There seems nothing out of context about adding a Pete Sixsmith assessment of the season early: Sixer will, as happens every season, round up the Wembley and Safe series once it has run its course. But this is the slot where he tells the readership of Britain’s best newspaper (daily or Sunday), The Observer*, what he has made of what he has seen. His impressions changed towards the end of the season. Imagine what this would have looked like had Pete written it a month ago …

* The season: 8/10

The most exhilarating in the 50 years I have watched Sunderland. A disastrous start, a necessary sacking, a brave appointment, a slow pick up, a great two months, a slump and then a fantastic finish.

We beat Newcastle twice, took four points off Manchester City, won at Old Trafford for the first time since I was at school, smashed Mourinho’s home record and got to a cup final at Wembley. As the Chinese say “May you live in interesting times”. We did.

* The stars

Vito Mannone was exceptional in goal as was Fabio Borini up front. But, when the chips were down, Wes Brown and John O’Shea rose to the challenge. Neither wanted a relegation to blot their career record, and it showed.

* The flops
Most of the players signed by Roberto De Fanti during the summer window. Cabral, Valentin Roberge, Mobido Diakité and Ondrej Celustka made no impression on Wearside. Jozy Altidore looked to improve on his first spell at Hull. He didn’t.

* Transfer targets

Jack Colback, Seb Larsson, Marcos Alonso, Santiago Vergini and Borini would do for starters.

* Best and worst away fans Kidderminster and Carlisle United [were the best]; they brought more than their average home gate. As for the worst – the Geordie Nation were as annoying as ever, as were the all-singing, all-dancing, never-watching Manchester United fans.

* TV montage music for the season’s highlights

The away fans picked up on Things Can Only Get Better by D:Ream. I would have preferred Hallelujah – the Jeff Buckley version, please.

Pete SixsmithSalutSunderland.com

** See what others fans made of their clubs’ Premier season: http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/may/10/premier-league-fans-verdicts-manchester-united-west-ham

Jake is sleeping soundly again

Jake is sleeping soundly again

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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.

One Response to “Wembley and Safe: Observing Sunderland, hailing Kidderminster & Carlisle fans, not Newcastle’s” Subscribe

  1. Drummer May 13, 2014 at 5:59 am #

    Great brief summery there Pete. Can I also add, best piece of transfer business, not selling Cattermole at the eleventh hour to Stoke, he did as much as anyone to keep us up in that incredible month when we were the best team in the league. I’m not blind to he’s faults , but when the chips were not only down but subterranean he drove everyone one . Honourable mention to Wickham also , probably repaid he’s ridiculous transfer fee in four short weeks.

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