Wise Men Say: Sunderland are in a better position than previous years



I remember during the 15-point season, in a game against West Bromwich Albion, it looked likely we’d secure our first home in of the season.

However, in the last minute Zoltan Gera headed an equaliser. I was devastated.

It was at that moment I thought we might never record a home victory in that awful campaign.

The only thing that has come close to that feeling in recent times was the recent league cup final defeat and the Halloween horror show at St James’s Park.

That was until yesterday. At least the reasons were different though.

We’d played very well at St Mary’s on Saturday and when Jermain Defoe gave us the lead we’d thoroughly deserved it.

I don’t have a problem with Sam’s changes. Any side should be able to see out eight minutes of a football match to secure a victory and we didn’t do it.

John O’Shea, a late substitute, was at fault. The Irishman contorted behind Virgil Van Dijk, a man continually linked with Sunderland in the last two years, slammed home the equaliser with the last kick of the game.

It was another odd moment in a strange season.

After years of toiling in winter transfer windows, it looks like we finally had a good one.

We look to have the right manager, and actual manager, rather than the head coach role many wanted to jettison.

We’re one point above the drop with a superior goal difference with nine games to go, a better position than we’ve been in than in recent escapes.

Usually, we’re the ones to change managers a fortnight before the derby, yet it looks likely our neighbours will dispatch the hapless Steve McClaren in comparative circumstances.

It just doesn’t add up.

If this is the season that sees us relegated then it’ll be from the best position during a relegation battle we’ve been in in recent times.

It would be typical Sunderland. It scares me.

On the other hand, I actually think we’re quite good. Of the teams at the bottom, we look the best side.

We’re organised and dangerous going forward. It’s just a shame we can’t keep those clean sheets.

Even Vito Mannone showed some of the form that made him a fans favourite two years ago on Saturday, but not even he could stop that last minute sickener.

Now we go into a spell of one game in 28 days. A ludicrous situation considering the Christmas period.

I’d rather have had the Everton game and kept some form of momentum going before the derby.

Norwich will play twice before then and if we can get to the Newcastle encounter and still remain outside the bottom three then it’ll be a bonus. A chance to pull away.

It promises to be a nail-biting end to the season and it’s even worse when we’re not playing.

Having said that, given the magnitude of the fixture, I’ll have bitten them down to their stumps come the final whistle a week Sunday, and I know I won’t be the only one. Fingers crossed.