Spyin' Kop: Sunderland preview

Posted by Mummy Spartacus (Mrs) on August 19, 2005, 09:44:11 PM

The start of the Reds' home League campaign sees the return of Spyin' Kop. A little late, but unfortunately Armin was away and everyone else forgot! Thanks to Ian Hamilton of onesunderland.com for helping us out with the Sunderland view of the game ahead.

On with the questions...

RAWK: Congratulations on promotion.  Your side seems unrecognisable to the one we knew.  What's changed?

In short, we've gotten rid of the dead wood, and replaced them with players who actually care about this club. Under Peter Reid/Howard Wilkinson, we had far too many players who were content to simply pick up their pay cheque, and didn't give a damn about what happened to the club. Mick McCarthy didn't have a cat in hell's chance of keeping us up when he first came here - something we all knew - but he's done a great job of reshaping our squad on a budget, even if it has meant that we've lost certain players (like Phillips and Craddock) who we'd rather have kept.

RAWK: What are your expectations for this season?

Simply put: survival. We're not asking for much - just something that every promoted club wants. In 12 months time, if we're looking forward to a league game at Anfield rather than Gresty Road, then we'll be over the moon.

RAWK: Who do you think are your most important player(s)?

Julio Arca, without a doubt, is the best player in the squad, and a lot is going to be expected of him in the Premiership this season. Elsewhere, we've got several players who are consistent and get the job done without being too flashy. Dean Whitehead was impressive last season after making the step up from Oxford, and he was good in the game against Charlton last weekend.

RAWK: Your worst player(s)?

I would have said Jeff Whitley, but we sold him during the summer, and it's far too early in the season to be criticising any of the new players.

RAWK: Do you have a particular memory of any previous meeting between Sunderland and Liverpool?  Perhaps something that happened to you that day or a decision you disagreed with?

You might want to edit this. Gary ****ing McAllister diving and winning a ****ing penalty at the Stadium of Light against us a few years ago, which denied us the winner (about four years ago).

RAWK: Any young up and coming players in the squad that we might not know about?

In pre-season, we tried out young defenders Ben Christensen and Dan Smith - the latter of which is one to watch for the future, but right now, I wouldn't expect any unknown youngsters to make the team in the Premiership.

RAWK: What sort of line-up will  Mick McCarthy put out against us?

Obviously, TLT (Le Tallec) won't be involved, which is a moot point really, since he wasn't in our first squad this season. Our defeat to Charlton might change things (especially in our lacking-in-pace defence), but I'd guess we'd be using a 4-5-1 formation, with Jon Stead up front by himself. Injuries are also restricting our selection, but I'd look for:

Davis; Wright, Arca, Breen, Caldwell, Lawrence, Welsh, Whitehead, Miller, Robinson; Stead.

RAWK: Do you have a favourite/best chant(s) and perhaps any that require an explanation?

I think all of our chants are self explanatory - but one of the favourite chants right now has to be our cover of Spandau Ballet's "Gold", which goes a little like this.

"Juli-oh, oh! Always believe in your soul, you're indestructible (oh), always believe in, Juli-oh! Oh!"

RAWK: Where do you expect Sunderland and Liverpool to finish in the Premier League?

Liverpool: probably 4th. Sunderland: we don't expect anything, but we're hoping it's better than 17th.

RAWK: Which Liverpool player will you fear the most?

Anyone who has pace! Obviously, your front pairing of Morientes and Cisse will give us one hell of a task, but there's no easy games in the Premiership. Of course, you've also got Steven Gerrard, while I reckon Riise is another player to keep an eye on.

RAWK: You may have noticed we won a big shiny cup in the Summer, would putting one over on the European Champions make a result at Anfield extra special or does it make no difference?

Any trip to Anfield is special, but I'd guess that being European Champions would just make Liverpool an even bigger scalp to take. That'll be the case for a lot of clubs this season.

RAWK: Care to predict the score?

I'm horrible at these things, and anything that isn't a cricket score would be good for us. A draw would probably be pushing things, but I'd say you'll end up nicking it 2-1.

Thanks once again to Ian Hamilton for all his help. Further views from Ian and the Sunderland fans visiting us on Saturday can be found at:

http://www.onesunderland.com and http://www.ftmforum.com/

© Armin 2005

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