soccernet blog
July 26, 2011
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 07/26/2011

Sunderland fans have a proud history, with 6 League Championships and 2 FA Cup wins behind us, maybe a bit too far behind us…but we also have a sense of humour! The “With all due respect to Wigan” line from my last entry came from a Monday Night Club discussion on Radio 5 Live and I for one found it quite humorous. And for all that Sunderland fans have had to endure at times, especially in terms of winless runs, we need a sense of humour! We like to joke with away fans, and when we travel to grounds that have limited capacity, the old “My Garden Shed” song comes out: “My garden shed, my garden shed, my garden shed, my garden shed, my garden shed is bigger than this, it's got a door and a window, my garden shed is bigger than this!” That song is sung as a joke, it is football banter, not to be taken literally and just like my last blog, it should be taken with a pinch of salt!

July 21, 2011
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 07/21/2011

How do we assess Sunderland’s new signings? Friendly games are always a poor guide, they are more about giving everyone a run-out, so it is all down to how the squad performs in the early part of the season. In the case of the Black Cats it is all about how the multitude of new signings gel together as a team and despite the club touring Germany and having had a run-out at York, it is the next serious game, which happens to be at Anfield, that really counts.

July 9, 2011
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 07/09/2011

Sunderland fans had to endure hard times in February and March when we had a whole team out with injury. In late April we eventually won 4-2 against Wigan without a recognized striker, and as a squad member, if you could walk and had a pulse, you were in the team!

Players like Gordon, Onuoha, Bramble, Turner, Meyler, Cattermole, Richardson, Campbell, Welbeck and Gyan were just not available, and we had a hideous 9-match winless winter run, comprising 8 defeats, which took us from 6th spot on January 22 after winning at Blackpool to the fringe of the relegation zone in mid-April. Then 3 wins out of the last 5 games provided an eventually respectable 10th place finish on 47 points in the Premiership, but the club management planned an internal inquiry to find out:

1. How these winless runs can be stopped (we had a barren15 game run in 2009-10!)
2. Why we had so many injuries
3. How we had such contrasting first and second halves of the season

July 6, 2011
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 07/06/2011

The Black Cats must be the busiest club in the country in terms of recent transfers. So far the summer break has provided some dynamic signings by the management team at Sunderland Football Club. Again, we look like a very well-run club, determined to make long-term plans for Premiership progress after a series of decisive moves to bring quality players to Wearside. Signings confirmed so far include:
Sebastian Larsson (26) and Craig Gardner (24) (midfield – Birmingham)
Connor Wickham (18) (striker - Ipswich Town)
Roarie Deacon (18) (striker – Arsenal)
Ji-Dong Won (20) (striker - Chunnam Dragons, S. Korea)
Keiren Westwood (26) (goalkeeper - Coventry City)

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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