In the age of social media it is difficult to get away with anything, whether it’s a questionable status from a night out in 2010 or a prediction that comes back to haunt you years down the line, nobody is safe from retrospective ridicule.
In my case a “images that preceded unfortunate events’ account would have a field day with some of my Facebook posts clamouring for David Moyes everytime we sacked a manager from Roy Keane onwards.
On July, 23rd 2016 I got my wish as we appointed the former Everton gaffer on a four year deal, although the recent departure of Sam Allardyce still left a sour taste in my mouth.
On the same day as Moyes was announced we made the trip to South Yorkshire to take on Rotherham.
I met my friend/designated driver armed with a bag of cans at around 9am and was greeted with a confident declaration that we had a better manager now anyway and Big Sam getting the England job was nothing to worry about…good job he didn’t tweet that.
As we headed towards Rotherham we were all in good spirits talking about continued stability under Moyes and potential signings that would surely see us trouble the top half of the table.
If we just added another dynamic midfielder to partner Yann M’Vila…oh never mind.
We made a tactical error almost as glaring as David Moyes’ decision to end a Premier League fixture with Billy Jones in the middle of the park, by choosing to take our chances in Rotherham town centre rather than drinking in Sheffield before making the short trip over to The New York Stadium.
A further error was made when we decided to take our chances in a Wetherspoons near the ground.
The obvious upside to this was that the beer was cheap and the Sunderland fans inside were in full voice with one particularly well oiled gentleman correctly observing, ‘we’re down here for pints, them mag bastards have to come here for points this season!’
Inside the ground, the fans continued to make a good amount of noise for a friendly, with many loud renditions of ‘Davey Moyes Red and White Army’ coming from the away end, although thankfully, repeated attempts by some lads from the Chester branch to get a chant of ‘Davey Moyes, Davey Moyes, come on caress my body yeah’ didn’t spread very far.
On the pitch, the lads fielded a typical pre-season mix of youth and experience, although one name of the team sheet raised a few eyebrows.
Charles N’Zogbia, who had been linked with the club for many years, was on trial and had already made an appearance in the previous week’s clash with Hartlepool United, but more about him later.
The lads took the lead midway through the first half when Fabio Borini’s shot from just outside the box crept in the bottom corner to score the first goal of the Moyes era.
We controlled the rest of the half and deservedly led at the break, but just minutes into the second half, Jerry Yates equalised for the hosts.
The rest of the game was played at quite a mellow pace, but with around ten minutes left the man, the myth, the legend, Charles N’Zogbia pinged the ball home to seal a win for the visitors.
After the full-time whistle David Moyes came over to accept the applause from the travelling fans and was given a hero’s welcome.
This was perhaps the most united the club felt throughout his entire reign, which just about says it all.
N’Zogbia never did sign for Sunderland, presumably because he never played for Everton or Manchester United and we wanted to make space in the squad for the youthful exuberance of Stephen Pienaar.
Six years on and we find ourselves playing Rotherham for vital League One points.