David Preece: Sunderland's Lamine Kone is the new John Kay!

After another excellent - yet ultimately not fully rewarded performance - I get the feeling Sunderland just can't get relegated. And that's what worries me most.

Thursday, 7th April 2016, 1:00 pm
Lamine Kone

In previous seasons, the odds have been stacked against the side, statistically and from performances on the pitch, but this side is playing as well as any side and as a friend said to me after last week’s game against West Brom: ‘That’s the best performance I’ve seen at the Stadium of Light since Quinny and Kevin Phillips were playing’. High praise indeed.

I’ve said in the past, pre-Kone and Kirchhoff, that the squad needed an overhaul and relegation might be the chance to rebuild from the ground up but foolishly I’m starting to think we deserve to stay up and there’s no way we can go down playing this well. I know. Silly, silly me.

And even if we do pull it off again, then the worry begins all over again. This is probably a confession I should keep to myself and not one I should make in a paper with circulation of this one. I love Lamine Kone. I love him as much as is healthy for a straight man of my age.

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Usually cult figures are formed from their deficiencies or foibles. The erratic challenges that lead to suspension after suspension for Lee Cattermole in the past are part of the committed character that has endeared him to many and often overshadowed the footballer that lay underneath the perception.

In a similar but more lovable vein, John Kay’s unhinged on-pitch persona was as much the key to his popularity as his actual performances and he’s the last player who I warmed to as much as Kone.

Kaysey was actually mad though. Not mad in a psychotic way, he was just like an elderly eccentric grandmother.

One is a little different, his personality and ability shine above any negatives he has, if any, but the extra worry now comes from the prying eyes that Kone is no doubt attracting because if we can keep him at the Stadium of Light, we could have the next real hero for us all to worship and build future sides around.