Sunderland 10 years ago: Roy Keane - the party's over!

Here's what the Echo was reporting on Sunderland 10 years ago.

Wednesday, 3rd May 2017, 9:43 am


Get focused – or you won’t play on Sunday

ROY KEANE has told the promoted heroes: You’ve had your fun – now the party’s over!

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The Sunderland boss said it was right that his players should be allowed time to enjoy their achievement in lifting the Black Cats back to the Premiership.

But he wants them back in the right frame of mind for Sunday’s title-decider at Luton.

Sunderland have to better the result leaders Birmingham get at Preston to secure the Championship crown.

Keane said: “The players have been letting a bit of steam off.

“I’ve no problems with that. You have to switch off a bit and they’ve had time to do that. Since the turn of the year, every game has almost been a must-win because of our league position.

“They have had a couple of days off. I’ve given the players a chance to freshen up.

“But in the next few days, if they’re not switched back on then they won’t play on Sunday.”

Few would have given Keane’s Sunderland any real hope of promotion when he arrived at a club sitting bottom of the Championship after losing the first four games of the season.

Keane is proud of what his team has achieved, but has never been a man to rest on his laurels with silverware up for grabs this weekend.

He said: “If we win, I’ll enjoy it. We have the chance of winning the Championship.

“It has to be full steam ahead on Sunday. We’re representing Sunderland and we have to go there and give it everything. I’m already focused on Sunday and next season.

“Some people live on their success too long but I’ve told the lads that if they’re not at it in training from now on, they’re not going to Luton.”

Long-term casualty Graham Kavanagh is Sunderland’s only injury absentee for the weekend.


Baggies’ game a shock choice

LEGIONS of fans will be left disappointed by Sky TV’s decision now to screen live the game between Roy Keane’s title-chasing Black Cats and Luton Town on Sunday.

The satellite station will screen tabletoppers Birmingham City’s trip to Preston North End and Wes Brom’s Hawthorns clash with Barnsley as they choose to concentrate on the play-off battle rather than the title chase.

Five teams are going for the three remaining play-off places in one of the closest top-six finishes in the Championship for years.

Derby County, who had the heartbreak of missing out on automatic promotion last weekend, are guaranteed a play-off place, but the other three spots are up for grabs.

West Bromich Albion, Wolves and Southampton currently occupy the remaining slots, but Stoke City and Preston could climb into the play-off zone if results go their way at the weekend.

Sky’s decision is understandable for the play-off chase offers the most scope for drama this Sunday. But Sunderland’s fans will be disappointed.

Their away followings have been massive all season and they could easily have sold 10 times their 1,800 ticket allocation for Kenilworth Road’s 10,260-seat ground.

Supporters who missed out would have hoped they could watch their side live on TV in a game which could see them crowned Championship champions on the day.

But it will have to be back to more traditional methods for liver coverage on the day – Simon Crabtree and Gary Rowell on Metro 1152, Nick Barnes and Gary Bennett on Radio Newcastle.