Soapbox: a changing Premier amid the Liverpool/Man Utd shambles


Change, says Pete Sixsmith with what he terms “apologies to the late, great Sam Cooke”, is gonna come. Dylan had similar thoughts (“
Come gather round people …”). Pete’s belief is that the obscene spectacle of Liverpool FC’s disintegration, and the unsavoury air over Old Trafford, may be symptoms of a malaise that will lead to an overdue Premier League revolution …

Is it just me, or do I detect a change coming in the Premier League this year? Are we seeing the end of the Big Four period of domination? Are some of the middle ranking clubs ready to take over the mantle of European contenders from the perpetual participants?

Let’s look at the current state of the Big Four. Liverpool are in disarray off the pitch and are a shambles on it. Manchester United are laden with debt and are reliant on an increasingly ineffective Rooney. Arsenal are financially stable and a model for other clubs, but lack the killer instinct to win the league. Chelsea are effective on the pitch but their team is ageing and the owner is not prepared to pump as much money in as he has in the past.

Now, put all that together and the door is open for the likes of Spurs, Villa, City and us to push at a door that is gradually opening.

The situation for Sunderland is as promising as it has ever been. There has been considerable investment in players. The clubs record fee has been broken twice in 12 months and exciting footballers have arrived at The Stadium of Light. The squad is one that most PL managers would love to have, with quality players like Da Silva, Reid, Riveros and Gordon struggling to get into the team.

Young players like Jordan Henderson are supposedly being coveted by the likes of Manchester United. A £12m move to Old Trafford is being predicted – but why? What would he achieve at Manchester United that he may not be able to achieve at Sunderland?

Here he is a first team regular. He plays every game. The more he plays, the better he gets. He is surrounded by players who have had positive World Cup experiences. He has a manager who clearly believes in him and a crowd that warm to him as a local boy. Why should he need to leave for a debt ridden club who will undergo a major change when their current manager retires?

No player of potential or promise would dream of going to Liverpool at the moment. They have an interim manager who may not last the season. There is a feeling that it is an unhappy dressing room as the Spanish players begin to re-assess their commitment to Merseyside.

And then there is the ownership problem. It may well be resolved today, but I don’t think many Liverpool fans will be over keen on swapping one bunch of Americans for another. I foresee a very difficult time for this franchise in the future.

Isn’t this the ideal time for a club like ours to make a breakthrough? We have an owner who, for the time being at last, is prepared to invest in the club. He must realize that there is a sea change in the upper echelons. What’s to stop Sunderland from being one of those who really challenge?

Jordan Henderson is a bellwether as far as Sunderland are concerned. If he maintains his current progress in a red and white striped shirt, then Sunderland AFC will be a successful club. There is a good case for him being included in the next England squad which should encourage him even more. Regular first team football at The Stadium of Light means even greater exposure and is far better than being a “maybe” player at Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford. His hopes and our hopes are intertwined – we both want the same thing – success, success, success.

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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.

8 Responses to “Soapbox: a changing Premier amid the Liverpool/Man Utd shambles” Subscribe

  1. redz October 15, 2010 at 3:21 pm #

    sunderland will never win .junk.

  2. Wet blanket October 15, 2010 at 3:24 pm #

    A bit optimistic there mate. Sunderland are doing well, but that can very easily change. Champions league spot? Get yourself into the Europa League first.

    Good luck to you!

  3. sumo October 15, 2010 at 3:34 pm #

    oh poor boy keep dreaming..coz 1.its the time for the sleeping giant 2 awake i.e, liverpool…….2.chelsea wot be getting smaller 3. arsenal r confirmed 3rd…..but hey you,ve got a chance in utd’s place coz the problems r following :
    1.giggs,scholes,neville,ferdinand,hargreaves r 2 retire
    2. ferguson 2 retire
    3.fiancial problem ahead
    4.even rooney might left

  4. salutsunderland October 15, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

    Redz: very thoughtful post. Thanks.
    Good points by the others.

  5. Bill Taylor October 15, 2010 at 6:24 pm #

    We don’t wanna win junk, Redz. We leave that to the Mags. What a turnup it would be if Liverpool were to drop out of the Premiership. Unlikely, yes, but it could happen if they go into receivership. Losing the obligatory 9 points would put them into minus numbers.
    And, hey, I’ll take Pete’s optimism over anyone else’s pessimism any day. Reality — what a concept!

  6. Geoff Mangan October 16, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

    Actually, I think he has something. Much of the success gained by the big 4 is unsustainable, all about short – termism (if that is a word). Chelsea have had Abramovich for some time and they have only recently become a solid team. However, it all depends on him staying. Once he gets bored, diverted, it could all go downhill at speed.
    Man U are finding staying at the top difficult (WBA got another great result, maybe their home win against us wasn’t so bad?) while Man City always seem on the edge of imploding.
    Arsenal, nice football side but never really going all the way – and certainly beatable.
    The time is coming where well organised clubs who manage their finances with a hint of sense, an eye on the long term and generate a real club spirit may just find their place……
    Supporting your club is all about optimism. I may change this view depending on Monday’s result.

  7. Pete Sixsmith October 17, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

    If I do have something, Geoff, I don’t know where I got it from!!
    The only worry for us is what happens if Ellis Short loses interestand/or his miliions? Are we sustainable? Hopefully, the situation will not arise, but it does nag away at the back of your mind.
    Look at this weekend. Liverpool awful, Manchester United little better, Chelsea playing with little imagination, Citeh outplayed for much of the game by Blackpool and Arsenal reduced to hacking down opponents.
    This could be our moment. Let’s seize it!!!!!!!
    And yes, I have been drinking.

  8. Geoff Mangan October 17, 2010 at 7:48 pm #

    You didn’t get it from me.

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