Given Friday’s events in Dubai, I’m glad we’re finally looking towards a weekend of league action for Sunderland again.
Don’t you think it’s a little strange to say that?
The World Cup seems to have only just begun, but the Lads will be back at the Stadium of Light in the Championship on Saturday dinnertime.
I know a lot of people, like myself, said before the tournament started that we weren’t really looking forward to it, but I imagine the constant bombardment of football we’ve had over the last week has probably changed that a bit.
Even for the biggest cynic, it is almost impossible to ignore what is happening in Qatar. Reports from fans there say that the atmosphere is generally decent, that it’s still pretty easy to get a drink, and that everyone gets along, and while I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, I didn’t expect it to. it’s going as well as it has.
Sports wash, huh?
I’ve kept half an eye on the action – having to work when most games are on means I haven’t sat down and watched every minute of every game, but being able to support our Jew and watch England has been nifty . … but none of that is the same as watching Sunderland.
Friday’s game in Dubai has been described by some fans as the strangest Sunderland game they’ve ever seen, and whether it was a dodgy cameraman or the fact that our owners entered the pitch to enter a slight skirmish, there was much to do. where, although it was not easy to follow.
In a way, I’m glad it was a crap show. I love my club and will defend it sometimes when it’s almost impossible to defend it, but even I couldn’t really understand the decision to send the entire squad to Dubai and then play a Saudi Arabian team.
I know some reading this will think “Who honestly cares?” – There was definitely a fair amount of fans on social media that I could see feeling that way, but there are a lot of people who care, and I think it’s for good reason.
While having absolutely anything to do with Saudi Arabian football is obnoxious enough, I’m not really sure what message it sends when you spend a fortune sending the team to one of the most expensive cities in the world while preaching that . the club must remain sustainable in order to function.
Couldn’t we have gone somewhere closer to home, somewhere cheaper, and played at a non-controversial club?
These little things matter whether you think people get mad or not, the truth is I don’t understand the point of the trip. The fact that we are still talking about this says it all about whether or not they should have gone.
The visuals in the game itself were terrible.
Grainy, poorly lit and hard to follow – some have speculated that it was shot with an iPhone, but I was thinking more of a Nokia 3310. Whatever the case, it certainly wasn’t what you’d expect when paid for 7, £50. to look at it
The cameraman whose job it was to follow the action was hopeless and it was so bad that the commentators – Danny Collins and Frankie Francis – just ended up talking about other things besides the game, repeatedly apologizing for the absolute state of the same and they recognized. which is not what you expect when you pay good money for something. Kick them out for being honest and remaining professional because they had a nearly impossible job trying to call the action of a game they couldn’t see half the time.
Then there was the scrap that almost canceled the game. He had been building up as the Saudi side chased away clumps of Sunderland players, but a header that fell to Lynden Gooch saw him throw at least two punches that appeared to land, then unleashed the whole hell Everyone on the side of the pitch piled in to try and calm things down, including Kyril Louis-Dreyfus and Juan Sartori.
And to top it all off, it looks like Alex Neil was on the sidelines watching the game.
It was a really strange and embarrassing occasion and I imagine the club will be ready to move on. As PR exercises go, flying for an all-expenses-paid stay in Dubai (welcoming the Saudi opposition and charging fans to watch live footage) during a cost-of-living crisis it should be considered a failure.
But that was last week and we have to move forward, starting today.
The team returned to the UK this weekend and now have five days to prepare for their return to league action against a Millwall side who have had a strong start to the season and currently sit sixth in the table, four points ahead. Sunderland.
For me, this is where the second half of the season starts and now we have to start demanding more from certain players.
The guys coming back from injury are sure to make an impact, and being able to call on Ross Stewart, Aji Alese and Dan Ballard will have a big influence on how things go from there.
Similarly, the lads we signed at the end of August have had a lot of time to sleep and now they have to show their true ability. Edouard Michut, Abdoullah Ba and Jewison Bennette (once his World Cup dream is over) must now prove themselves as worthy starters in a team that will be hard to break into, but if they stick together and work hard, it’s inevitable that they will come good.
We’ve had a good start to the season, and many of the excuses for why certain results haven’t worked out have been valid, but with a strong squad we should be looking to win more games and move up the table. playoff positions in our sights.
The season won’t be defined by how we fare against Millwall, but using the fact that no one else is playing next Saturday to our advantage could be huge. Three points and a win would be huge for our chances to get going, and I just hope that all the time, money and effort that went into getting the Lads fit in Dubai has paid off.
Time will tell.
PS: Look out for the return of the RR Sunderland Community Kitchen Christmas fundraiser when we launch it on Thursday; we’ve already recorded a podcast with Sunderland’s Guardian Angel Andrea Bell, which is expected to be out on launch day. . We will need everyone’s help to get fundraising up and running this month, so please, please, do your part if you can. It will mean the world!