Here’s what the Echo was reporting on SAFC 10 years ago.
DWIGHT: NOW TURN UP HEAT:
Yorke guns for Preston in promotion hunt.
Sunderland’s Boxing Day over Leeds will turn up the heat on second-placed Preston, says Dwight Yorke.
The Lancashire outfit visit Wearside on Saturday sitting only seven points ahead of the Black Cats after losing 4-2 at West Bromich Albion yesterday.
Roy Keane’s men remain 11th, three points short of the play-offs, after yesterday’s 2-0 home triumph over struggling Leeds.
And Yorke insists his side is chasing an automatic promotion slot, not just the play-offs.
He said: “That was a vital result for us and now we have a really big test against Preston.
“They gave us a tonking at their place earlier this season and they’ll come here knowing they are in for a difficult game.
“We have a score to settle with them (Sunderland having crashed 4-1 at Deepdale two months ago). There is a lot of football left to play this season and if we look after our own house then it’s all still there for us to fight for and we need to put another run of results together to get ourselves up there.
“Preston are second in the league on merit, but these are the games we have to win if we’re going to catch the top two.”
Yorke unlocked a stubborn Leeds defence to create David Connolly’s 64th-minute opener at the Stadium of Light yesterday as Sunderland bounced back positively from last week’s loss at Crystal Palace.
It was only his second start in the last six games and the 35-year-old said: “Even now in my career, I want to play every game.
“When I’ve been left out of the team I’ve gone to speak to the manager because I feel I still have a lot to give.
“He hasn’t seen it that way and says my performances have not been up to scratch.
“I have to take than on the chin, but it is frustrating for any player who is not in the side, and I’m no different.”
But he got 90 minutes under his belt against Leeds, who held out for more than an hour before Sunderland’s superiority was rewarded with goals from Connolly and in-form midfielder Grant Leadbitter.
Yorke said: “You never lose the desire to score goals, but my role was to try to create more and I get a lot of pleasure from seeing the younger guys get the goals.
“Leeds made it hard for us but we had a chat at half-time and the manager said that if we were patient and kept moving the ball quickly, we’d wear them down and that’s exactly what happened.”
PRESSURE PROVES TOO MUCH FOR PETTY POYET:
The strangulating pressures of football management were perfectly illustrated yesterday when Gus Poyet was ordered to the stands for one of the most petulant actions you’re ever likely to see in football.
Incensed, late in the match by a halt being called to a Leeds attack because a second ball had been thrown on to the pitch, United’s assistant boss gathered another ball and waited until Sunderland next threatened before throwing it on to the pitch himself.
It was a calculated and cynical attempt to stop the match, as well as a feeble effort to make a point and referee Graham Salisbury was right to instantly order him from the dugout and down to the tunnel.
“The ref didn’t see what Gus did initially and as it turned out, the way the game went, Sunderland almost scored from the move,” smiled Dennis Wise afterwards, but that did not obscure how disgraceful the Uruguayan’s actions had been.
This was exactly the sort of madness people expected, almost predicted, from Roy Keane when he was appointed to the Sunderland job.
The driven, combustible Manchester United legend must surely explode within a few hours of watching his players fail to perform to his own rarified standards, it was argued.
Instead Keane has been a model of public restraint and showed yesterday, by sidestepping the Poyet incident, how subtly diplomatic he has already become: “I didn’t see the incident,” he shrugged, in full-on Arsene Wenger mode and refused to be drawn further.
The Echo understands that Poyet apologised to the referee immediately after the game, but whether that will save him from stiff and merited punishment remains to be seen.
In the meantime, his boss, Dennis Wise, tried to pour oil on troubled waters.
“Gus was frustrated by the fact that we were about to cross when another ball came on the pitch,” he explained.
“The multi-ball system around the pitch is supposed to be there to keep the game flowing by getting balls to players quickly, but the reality is that it is there for the home team.
“I think the system need to be scrapped – it’s rubbish. “Multi-balls go out of the window when the home team goes a goal up – as soon as that happens, the multi-balls dry up.
“We lost a great opportunity when Eddie Lewis was penalised just as he was about to cross because another ball had come on the pitch and Gus was frustrated by that.”
Wise’s argument about the multi-ball system was not a bad one, but it lot a little credibility through the fact the reason why a second ball was on the pitch was because fans had held on to the original ball and thrown it back when play restarted.
And his case was hugely undermined by the fact his assistant had been so crass by way of making a point.
The bottom line in this particular incident was not the ball-supplying system, or even Poyet’s influence in the game, but an intriguing insight into the agonies that great footballers like Roy Keane, Dennis Wise or Guy Poyet must necessarily endure on the touchlines, as they watch lesser footballers fail to execute competently what cam naturally to them in their own playing days.
Keane and Wise, to their credit, have so far coped with that most difficult of mental challenges.
Yesterday, Poyet, embarrassingly – and to his shame – did not.