Spyin' Kop: LFC v Sunderland

Posted by Hinesy on January 31, 2008, 02:09:11 PM

"Strange how in a normal season, we only really relax in between games, but this season, the only time we know Rafa won't get dumped, or the baliff's come calling is during a game."

Actually I wrote that before we played West Ham, who knows what will have happened by the time Gordon Alexander has read out the results on Saturday tea time, we could have Jurgen Klinsmann as the new goal keeping coach and we'd be owned by the Disney corporation. Well it 'dis ney' look bright for the mighty reds just now, having drawn more games than the Trevor Brooking on FA Cup 3rd Round Weekend and our frustration divided between the yanks off the field and the wanks at Anfield not pulling their weight.

So onto the visit of the team in red and white from the other side of England. Usually their goalie has the game of their career and saves everything, but I expect us to get 3 points. But i'd have said that about West Ham. Or Villa, or MiddleofthetableBorough.
Not that the title is attainable but we should be progressing not regressing. Here's hoping.

Sunderland have under Keane gone from extreme to extreme. Beating teams 3-0 easily, to losing 4734 games on the trot. Who knows if they'll stay up, or not, but frankly I prefer them to Newcastle, and though I can't stand Keane, they are a thousand times more interesting than Middlesnorers..


Major Honours
Top Flight Champions:
1892 1893 1895 1902 1913 1936

FA Cups:
1937 1973

Championship/Division One Winners:
1976 1996 1999 2005 2007

Nobel Peace Prize for bringing Irish footballers back together again:
Most recent years frankly.

Big thanks to tadge and Kelly for answering honestly, speedily and no, they couldn't refuse as they are family. Tough. I am waiting for a few more replies and they'll be added as soon as they arrive. Many many thanks to the guys at www.readytogo.net for their answers. The thread for all of them is here: http://readytogo.net/smb/showthread.php?p=4637245

and also to James Anderson at a love supreme : http://www.a-love-supreme.com/ for his thoughtful insights which came in Thursday night at 9:31 and have just been added.

1.How's the season going so far - are you where you expected to be right now or did you expect Roy to keep you higher up the table?

Kelly: The season is going pretty much as I expected - struggling for goals and making simple defensive mistakes - having said that, we're not doing a Derby and we have already exceeded our 15 and 19 point seasons so we can't beat our own record(s) again!!  Football wise, it's not pretty but it's not disgustingly awful either and we do work hard as a team, something you expect from a Keane managed team

tadge: Nah, to be honest I expected a bit better of us this time around, even though the signings over the summer weren't jaw dropping. The self belief seemed to be there after a magnificent 'turn around' season in the Championship, but the gulf between the two leagues is quite apparent now

James A: It’s going OK at the minute. Tuesdays win over Birmingham has helped raise the confidence amongst the fans and if we can grind out similar victories then we should be fine. Our lack of points away from home is a major concern though but thankfully our performances at the Stadium of Light are good enough to keep us going, for now anyways…

giddup sausage: As expected, fighting at the bottom but I think Roy can keep us up. Its taken half a season for most of our team to settle and we have been plagued with injuries that didnt help.

jesus juice: Roy has done an excellent job despite where we finish this season. The club was buried and disgrace before Roy and Niall came on board. They have made us proud to be Sunderland fans again

2.You're the Bank of England Club - but it appears Keane has had a lot more money than say, Reid, or McCarthy who had to operate on 50p... Who do you think is the better manager and what do you make of Roy's signings?

Kelly: I liked both Reid and McCarthy for very different reasons but felt especially sorry for Mick who didn't get a real chance to show what he could do with proper money.  Having said that, although they are very different managers and characters, both Mick and Roy choose to put their trust in the Irish lads so I guess you could call us Bank o' Eire now!  Not completely convinced of all of Keano's signings, especially Higginbotham, McShane and O'Donovan but he's been canny in finding Jones, Richardson and Edwards.

tadge: Been a half century since the Bank of England club - but the Bank of Eire club has been just as welcome. I have a lot of respect for Reid as he delivered our best placings in my memory, and I think he was badly done to at the end of his reign, but I'd have to controvertially say probably McCarthy for his having gotten us prematurely re-promoted with a team that I don't think anyone expected to bounce back up - on the contrary I thought we'd do a Sheff Wed abd drop another division. Roy's signings probably need a bit more time to be judged. I'm sure some of the older more experienced heads bring something on the training ground and in the changing room, but not much on the pitch as I see it.

giddup sausage: Roy has had more to spend, but thats the way it is at the moment with all the SKY deals etc.. You have to also think that players now cost more also so it all kinda evens itself out in the end. Reidy actually spent quite alot and the talk that he worked on buttons is more of a myth I think. Too early to say who is better as Roy has only been here just over a season really, though I do tip him to be better once he has time to build his own squad and beliefs. His signings so far have been decent enough and alot brought in for specific reasons/jobs.The players he brought in to get us out of the CCC done their job and he brought them in within a few days. Our Prem campaign needed our squad to be bolstered as it was very light and again he has done ok in the market to try get cover for places. He has also made some outstanding signings in Kenwyne Jones, Richardson, Carlos, Evans, Gordon.

jesus juice: Roy - Money should not concern us really. Compared to the Unwashed, it's nothing

tank: Keane is the better manager. McCarthy is Championship class, Reid did well enough, but after getting us promoted in his first full season, took us straight down the next year. He then benefitted from us moving from Roker, and had some good seasons - so if you judge on where they were at the same time in charge, Keane wins

James A: That’s quite a difficult question to answer, all three have taken us to the Premiership as champions so in that respect they are all equal. We performed best under Peter Reid but what McCarthy did on a shoestring budget (in the Championship) was impressive and he got us to the FA Cup semi-finals. Keane has worked miracles since his arrival but he will be judged in May, depending on what league we are in. And may I add that all three have made some very suspect signings, i.e. Tore Andre Flo under Reid, Jon Stead under McCarthy and Greg Halford under Keane.

As for Keane’s signings I am still undecided, as he has bought good and bad. Last season he made superb additions to the team in the form of Edwards, Evans, Wallace and co which resulted in us winning the league, however this term I am unsure. Apart from Kenwyne Jones, Kieran Richardson and Craig Gordon the players he has bought seem good Championship clientele but the arrivals of Phil Bardsley and Rada Prica has given me a new found confidence. At the minute £6m for Michael Chopra, £3.5m for Greg Halford and £2.5m for Paul McShane doesn’t seem good business.

3.Who do you think has been your most important player(s) this season so far - Dwight the wise ol head? Craig Gordon ? The new boy Prica? Richardson? or someone else?

tadge: I'd say Kenwynne Jones - he has a physical presence but skill to match it, and is usually found doing a job all over the pitch. If the new Swede is anywhere near as useful it could help turn our season around.

Kelly: That would have to be Kenwyne Jones - he makes them, he scores them (not enough though unfortunately) and he's so strong.  We miss him and struggle badly when he's out.  Richardson is starting to look promising but needs to get fit and keep away from any more injuries.

giddup sausage: Kenwyne Jones. Breath of fresh air to our squad and he will go onto great things. Leads the line brilliantly and his ability in the air is unmatched. Without him we wouldnt have had an outlet thus far in the season.

James A: Without a doubt Kenwyne Jones, at times the man is an unstoppable machine. Granted for a striker he is not that prolific but when you watch his performance in a game it becomes obvious why Keane paid so much for him. He is strong, quick, good in the air, very skilful and basically a handful for any defenders.

4.And your worst player(s)?

tadge: This might be totally unfair of me but I'd say McShane simply on the basis that he's made so many silly mistakes. You can't doubt his committment and strength, but you can't just hurl yourself in like that - you need a little intelligence too to make a good defender.

Kelly: The above mentioned McShane (can't fault his effort just so bloody clumsy!) and Higginbotham (although he did score against the mags!!  Also too careless).  Oh, and I forgot Halford too - all defenders if you hadn't noticed, hence our horrific goals against!

giddup sausage: Halford has to be one. Highly rated but just seemed to bottle it on the park, full of mistakes and kept getting sent off. Young lad so hopefully his loan deal will get him some confidence or a move.

jesus juice: Not worth talking about. One of them has just fucked off to Charlton

James A: At the minute it has got to be Greg Halford, without being too critical he is awful. His positioning in games is horrendous and when you combine that with his inability to run, tackle or head a ball then you have problems.

5.Niall Quinn, couldn't get a win... a good chairman for you? How long will he give Keane before they fall out again?

Kelly: Niall is the perfect guy for Chairman - he loves the club and is worshipped.  He would never have hired Keane unless he absoloutely 100% thought they could work togther and from what I've heard they only communicate when absolutely essential.  Think Keane would walk before being fired anyway but am quite convinced he'll see (or try at least) his 'vision' through.

tadge: Three years? I think Roy would 'walk' before it came to that, if things were going really badly.

giddup sausage: Quinns a top bloke and he will stick by Keano till the end im sure. He said from the off that Roy will run the club his way with no interference and Quinn will give him all the funds and time he needs to accomplish his goals.

ayesane: St Niall was already a total legend on wear side, loved even before he got control of our club, he even has a children’s hospital in his name. He's an honest gentleman, an incredible man. Nothing pleases me more then to think 'he's our chairman'. I honestly cant think of a situation where Naill and Roy would fall out to the extent that it would be media news. I’m sure they will have disagreements; but i know for sure those disagreements will have nothing in relation to what happens on the pitch - that’s 100% Roys domain.

jesus juice: Stupid fucking question - Shite bait

James A: I think Keane and Quinn have established the right balance at the club which allows them both to do their jobs and not interfere with each other. They have a professional relationship and both share the same goals and ambitions which makes me think that both will be at Sunderland for a long time. And as for being a good chairman, he is not. Niall Quinn is a fantastic chairman and the best any Sunderland fan could ask for, we will be forever in his debt.

6. Who gets your Black Moggie's tail up more... the smoggies or the Barcodes and why?

Kelly: That would be the sad geordies from up the road - so deluded, living in the past (KK - what's all that about then, apart from another disaster waiting to happen!) and they sing crap songs at matches!!!

tadge: The filthy 'skunks'. There aren't enough smoggies to be worried about anyway, but in reality their derby game is Leeds Utd. [ed:  ;D]

giddup sausage: Barcodes. They have this delusion of grandeur when infact every season they are nothing more than a midtable/relegation form team.

sedgefield mackam New666le. Always. I grew up on Teesside, so I'm one of the few fans who care about the Boro. Even then, they don't get my back up half as much as the mags.It's hilarious at the minute, mind. Fat bastard plastic mag chairman appoints has been (mentally unstable?) manager to resurrect 'the entertainers'. Games played 3, Goals scored 0.

jesus juice: Barcodes, nee one gives a fuck about the mutants man

tank:No contest - barcodes are our only derby rivals. The smoggies are wannabies. Shame really, they detest us, but to be honest, they're not worth the waste of energy. They're not a true North East team - they're from Yorkshire really.

James A: Definitely the Barcodes. It is common knowledge that anyone north of Teesside does not care about Middlesbrough and have no rivalry with them, for starters there is not enough of them to hate.
Our rivalry with Newcastle obviously dates back many years but if you actually asked me to give you a reason why I hate them I wouldn’t be able to. The majority of my mates are Mags (unfortunately) and I clearly like them, however the mindset they have of being such a fantastic club is baffling at times, they seem to forget they haven’t won anything since 1969, but continue to kid themselves in the make believe world they call Geordie Land.

ayesaneThe filth that are the Mags, first reason is i'v lived in whitley bay for almost a year (work and missus that side of the water) and it pains me every day to do simple things like go shopping or put petrol in the car. There is always a 19 stone bloke wearing a medium sized Newcastle shirt, pasty crumbs all over his face and stinking of BO. You go out on the lash and 99.9% of people are dressed appropriately, there is always one idiot with his Newcastle fleece / away shirt on. Second reason is when your born in Sunderland, you automatically have an instinct to hate the mags, not unlike the instinct to eat or breathe.

7.What sort of line-up do you expect Keane will set up against us?

tadge: Depends who's available. I'd expect he'd fill up the midfield and play a wide 4-5-1 with Kenwynne up front. But then if we do well on Tues against Brum and if Prica looks handy he might just play a gamble and go 4-4-2

Kelly: He'll probably go defensive and play 4-5-1. 

giddup sausage: Im guessing our 4-5-1 which seems to be paying dividends lately now that the players seem to have grasped it. We also need to stop you lot playing so packing the midfield should help that.

sedgefield mackam 4-4-2 probably.Gordon; Bardsley, Nosworthy, Evans, Collins; Stokes, Miller, Whitehead, Murphy; Jones, PricaWould say 4-5-1, but we have an entire midfield unavailable. For this reason, I reckon we'll have a go.

ayesane: ----CG----

I expect us to change from our usual 4-3-3 /4-5-1 and i expect us to go for it. We have some injuries to key players still.

James A: 4-5-1. His aim will be to stifle your midfield play and hopefully catch you on the break. However when we play this formation we have a tendency of conceding in the first few minutes (like at Arsenal and Tottenham) which throws our plans into disarray.

8..What do you expect in the way of singing/banter etc from our support? Do we compare well and how do you rate the atmosphere at our ground?

tadge: Our lot'll make plenty of noise - you can count on that. When you lot head up our way there's always a good atmosphere - you've got to appreciate your wit. I think it's two cities that love their footy and that can only be a good thing whichever team is at home. One thing i like about Anfield that you don't get at the Staduim of Light from what I've seen is people wandering round right through the match.We must get through loads of pies. It's really bad if you have a seat in one of the lower rows, having muppets wandering past your field of vision right through the game.

Kelly: Atmos at our ground depends on how well we play and how much desire the players are showing to make a difference.  We'll always get behind them even if we're losing by loads but are showing grit and determination (40, 000+ attendances even though we're bottom three shows it all really).  Only been to Anfield once and was impressed by the cosy atmos and loud singing.

giddup sausage: Known a few scousers in my time and they are all gobby cnuts  ;) So should be good banter and plenty of noise.

sedgefield mackam Got a lot of time for Liverpool fans. You get right behind your team/manager almost unconditionally. (Interesting to compare this mentality of fans from a club with your history to the mentality of the silverware-less black and white filth up the road.) Good craic really.We're supposed to be the loudest fans in the Prem. I can believe that.

James A: I’ve always liked going to Anfield because of the atmosphere created and the history the ground has. You lot are good fans who enjoy the banter so hopefully both supporters will be able to enjoy the crack and have a good time. Plus Roy Keane isn’t Liverpool’s most-loved person so that will arouse some emotions.

9.Do you have any favourite chants and perhaps any that require an explanation?

Kelly: Fave of all time is the Niall Quinn's Disco Pants one (we're still singing it now!)  Really can't remember how that came about . . . .

tadge: Changes, but probably the Nyron Nosworthy (unlikely defensive hero) / Amy Winehouse chant - "They tried to get the ball past Nyron, and he say No No No"

giddup sausage: Na na na na na na Keanooooo, we love Robbie Keane of Spurs.

sedgefield mackam: Rafa's a great manager in my opinion. He buys well and knows his tactics. I like the fella, and honestly wish I could sit down with him, have a pint, and carefully explain why his rotation policy is the only thing holding the current Liverpool squad back from being contenders. Like I say, I've got a soft spot for Liverpool, so I wouldn't like to see him chopped and changed by money-driven owners. Stability = success.

ayesane: Your 'best midfield' chant is very catchy and i found my self humming it, it was also set to repeat in my mind while trying to sleep ect.. very annoying.

James A: Our songs are pretty straight forward and don’t require much thought. We’ll be singing the praises of Keane and Quinn like we always do and no doubt you’ll be greeted to the usual ‘Sign on, sign on’ rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone but I suppose you get that every week. Must get boring?

10.Where do you expect yourselves and Liverpool to finish come the end of the season?

Kelly: SAFC - 17th (we'll just scrape it) LFC - 5th
tadge: Us 15th, Liverpool 4th

giddup sausage: You lot, top 5 IF you get your act together. Us I'd say 13-15th.

jesus juice: Us surviving, you? Who cares? But you will be managerless

James A: Liverpool - 4th (at a push), Sunderland - 15th (with a bit of luck)

11.Which Liverpool player(s) do you fear the most?

tadge: The chairman! (who's he approaching this week?) - maybe Benayoun on his good day

Kelly: Torres - depending on who's in our defence - it could be bad!

giddup sausage: Gerrard (goes without saying?) - top player and recently getting alot of stick for nothing. Plays like superman and just lately because he hasnt been quite as good people are slagging him off, pathetic really  Torres - seems to have hit the Prem running and is a massive threat and will get plenty of chances (unless Nozza sorts him out like last time).Crouch - If hes on he will score against us, just has that knack  .

James A: It’s got to be between Gerrard and Torres, both are fantastic players who can cause you a lot of problems. When we played you earlier in the season Torres was superb but just couldn’t score, if he’s got his shooting boots on this week then we’re in trouble!

12. I did hear that a while back, Sunderland and Newcastle's fans didn't go to the respective away fixtures - why was that?

tadge: It gets a bit nasty. Probably deters a lot of families and what have you.

Kelly: All to do with violence and not enough police officers to cope with potential nastiness . . . . was very strange only having one set of supporters in ground and something which i hope never has to happen again as it's not good for the game or for the law abiding fans who want to see their respective teams play in what should be a hassle free derby game.

ayesane: Torres... even though he has a women’s frame.

giddup sausage: Was ages ago and they (coppers) banned away supporters for the Derby games. Typical nobody else in the country had that and its not like there is anymore violence than other derby games (well there probably is like, but ye knaa).

13.And your feelings on Liverpool this season? How well do you think Rafa has done?

tadge: Rafa has done as good a job as anyone with that much speculation hanging ridiculously over their head could do. If left to do his job I think he will bring more silverware to Anfield, but not the sort of success the jolly Scot up the motorway enjoys.

Kelly: Think the jury's still out on Rafa although I feel sorry for him trying to get on with his job amidst rumours of other managers being lined up to take over from him.  There's still Europe and the FA cup to go for but think the league is too far away now.

giddup sausage: Poor. Made some good signings (Torres) but I just dont rate the bloke. Quicker you lot get a better manager in the quicker you start challenging for the title and other honours. Think the Euro success was more down to the players than any manager decisions.

jesus juice: This season? Canny - for the past couple of seasons? Canny

James A: I honestly think Liverpool needs a massive clear-out and a fresh start. Every season you begin with hopes of winning the league but by Christmas you are always out of the race, you inability to grind out results when your not playing well is your major problem. Arsenal, Man Utd and Chelsea don’t play well every week but manage to win every week, maybe you need a change of manager and a change of mentality.
I think Rafa Benitez is a good manager and has obviously done well for you, winning the Champions League is no easy task but for a team like Liverpool to have never won the Premier League is an unbelievable thing, maybe his time is up but I don’t watch Liverpool every week like yourself and the fans seem to love him. 

14.And to finish, what's the score? Care to risk a guess?

Kelly: Hate betting against us but will say 3-1 to LFC - Jones to get consolation goal for us!!!

tadge: Lots of goals, and ultimately heartache for us. 3-2 to the reds.

giddup sausage: 3-1 you lot. We need to contain you and if we can keep the score down we may go on to nick one and win it. Kenwyne will be a big thread as usual and if non league teams can get a few then surely he can bag a couple for us  ;)

sedgefield mackam: Not a chance. You should beat us at a canter, but the way yer playing, anything could happen. If it's level after 80 minutes, be worried.

jesus juice: 1-0 to you, if Gary McAlister dives in the fucking box again. Cheating knacker

James A: My head says - 2-0 Liverpool. My heart says - 1-1 draw. Good luck for the game and the rest of the season.

Thanks to tadge n Kelly, James at a love supreme and all the lads at readytogo. :wave

Oh and to Neil D who wrote this: "Fuck off Rafa, do ypur own bleedin research".: very funny.

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