put together with a load of deadbeat players who clearly despise each other, allowing the opposition from Rochdale, Accrington and Gillingham to bamboozle us every week.

Charlie at half time

After the game, we would slip out with the other 7 or 8,000 who had hung on until full time to berate the alleged players and the latest managerial team (the first sacked by October) and back to the car and home before the BBC Newcastle local football round up has finished.

Instead we get a bright, sharp manager who conducts himself well, a team where the players actually seem to like each other and a crowd of 46,309. I got home in time to watch the second half of Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal, with Paul Dixon’s dulcet tones a distant memory.

The stadium was full if not quite bouncing. Some regulars were missing because of Christmas, but seats were taken and there were very few gaps other than in the re-opened Premier Concourse. The Bantams had brought a good and noisy following and Christmas jumpers, new scarves and new hats were on show.

Look what Santa brought Sixer

I even wore a new hat myself as my concession to the capitalist con that is the (alleged) season of goodwill.

If people went expecting a rout, it was never going to be that. City are much better organised than they were in October and if the returnees were expecting a typical “Oh my god, it’s a big crowd, let’s do our collective impersonation of a rabbit caught in headlights,” this group of players have no collective experience of the stigma that has run through this club for far too long.

What they got was a decent game, three controversial refereeing decisions from Darren England who had a good first half and a second half that means he will not be welcome in any of Bradford’s excellent curry houses for quite a while and a performance from Luke O’Nien that is a testimony to him and to the scouting staff who identified him as the right kind of player for this manifestation of Sunderland AFC.

O’Nien – star

Let’s start with him. He had big boots to fill in this game as Adam Matthews has done very well in the right back position so far and young Luke is a midfield player. Matthews is injured, Love cannot escape the treatment room so rather than moving Flanagan across and bringing in Ozturk, Jack Ross asked the former Wealdstone and Wycombe Wanderers man to do a job there.

And do a job he did. City play a midfield diamond (Jack Payne was the outstanding member of it) and don’t appear to employ wingers, so it gave O’Nien the opportunity to break forward and to help out wherever he was needed in defence.

He backed up Gooch and McGeady brilliantly and in the second half, when we were searching for the second goal to kill off the spirited fightback from the visitors, he was outstanding. His passing was neat and precise, his presence was authoritative and his tackling highly effective.

I commented in my usual wise and considered way that he must be pinching himself at the moment, having exchanged life in Wycombe for life on Wearside. He probably looked around the packed stadium and wondered what he was doing here in front of a crowd that would be the equivalent of eight or nine home games at Adams Park and two whole seasons full of crowds at Grosvenor Vale, Ruislip. Wealdstone, of National League South, lost 0-3 at home to Slough on Wednesday in front of a respectable crowd of 1059. We owe them a pre-season friendly for bringing up Luke so well.

The three fortunate decisions went to us for a change. City fans will have been fuming all the way home, having had a penalty turned down, seeing a Sunderland player remain on the pitch when he could well have been sent off and having what appeared to be a good goal not given.

Mr England’s thinking may have gone like this:

  • “For the penalty, I didn’t have a clear view and I thought that Max Power went for and won the ball so I didn’t think it was a penalty. And he got sent off at Bradford, so it would have been nasty to award a penalty against him, especially at Christmas.”

  • “Tom Flanagan had a bit of a dust up with Nathaniel Knight-Percival and my assistant said that NKP was holding on to Tom’s leg, so Tom gave him a playful push when they got up. It was a bit like a Christmas party game, so I told him off and gave him a yellow card.”

  • “As for the goal that wasn’t, I couldn’t see very clearly, but the other assistant was right in line and he said that he wasn’t 100% sure that it had crossed the line, so we couldn’t give it. A Bradford player said it was but he may have been telling me a big fib so I didn’t give it.”

There were good performances all over the pitch with McGeady being another stand out. He looks a happy player and he works hard even though he does appear to be jiggered for the last fifteen minutes. He passes the ball really well and he pounced on the City keeper’s fumble to slap the ball into the net and put us ahead. (Ed. – After the initial diving save the keeper’s foot somehow stabbed the ball away from Maguire but straight to McGeady.)

Josh Maja continues to be a player who is improving. His movement is excellent and he was just off target twice in the first half before his shot caused the keeper to fumble for the goal. Once again, there are regulars sat behind me who think that he should have the touch of Messi, the pace of Usain Bolt, the heading ability of Tommy Lawton and the strength of Tyson Fury and I hope that the attitude shown to him by some does not contribute to him not signing a new contract. My advice to him would be to sign up for another two years and continue to learn. Interestingly, when he went off with fifteen minutes to go, he seemed to go without the disappointment he has shown on other occasions. Read into that what you will.

It was good to see Duncan Watmore and Charlie Wyke get game time. Both need it and both will play a key role in the games to come. A shame that Duncan’s header didn’t go in – that would have been the cranberry sauce on the Christmas turkey.

David Hopkin got a yellow card at Accrington. He got another at the Stadium of Light!

Bradford played well but without a great deal of punch. They work hard and will be gracing this division next season. David Hopkin and Jack Ross guided their respective teams to promotion last year – Hopkin won’t this season but he may next.

Jack Ross will….…. I hope.

It took ages to get out of the ground and back to the car – another black mark against the owners and the traffic was heavy. But I suppose you have to put up with some inconvenience if you want to win promotion and see the ground full. It may be not quite as hectic on Saturday, but I am looking for at least 33,000.

Ha’way the Lads…….

Match highlights via safc.com

 

If there is any copyright claim on the images used in this report, not answered by “fair comment” please let us know and we will remove or acknowledge as requested

Tags: , , , , , ,

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.

4 Responses to “Sixer’s Bradford City Soapbox: Plenty of Christmas cheer on Boxing Day” Subscribe

  1. Bill Taylor December 27, 2018 at 4:55 pm #

    How many Premiership clubs topped the 46,000-plus who turned out to see a League One game? Two? Three, maybe? Certainly not Spurs, who could only muster 45,000. That says a lot, not only about our fan base but English football as a whole. Money and fancy branding can’t buy you everything.
    Nice to know we still have 2 games in hand and even nicer to receive Christmas gifts from Portsmouth and Charlton. A shame Luton wasn’t equally as generous.

  2. Neil December 27, 2018 at 6:09 pm #

    Apropos the red card. City were guilty of winding up Power at Valley Parade. Clearly their chap was at it again…seeking to gain an advantage by hanging on grimly to Flanagan…a Central Defender …during a City attack. He fouled first and was blatantly cheating. Not condoning lashing out but i thought the Ref got that one right for us but wrong for City. Their lad should have been booked.

    City had 2 shots on target and for their manager to lament not taking 3 points is v funny. Over both games we were VFM. That said I like City and wish them well

    If Maja wants to go he can go. He would be silly to do so but such is life. I’d like him to work on holding the ball up and not going to ground so easily. He certainly has talent

    I suspect Wyke will form a partnership with Watmore that will bring goals.

    As for odd comments, my neighbour didn’t like Gooch as “he’s a poor man’s Theo Walcott”. I pointed out that in the 3rd Division you’re unlikely to see the actual Theo Walcott. Gooch is learning

    • malcolm December 27, 2018 at 6:55 pm #

      Re Maja and Gooch. I don’t pretend to understand the wage structure but I do know that the FA have only sanctioned it with the promise that the board will get it under control.

      Next month could be interesting. Has Stryjek been brought back so that Ruiter can be let go? His contract runs out in the summer and I bet he’s on a bigger wage than McLaughlin. If Ruiter were to go it would give the club more scope to offer Maja and Gooch a bit more.

      Oviedo has done well for us but if he were to move on then we could also bring in a couple more suited to this level.

      The club still has to factor in Kone’s wages too. If he were to sign for another club in the coming window that would also help, though I think his loan deal runs until the summer.

      Things are not always as simplistic as they seem. I suspect the delay with Gooch and Maja is not them itching for a move but all parties waiting to suss out the bigger picture before committing.

  3. Bill December 27, 2018 at 8:26 pm #

    As McLaughlin grabbed the ball I, immediately, looked across at the linesman. He wasn’t there, he was still busy sprinting along the touch line. It was a good 2 or 3 seconds after the ‘keeper had grabbed the ball tgat he got to the corner flag and looked along the goal line.

Leave a Reply

Sunderland vs Manchester City. Checkatrade Guess the Score and Wembley memories

The su=illy cup

GUESS THE SCORE: The Checktrade rules are simple – no extra time but penalties if scores are level at 90 […]

Sixer’s Scunthorpe Soapbox: Sunderland fail to flatter as Iron pressure pays

Sixer'sSoapbox(featured image)

Malcolm Dawson writes………tied up as I am in a hotel in Lytham St Anne’s (and before you get any ideas […]

Rate the ref: Scunthorpe v Sunderland

Rate The Ref featured image

In an attempt to minimise RSI I’m reducing the page to the poll and little more. I’ll set up a […]

Sixer’s Scunthorpe Sevens: A good point but we need to find that poacher

Sixer's Sevens (featured image)

What do you make of a draw at Scunny? A point gained or two thrown away? Luton open a gap, […]

View from the Avenue: a Sunderland rallying cry to still half-term wobbles

Jake: 'when will we next see sunny times for Sunderland AFC?'

Monsieur Salut says: Paul Summerside and I joust regularly at Facebook about Brexit, a subject I broadly feel wisest to […]

Scunthorpe vs Sunderland Who are You?: ‘please don’t sing Garden Shed or Shearer song’

Click the banner to see the Who are You? series for this season so far

Monsieur Salut writes: Ian Moore* came our way thanks to Matt Blanchard from the Scunthorpe Iron-Bru fan site and podcast […]

Page generated in 1.111 seconds. Stats plugin by www.blog.ca