Friday, 28 April 2017

We Are Wearside says, "I'm looking forward to the Championship"

Rival Lines
Match Preview 
Sunderland v AFCB
Blogger Interview: We Are Wearside
Twitter: @WeAreWearside

I needed to talk to a Sunderland blogger this week, knowing that they would be likely to speak about anything else as long as it was not about football. I needn't have feared as Gary at We Are Wearside was more than happy to open up about the season that the Black Hats have been through and it didn't take us long to see who might have been trying to fool the fans on Wearside, but has come up short. This is a story of a brilliant young keeper, a fabulous strike coming to the need of the game and a manager who made more than one mistake. Sunderland never gave out a vibe of being a club that thought they would not be involved in a relegation battle, and without an Allardyce to save them it's been pretty hard going for their faithful fans.

CC: Do Sunderland need to make yet another change in manager for next season or do you need some stability now with David Moyes?

WAW: One thing that David Moyes does not bring is stability. It's true that the annual sacking of our manager was growing tedious, but we've picked the worst one to back in the long term. Moyes has destroyed all the foundations built by Sam Allardyce towards the end of last season, alienated fans, brought in terrible footballers and is the most negative and dour man I've ever seen at Sunderland. The reputation of bringing stability, getting the best out of squads, doing well on a small budget are all untrue the bloke is a fraud. So definitely another change is required!

CC: You had a good win against AFCB back in November and Anichebe and Defoe, who got the goals that day, looked a good pairing, but why have the goals dried up?

WAW: I think Anichebe's injury was untimely, he really did make a big difference when introduced. We went on a decent run after that victory, winning three of four matches, but managed to make our squad worse during the January transfer window. Then we approached each match with the mentality 'let's not get beat', forgot how to score and now we are where we are.

CC: Did you think Sunderland had turned the corner in February when you had a massive 0-4 win against Crystal Palace?

WAW: It was out of the blue and it did feel like perhaps something had clicked. Turns out it was just a mysterious anomaly.

CC: Jordan Pickford has been a bright star for the Black Cats - would you categories him in the top five Premier League keepers - who is he behind?

WAW: I'm biased of course, but Pickford is more than capable of becoming as good as anyone. The only thing he lacks when compared to the likes of Hugo Lloris is experience - and a good defence. We've seen some excellent goal keepers at Sunderland such as Tommy Sorensen and Craig Gordon, but Pickford is the best goalkeeper I've seen on Wearside. He pulls off some tremendous saves, commands his box, has sublime distribution and despite how terrible Sunderland have played he has the self confidence and presence of mind to maintain excellent performances. He'll move on to something bigger and better in the summer and I'll be really pleased for him when he does.

CC: Whabi Khazri has not played a lot of football this season, but is he one to watch in the future having seen how well he played against Watford?

WAW: I'm not sure there are many ones to watch for us this season and it's pretty much certain Khazri will leave in the summer. Only David Moyes will choose to leave his most creative player on the bench for six months. His first start against Watford and he did more in that time than the likes of Fabio Borini and Adnan Januzaj have done all season. Khazri was excellent last season when he first arrived too.

CC: Which have been the players that Sunderland have missed out on most this season because of injury and would you say the Black Cats have been unlucky n terms of injuries compared to last season?

WAW: We've really missed Jan Kirchhoff, he is a very talented football. Lee Cattermole and Victor Anichebe's lengthy lay offs have also had major impacts. I wouldn't say we've been unlucky though, injury crisis follows Moyes around like a dark shadow. I remember a Dutch fella from the Dutch national team describing his injury management as prehistoric.

CC: How much would you hope to get for Jermain Defoe and do you think it's fair he moves on at the end of the season?

WAW: We'll be getting nothing for Defoe as it's in his contract he can leave on a free when we go down. I really do hope a good club comes in and takes him back into the Premier League for a few years, doesn't deserve to be dragged down with us. Would fit in nicely at Bournemouth.

CC: You had a massive game against Middlesbrough mid-week, but did you see it just as a north east a bragging rights game?

WAW: Not at all, last night was another match of going through the motions. To give you an idea of just how miserable this season has been for Sunderland fans - we really can't even bring ourselves to care about matches anymore. I'd quite happily hand Bournemouth three points, if it means I don't have to drag myself to the Stadium of Light on Saturday!

CC: Sunderland have been in the bottom three all season so will it feel like a relief when this season just comes to an end?

WAW: Absolutely, to the extent I'm looking forward to the Championship! That is as long as Moyes leaves, I truly worry for the future of the club otherwise.

CC: What do you make of Borini's comments after the West Ham draw that togetherness has been a problem at Sunderland - are there many bad eggs in the squad and if so who?

WAW: Ironically I'd say Borini is probably one of them. I'm not sure if the squad is full of bad eggs as such, but it's clear that there is zero team spirit. Many of the players here this year were the same as last, where the team spirit was excellent under Allardyce, so it's just another cross to mark on the blame Moyes chart.

CC: How do you expect to line up against AFCB?

WAW: Pickford, Jones, O'Shea, Denayer, Manquillo, Rodwell, Cattermole, Ndong, Khazri, Anichebe, Defoe, an easy three points for the Cherries and perhaps confirmed relegation for us!

CC: Some good honest views from Gary and We Are Wearside. I am not sure how much the Sunderland board also need to look at themselves for the mess they have landed up in, after all they picked David Moyes. Their ability to pick a better fitting manager may not be anymore likely than me winning the lottery. But it's also about the players and some of them don't escape on We Are Wearside which has some interesting comments on Fabio Borini in the West Ham match report. When they get fed up of blaming each other though, it is the fans that will need to breath life back into their club. We Are Wearside is already puffing its cheeks!

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