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September 30, 2011
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 09/30/2011

So a thoroughly miserable week for Sunderland fans, a poor performance in the defeat at Norwich on Monday night, where the stars we signed over the summer underperformed, and then the team received news of further disruption, with the suspension of centre-back, Titus Bramble. The reliable defender, one of the club’s most consistent performers last season, has been suspended while sex assault and drug possession allegations are investigated, following a night out in Yarm, Teeside. The club released the following statement: “Sunderland AFC has confirmed that Titus Bramble has been suspended from duties pending the outcome of a club investigation. The player will not attend team training or be available for selection for matches during this period.”

September 26, 2011
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 09/26/2011

For my background on Steve Bruce and Man. Utd., I have read both Roy Keane’s autobiography and the excellent book “The Boss” about Alex Ferguson. It is clear in those books that Steve Bruce and some of the other senior players were the “untouchables” at Man. Yoo, they were allowed to get away with a lot in terms of “bonding” sessions, which invariably revolved around alcohol.

The England rugby squad may have been criticised for a some of their night outs in New Zealand, but Steve Bruce obviously feels that these old-fashioned bonding sessions still have a useful part to play in professional sport. Sunderland signed 11 new players over the summer and the manager probably felt that they needed the sort of night out he enjoyed when he was captain at Manchester United almost 20 years ago.

September 20, 2011
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 09/20/2011

To be honest, I do not think anyone but me was expecting that performance! I was looking for a morale-boosting win for Sunderland, and dared to hope for a first clean sheet at the Stadium of Light for 10 games. What we got was an amazing performance from start to finish. The Cats dominated the game, were pacy and inventive in midfield as well as up front, and the defence was totally solid.

September 17, 2011
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 09/17/2011

This weekend, Sunderland need to get back to the script; enough of egos and the future of star strikers, and back to playing good attacking football, beating down the opposition at the Stadium of Light and keeping the fans happy.

There is no way a team with all the talent at Sunderland’s disposal will struggle if we stay clear of injuries, keep a stable defensive line-up and start scoring goals again. I would like to see Michael Turner returning, his heading power will be great agains the Potters. Steve Bruce has suggested that our £8M summer signing Connor Wickham will be given a chance alongside Bendtner. At 6ft 3in, Wickham has the height and the physique to compete with Stoke’s tall players, and the former Ipswich man playing alongside 6ft 5in Bendtner would provide a real aerial threat for the home side in this game.

September 15, 2011
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 09/15/2011

In a statement on Sunderland Football club's official website, Quinn said: "From the moment Asamoah returned for pre-season training we could tell that there were people trying to move him on. We hoped it would pass by, rebuking approaches from the Premier League, France and Turkey and felt the player would settle back down and continue to help our cause".

Posted by Lars Knutsen on 09/15/2011

So long-suffering Sunderland fans have had to accept the loss of another striker. As if the departure of Darren Bent in January was not hard enough to take. All those break-up songs cannot hide the sense of betrayal.

We get used to these stars, believing naively that pulling on a Sunderland shirt, playing well, leading the line and scoring goals, means as much to them as it would do to us. I was in shock after reflecting on the defeat to Chelsea at the weekend, when our youngest son said Gyan had gone out on loan. The Daily Telegraph interprets this as a betrayal and I quote some of Luke Edwards’ excellent article below. But look a bit deeper and there may be more going on.

September 10, 2011
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 09/10/2011

The Black Cats’ last game yielded a point at newly-promoted Swansea with the home team still full of beans after their promotion, and that was not a bad result on the face of it. That is the headline view, but what was going on behind the scenes?

I felt Asamoah Gyan looking a bit selfish at times when approaching goal, was he a bit too desperate to get on the score sheet? This was especially towards the end of the game when Connor Wickham would surely have converted from a simple sideways pass when Gyan decided to shoot on goal himself. He has looked this season as if he has other things on his mind, despite all his utterances to the contrary. It must be unsettling when top clubs show interest, but this is the name of the game for a successful footballer in the world's top league.

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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