SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Stay positive, bookies back Black Cats

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Here’s what the Echo was reporting on SAFC 10 years ago today.

STAY POSITIVE!:

Attacking policy is key to going up – Whitehead

CHAMPIONSHIP leaders Sunderland will continue to go for the jugular.

 Skipper Dean Whitehead says the best way of defending their position at the top of the league is for the Black Cats to continue playing to their strengths – and that’s going forward.

 The midfielder was rested for Monday’s 2-1 win at Southampton, but came off the bench to help inspire a come-from-behind victory that took Sunderland to the summit as main challengers Derby and Birmingham faltered.

 Whitehead said: “We have a lot of pace in the side now and the best form of defence for us will be attack.

 “We’ve looked very good going forward during this run and we’ll keep doing that now we’re in the automatic promotion places.

 “I don’t think we’re anxious or nervous about these last few games.

 “We’re just looking forward to every match because when you’re on a decent run you want the games to come round quickly.

 “We’ve gradually closed the gaps between ourselves and the sides that had a better start to the season and now we’re in a good position.

 “It was good to see other results go for us (over Easter) but there are still points to play for so the job is not done.”

 Whitehead was part of Sunderland’s 2005 Championship-winning side.

 That was in his debut season on Wearside after a bargain £325,000 move from Oxford United.

 He and everyone connected with that success is rightfully proud of the achievement under Mick McCarthy.

 But he reckons the 2007 Sunderland vintage is more pleasant on the eye.

 He added: “If you win the league, you’re a good side and you can’t take anything away from us after we did that a couple of seasons ago.

 “I think we’re a more entertaining team now then when we won it last time.

 “We have more pace and more goals in the team, and that’s what has given us a right good chance. We’re a more attacking side.

BOOKIES PUT THEIR SHIRTS ON SUNDERLAND:

IRISH bookmakers Boylesports are Sunderland’s new sponsors, it was announced today.

 The form succeeds Reg Vardy as club sponsor, the agreement with the car dealer being ended a year early.

 Black Cats’ chairman Niall Quinn said Boylesports had become the latest backer to take “a leap of faith” by putting its money on the Wearsiders. Sunderland recently announced that Umbro would be the club’s new kit supplier.

 Exact figures have not been revealed but a club statement said the new sponsors “will commit a significant investment” during the four-year deal from next season.

 Established is 1989 by John Boyle, Boylesports is Ireland’s largest independent bookmaker and the major sponsor of high profile horse racing events including the Boylesports.com International at Cheltenham, which is the second richest hurdle race in the world after the Champion Hurdle.

 Boylesports will be Sunderland’s official betting and gaming partner, providing betting facilities at the Stadium of Light on match day as well as via the club’s official website www.safc.com

 Quinn said: “We are all absolutely thrilled to be joining forces with Boylesports Bookmakers to drive the club forward in the next four years, which we think will be exciting times.”