soccernet blog
April 30, 2010
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 04/30/2010

Some say that mid-table obscurity is what a team has if there is nothing to play for at the end of the season. Well, I am happy to swap the “excitement” of the last 2 seasons, both spent flirting with relegation, with what has ended up with comfortable mid-table position in the best league in the world. We can still make 9th by catching this season’s surprise package Birmngham City.

That dire 14 game winter winless run showed that Sunderland, despite record transfer spending, could still fall foul to injuries and low morale. Playing 17 different back fours in a season tells its own story, but on the bright side, having up to 9 players out for some of those games at least gave an opportunity for Henderson and Meyler to shine, and show that Bruce is planning for the future. Great news that both these young lads have signed 5-year contracts!

This week the Black Cats have loaned out Marton Fulop to Man City, to help with their keeper crisis, after Shay Given was seriously injured at Arsenal last Sunday. That shows what a fair and decent manager Steve Bruce is. Most ex-Man. Utd. players would not even breathe in the direction of Man. City (with the notable exceptions of Denis Law and Carlos Tevez!). Ironically, Given showed what a great keeper he was when on loan with Sunderland from Blackburn in 1996 under Peter Reid.

This week also saw Darren Bent crowned the fans’ Player of the Year – so well deserved for an incredible season of sharp and consistent finishing – the guy is a legend already, and only 26! He can now look back at that Spurs Twitter and Rednapp’s insults with an ironic laugh.

I will preview Sunday’s sure sell-out against Man. United in my next blog, and given Sunderland’s record against the top teams at the SSOL this season, an upset may well be on the cards.

©Lars J.S. Knutsen

Lars Knutsen Lars Knutsen was born in Sunderland of Norwegian parents across the Wear from the SSOL back when shipbuilding not car manufacture was the city’s main industry. His first game was in 1968 and he has followed the Black Cats since then, with great memories of the 1973 FA Cup. He hopes the “yo-yo” days are over and defines supporting a team by whether the result affects your mood (but maybe not in the way portrayed in the book “Fever Pitch”!) so has been cheerful recently. He endured school in Newc**tle, has a Ph.D. in Chemistry, a Professorship at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, and works in the Pharma industry as a consultant Medicinal Chemist.

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