Sunderland: Are They All That?

“We still need something and I hope our president realises that because you cannot bring that every week”. Frank words as we’ve come to expect from Dick Advocaat following the lads’ first point of the season on Saturday.


He’s right, too. Because, if there are no players en route to improve the side and and we’re now being told these players are incapable of producing lung bursting displays every game, well, you don’t need me to spell it out…


I think that’s what he means by not being able to bring “that” every week.


So, putting the obvious transfer requirements to one side for a minute, let’s take a few moments to consider what does indeed happen when this group of players don’t bring “that” to a game of football?


We lose.


The fans then decide they can’t sit and accept people not trying their hardest while doing something they get paid for, so leave the ground when the third or fourth goes in.


Gary Lineker then reiterates that Sunderland fans are crap.


Is it so bad wanting to see the players bring “that” every week?


It’s not much to ask really. If you’re not going to try your hardest lads, I’m not gonna sit here and watch what happens next. It’s too painful, too upsetting, too infuriating.

You make sure you bloody well do bring “that”. Every week. Bare minimum.


See that lad there, that Danny Graham, bang average footballer him. His touch isn’t good enough and he isn’t quick enough to create chances for himself. He can’t finish like Jermain Defoe – he can’t even finish like Steven Fletcher. Standing ovation yesterday though.

Cos he brought it. His “it” isn’t all that, not at all. But it’s everything he has and he brought it.


You know, I think he’s a Geordie and a Newcastle fan too. Whole ground sang his name though. Funny that – the thought of crap fans doing that. I wonder if Lineker thinks Sunderland fans turned on Steve Bruce cos he’s a geordie.


Some Geordies sit behind me at the Sunderland matches. Canny lads.


Interestingly, when the players did bring “that” yesterday, “the crowd were incredible”. Garry Monk’s words those. If Lineker can ever be arsed to think objectively, instead of reacting like a tabloid headline writer for once, he may conclude Sunderland fans are alright.


I mean, it’s not much to ask lads, is it? Ensuring you bring “that” to a game of football.


See that second ball there, lad? Go and try and win it. See that player making his move towards the goal there, marra? Move your legs and try and track him, try your hardest. This lad’s about to have a shot here, hoy yourself in front of the ball, eh?


We might not be good enough to always win games bringing “that” but fans will be content. We didn’t win yesterday but the fans went home content.


Facetiousness aside, Big Dick is right, of course, and it’s probably not realistic to think the players can run themselves into the ground week in, week out. But Norwich last week was utterly disgusting in terms of player application.


Yesterday’s improved effort yielded a point, meaning we’re probably now two points down from what most outsiders would have had us on by this stage of the season.


Two points is a lot for a side that have struggled like we have.


Advocaat himself has to take some blame for the start we’ve had too, an attempt to play two up front in aid of the Jermain Defoe appeal was disastrous last week.


Trying to have the team adapt to suit Jermain Defoe, rather than have Jermain Defoe adapt to suit the team, cost Gus Poyet his job last season. Dick’s flirted with doing the same and has done well to dismiss it as a possibility from now on.


Anyone watching the game yesterday who’d have never watched Defoe play before, might have suggested he’d have played regularly in that role anyway. He and Lens buzzed around Graham and it left encouraging signs of what we could see if we bring in a good centre forward before next week.


Similarly, Yann M’Vila’s performance in midfield left many hopeful. If an attacking midfielder that improves the side can bring himself to sign for side that plays in a city without an airport, then that midfield suddenly looks very decent.


Jack Rodwell improved almost beyond recognition against Swansea and I’d imagine if he, Cattermole and Larsson were suddenly competing for one place, then we’d unlikely see them strolling about the pitch half-heartedly and refusing to bring “that” ever again.


And that’s a good thing, cos once these players stop bringing “that”, then we all know what happens.


Stephen Goldsmith