John McCormick: Choosing his highs and lows

John McCormick: Choosing his highs and lows

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.

end of season

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 injury 

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.

Jake dreams of better school reports a year from now

Jake dreams of better school reports a year from now

* See the full series of 2013 End-of-season reviews at this link:

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5 Responses to “Salut! Sunderland’s end-of-season reviews: (8) four highs but six lows” Subscribe

  1. Jeremy May 24, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    This article made me smile. Great stuff John.

    You said “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.”

    No, it was extremely poor business indeed, but unfortunately the fact that Graham is so atrocious doesn’t make Campbell a good player. Getting rid of Campbell was good business, and at the time he left, even the staunchest critics of Graham’s signing (and I was most certainly one of them) couldn’t possibly have imagined that someone like O’Neill was signing a worse player to replace him.

    They may just write that on Danny Graham’s headstone when he departs you know “Even worse than Campbell.”

    Graham is so bad in fact that I’ve almost forgotten that he’s a Mag “-) Truth be told, that it’s the least of his problems. It’s remarkable to even think that Graham and Van Persie could both be described as working in the same profession.The fact that we paid 5M for him is even more remarkable and just makes me shudder.

  2. Michael May 24, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    Good assement of the season,but I often wonder how much initial success is down first of all to luck,and then to good investment and managerial stability

    Over the many years I have supported Sunderland I have only be really excited by three managerial appointments.They were McMenemy,McCarthy, and O’Neill and we all know how that all worked out. I did think Keane would have done better.

    My reaction to Peter Ried’s appointment was less than favourable as was my thoughts on his signings of Quinn and Kevin who?….. Oh yes Phillips,……and we all know we’re that went. Best seven years of supporting the lads.

    With regard to PDC ,my initial thoughts were that the owner had lost his marbles, my choice would have been Gus Poyet.

    My points are these

    1. I am not sure what make of PDC .Was it a case of new mangager bounce or was it something more? We shall see. But I would like him to stop providing the press and media with the ammunition to fire back at him or I fear his tenure at SAFC will not be a long one. So PDC please shut up and put up.

    2. Given my reaction to previous managerial appointments it is a good thing that I am not the owner of SAFC or we would probably be in the Northern League by now.

  3. Jeremy May 24, 2013 at 9:02 am #

    “:1. I am not sure what make of PDC .Was it a case of new mangager bounce or was it something more? We shall see. But I would like him to stop providing the press and media with the ammunition to fire back at him or I fear his tenure at SAFC will not be a long one. So PDC please shut up and put up.”

    We might still be saying the same thing about PDC on the day he leaves Micheal! We can’t really tell anything about him yet, apart from the fact that he isn’t going to put up with any nonsense. It may well be a short appointment or it may have a longevity which is rare in managerial circles. It’s going to be interesting to find out.

    For me, what he needs to do is to underline his intentions and position by making a couple of key signings early (and I mean immediately……… immediately in fact that it should be happening at the same time he is lambasting the likes of Bardsley and Kilgallon). He needs to show that he can walk the walk and that would go a long way towards stifling the media’s interest in anything PDC related, very little of which relates directly to football.

    Personally I don’t think that any manager could really be judged on having to manage such a problematic and untalented bunch that he is lumbered with. According the The Mirror, apparently he only wants to keep 11 current players. That’s probably about 6 too many for me.

    • Michael May 24, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

      Cheers Jeremy.

      I suspect he is keeping 11 to make sure he can easily comply with the ‘ home grown’ quota of eight ,as most of our flops are on the home grown variety.

      I am sure his 11 will include Gardner, Catts,Johnson, Wickham, Larsson , O’Shea and Colback. Which means he only needs one more home grown player …Danny Rose I hope.

  4. Jeremy May 24, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    Yes, he’s made it clear that there are a few who will be seeded out immediately, ie as soon as an offer comes in or contract runs out. There’s presumably a second wave of players who he will hold on to for now. Reading between the lines of what he’s beebn saying (and there’s a fair bit to chew on), there are probably no more than 4/5 players in my estimation that he has any real belief or faith in.

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