Sunderland avoiding successive relegations is as plausible as Rentaghost

Five days ago Sunderland were bottom of the league. Now they're second bottom. What more do you want?

Wednesday, 4th April 2018, 7:25 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th April 2018, 7:31 pm
Sunderland winger Aiden McGeady.

Quite a bit I should imagine.

The win at Derby County seems longer ago than just five days. Indeed, when John O’Shea scored the last goal at Pride Park The Generation Game was still fondly remembered.

SAFC coverage in association with John Hogg

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No one assumed anything after Friday. Not least because a jittery Derby turned in what was probably the worst 90 minutes any side has played against Sunderland this season.

That doesn’t mean it wasn’t there to be enjoyed. How many times this season have we said post-match: “Well they <insert name of virtually any opposition> were rubbish. But Sunderland were worse.”?

It was a pleasant reverse of the norm and the result restored hope. Slightly. And fleetingly as it turned out.

An unremarkable, but relaxed Sheffield Wednesday, free of the tension of having anything to play for, took advantage of the home side’s and the referee’s mistakes, taking three points that they neither needed nor really merited.

SAFC coverage in association with John Hogg

To their credit, Sunderland went for it, and although their play was flawed, it was also spirited. Their mistakes were made in honesty; unlike in certain other fixtures when not every player has given their all – a form of dishonesty.

We can look at the Sheffield Wednesday game in isolation and reasonably conclude that it was just one of those days. After all, Sunderland weren’t hugely better at Derby.

Alas, being one of those days was neither here nor there. Results are all that matter now. It’s far too late to “take away the positives from this defeat”, because there aren’t any.

So what now? Avoiding relegation looks about as plausible as Rentaghost.

All Coleman’s men can do is try again amid the squalor of Elland Road on Saturday.

Sunderland beat Derby who, according to the league table, are comfortably superior to Leeds.

We’ve said it a few times before, but if all you can do is clutch straws, then you may as well clutch them. Some types of straw possess surprising tensile strength.

I shall now end the motif. I’m clutching straws about clutching at straws now.


BBC journalist and broadcaster and playwright Jeff Brown appears to have spotted a gap in the market for the provision of merriment and entertainment to Sunderland supporters.

Admittedly it wasn’t a difficult gap to spot. Filling it is a different matter. But Brown has succeeded by writing his play Cornered.

Apart from being a very amusing and poignant production, it provides historical interest too as it concerns a time when footballers were generally imbued with humility and a grasp of reality.

Trust us kids. It happened.

The play is concerned with the lot of former Sunderland defender David Corner, whose life defining moment came aged just 18, when he failed to clear the ball that led to Norwich City scoring the only goal of the game.

The incident would have been long forgotten – had it not been the 1985 League Cup final. Now 33 years and 11 days later, barely a day goes by without someone mentioning the error to Corner.

Such were the times, he later became a policeman, whereas a comparable career in football today would probably make a player a millionaire.

Cornered garnered glowing reviews when it toured last year.

There will be “replays” on April 12-14, 7.45pm, at The Peacock, High Street West. A half-time pie and peas supper is included with the tickets, £20 from

Mr Corner might be there in person. If so, try not to mention you-know-what.