Spyin' Kop : Sunderland v Liverpool And so it begins.........

Posted by Phil M on August 14, 2008, 12:12:25 AM

It's my privilege to kick off the 2008/2009 season of Spyin' Kop.

So here we are again, a new season, Rafa Benitez' fifth season at the helm
and once again we are all dreaming of that elusive league title.
It feels like a whole lot longer than 3 months since we last played
a league game, in that brief period of time our Spanish contingent have become European Champions and the Kop has got a new
number seven to worship in the form of a certain Mr. Robbie Keane.
With all that in mind our opening fixture sees the us visit the Stadium of Light.
Last season's corresponding fixture saw us run out as reasonably comfortable 0-2
winners. The game was a memorable occasion for Momo Sissoko and Andriy Voronin who each
scored their first league goals in a red shirt.
When the 'Black Cats' visited Anfield last February, goals from Crouch, Torres and a Steven Gerrard penalty saw us all take all three points.

Heading into the new season, spirits are high in the north east, Roy Keane has been busy in the transfer market and the signings of proven Premier League players like Steed Marlbranque, Paschal Chimbonda and er, El Hadji-Diouf has been seen as a major step forward for the Mackems and the fans are eagerly anticipating the start of the new season which many believe will be the season they overtake their Geordie rivals and perhaps even gain a top ten finish.

For this Spyin' Kop I stopped by www.readytogo.net and also to www.safc.fans.co.uk
a few days ago looking for their thoughts and found them to be a 'canny' lot.  :)

Sincere thanks to all the Mackems who contributed.

(Because of the huge amount of replies I thought it would be unfair to only use the views of three or four so I've picked out what I think and hope are some of the best answers)

Barclays FA Premier League

Saturday August 15th 2008
Kick-Off: 17:30pm
Stadium Of Light, Sunderland

Sunderland AFC :

Nicknames: The Black Cats, The Mackems
Stadium: Stadium Of Light, Capacity: 49,000
Major Honours:

Top Flight Champions:
1892 1893 1895 1902 1913 1936

FA Cups:
1937 1973

Championship/Division One Winners:
1976 1996 1999 2005 2007

Phil M :

You finished a very respectable 15th on your return to the Premier League last season, a mere 4 pts off your Tyne Wear rivals. How happy were you with this position and how the team performed overall last season?

Very happy with final table positions, especially when you consider the thinness of the squad - Andy Reid aside - but did we perform well? - No not really. Some players outperformed themselves - Danny Collins for example whilst others were shown to be lacking - McShane, Whitehead and Stokes.

Sedgefield Mackem:
Very happy. Premier League survival is difficult these days for newly-promoted clubs. As for our performances... we played well and got nowt and played badly and got results a lot. Overall they were fine - we stayed up.

i-rock105: After the recent exploits of SAFC in the top flight, you can't not be happy with a season where we weren't bitting our nails on the last day of the season! As a whole the team put in some really good performances and at times showed that bit of class which we've always lacked the last few attempts we made at tackling the Premier League.

LeadBelly86: Back in the big time, according to many tabloids and Eamon Dunphy, Keane 'wasted' £50m. I bet Derby and Karen Brady at Brum wish they'd wasted £50m. We survived and can now build, nice one Quinn, Walker and Keane, please take a bow.

Gav_ftm: A few very, very bad performances, a few late goals to get much needed points. Nothing special, did what we had to do.

Highs & Lows: Your top 3 Sunderland highs and lows from the 2007/2008 PL season?

GBSAFC: Murph v Wigan, Andy 'former Greggs poster boy' Reid v hammers, Chops v Spurs.

Chopra scoring the late winner v Spurs on opening day.
Murphy scoring the late winner v Boro to secure survival.
Winning at Fulham away for our first away win of the season. In April.
James Milner scoring a lucky cross to rob us of a home victory vs the horrible bastards up the road.
Getting thumped off said horrible bastards at theirs with half our back line injured.
7 fucking 1 at Everton. Paul McShane fell over for about 4 of them.


Highs -
* Staying in PL
* Celebrations for Chopra's goal at Villa
* Kenywne Jones
Lows -
* Performance at The Landfill
* Not killing the game off against The Scum at home
* 7-1 at Everton

Iceman: Highs -- 1) All the last min winners over the season 2) Villa away, brilliant atmosphere from our lot and great 1-0 win 3) Beating Boro at home, secured our survival
Lows -- 1) Lack of performance against the mags away 2) Not beating them at home 3) The poor ref decisions against us all season

The home match v Portsmouth. We fought and chased everything and Richardson showed what a great player he's capable of being.
2 Chopra's goal on the opening day - first game back in the top flight, your record signing keeper keeps a clean sheet, your £5m striker scores on his debut and you beat a team that's tipped (albeit wrongly) for a possible top 4 finish.
3 Daryl Murphy's goal against Wigan - a fantastic pass from Reid and brilliant shot.
1 Away game v the mags. Heartless, gutless, clueless. Could have seen us sucked back into a relegation spot.
2 FA cup defeat at home to Wigan - we looked like relegation fodder.
3 Losing at West Ham after playing them off the park - again looked like the kind of 'hard luck' results that relegated teams talk about.

Who were your most important players last season and why? ...and which player(s) or new signings were you disappointed with?

Jones obviously, was immense for us at times, gave us a real presence at the back. Also Bardsley & Evans sorted our defence out when they arrived in Jan.

Porrohman: Johnny Evans was superb, Reid gave us a bit more quality and Jones had some excellent moments. I was disappointed with McShane and Halford.

Avid Merrion:
As I mentioned previously, without Bardsley and Evans we'd have been inevitably relegated. As for disappointments they don't come much bigger than Greg Halford.

Lester1979: Kenwyne Jones – Fantastic for the team and could become one of the best.
Greg Halford – Regardless of any issues he had at the time the lad just isn't Premier League class.

FirTreeMackem: The most important players were by far Danny Collins, Craig Gordon and Kenwyne Jones. Collins did a good job in a position he wouldn't normally play in and Gordon became more confident after Evans signed on loan again, making some excellent saves. Jones on the other hand was fantastic, 7 goals and 10 assists in a season battling relegation is great form. I was disappointed with Dean Whitehead, I still rate him as a player but think we're yet to see the best of him in the Prem.

Much has been made of Roy Keane's transfer history in recent times but this summer has been possibly his most productive, the signings of Chimbonda, Malbranque, Diouf & Tainio seem to have significantly improved the squad strength at Sunderland. How satisfied are you with these signings & do you think that they will have a big impact on your team's playing style this season?

Cearlan: More than satisfied, They will all have a big effect on the style of the team. I have supported Sunderland since the early 60's, and I have never been so excited with the signings as we have made so far. The only downside is that it shows the "older" players up as being not good enough. But if we are to improve as a team this is the way forward. Very little room for sentiment these days I'm afraid!

Pacific: What we were lacking last year was someone who could unlock defenses, that touch of quality on the pitch. Diouf and especially Malbranque bring that to the team. Tainio's job's isn't as pretty and he'll not be making headlines but we have been missing this type of player for years, someone who keeps it simple, protects the back four, gets the ball and gives it to someone more creative.

Guinness Guzzler: I think they are very good signings. We had a good team spirit and a lot of hard workers in the squad, but we really needed some more talent. These boys certainly have that. The only concern is that we haven't addressed the centre back and centre forward positions yet and we are badly short in both- I'm sure Keane has something up his sleeve though.

Manamamackem: I am the most optimistic I have been in years due to these signings, but feel that we need a goal scoring striker cos Chops is not going to feature in Keane's plans and KJ is NOT a goal scorer.

Havanaman: Was well pleased with Tainio who looked class against us, less impressed with Chimbonda who I think is overrated - he looks good going forward but as a defender he seems to get caught a lot. Diouf looks the best ball player we've signed in years.

El-Hadji Diouf is a player who has been involved in a lot of controversy in his time in England, and Reds fans certainly don't miss him. He's undoubtedly talented but are you worried about his previous disciplinary record or him being a bad influence at the club?

Not at all from me. He is the type of player we need, because he will get in the oppositions faces and help to motivate his team mates. From what I've heard from him so far he's just very competitive.

Gromit: Sorry to answer a question with a question but..... who'd you put your money on winning an argument. Keane or Diouf? Nuff said.

Cearlan: Would you argue with Keane??? Seriously though - I abhor some of the things he has done - Spitting at people is the lowest of the low. However he's been relatively clean the last couple of seasons. Bolton fans couldn't speak highly enough of him 110% effort every game - how much more can you ask, and with talent to boot. I doubt he'd be allowed to be disruptive in our dressing room - so no worries on my behalf.

I Told You I Was ill: No - by all accounts he is a good character around the club/training ground. We have Ricky Sbragia on our staff who worked with him at Bolton, and I believe he spoke highly about how he was there prior to RK signing him.

Guinness Guzzler: He doesn't seem to have caused much trouble at his previous clubs, mainly seems to wind other clubs players and fans up. He's fine by me and has been saying all the right things since he signed. We didn't really have any "nasty" players until we got Diouf and it is certainly good to have someone who can wind up the opposition- particularly when they have a bit of talent as well!

BS1000: Personally didn't really want him for those reasons, hoping there isn't any incidents, don't think he will be allowed to be a bad influence

All the noises from him so far have been very positive, he seems eager to impress. He strikes me as very passionate about the game, hopefully Keane can help him to channel it in the right direction on the pitch

The Barcodes have had a relatively quiet summer in the transfer market to date,and given Keegan's refusal to get rid of the disruptive Joey Barton, do you think you could finish above them this season?

I honestly don't think that Keegoon has had any say in whether to keep or get rid of Barton. I honestly think we will attain a higher league placing than them this year.

Yes I do, their defence is terrible, everytime a good player goes there, he becomes shit overnight. fucking spiderman ?? The fucker wont play most of the game as he'll be swinging about newcastle saving skimpy tarts from getting date raped down the big market off black and white shirt wearing idiots.

i-rock105: I don't know one Mag that isn't sh**ing themselves (some quietly but most of them openly), when they look at the clubs around them and see who they're bringing in compare to who King Clown's bought! I mean come one, some fruit'n'nut bar who thinks he spiderman and a kid who yous obviously think isn't good enough and hasn't managed to score a competitive goal in over 50 appearances! As for Barton, I'm glad they kept him because it's only going to disrupt their team more, and hopefully cause them to lose loads of games!
If we don't finish above them, then for all I can possibly see, something is going to have to go drastically wrong! If we're not North East top dogs at the end of the season I'll be absolutely gutted!

Wayne The Punk: It's possible, but I wouldn't bet on it. A lifetime supporting Sunderland has led me to be skeptical. That said, I could easily see Keegan being the first manager to go. That'd be a shame for me. The man is hilarious.

To be honest I try not to think about them. They get far too much media coverage as it is and all the hype they get is unbelievable. Having said that I take great pleasure in beating them and a good home win against them is long overdue.

Is this (v Liverpool) a game you have been looking forward to? Any abiding memories of previous encounters between us?

Havanaman: I remember playing you at Roker Park in the early 80s when you had Rush, Dalglish, Souness, Hansen et al. We were holding our own at 0-0 when the game was abandoned at half time because the pitch froze. You came back a couple of months later and trounced us 3-0. It was the first time I remember Sunderland fans clapping and cheering an opponent's goals but the football was so fantastic it seemed churlish to shout the usual abuse.

Derum: I am looking forward (kind of) to seeing Torres and Keane together. The strongest memory of us playing Liverpool in the 92 cup final, with Molby stood in the centre circle spraying the ball about imperiously.

I have been looking forward to the pissup with some Red mates. A memory of previous encounters?.....Momo bastard Sissoko's ONLY goal for you lot. Bloody typical Sunderland!

Not really looking forward to it,as its a late kick off and i'll be mortal.
A few seasons ago I had a train full of Liverpool supporters singing the Arca song,on the way out of Liverpool.

Avid Merrion: Liverpool is a game I look forward to as there is a bit of rivalry with a couple of my mates. Abiding memory was Jurgen Macho when he decided Anfield would be a great place to write the "How to Keep Goal Guide for Keepers with Shit Defenders".

Stevie Wonder: 8)
Yeah loads, remember being at anfield and a lot of our fans went in the Kop and got escorted round the pitch to our end,the 92 cup final,the last game at Roker after wed been relegated, it was flat as a pancake to start with, robbie fowler who is one of my all time favourite players tried to get the crowd going at the fulwell and some dickhead threw a bottle at him, it finished 0-0 but by the end the place was rocking, I secured my bit of memorabilia after ripping a sign off the wall and it turned out a good night, still took me along time to get over relegation in the last season there, absolute disgrace, owners should have been shot with shit. actually i still don't think I'm over it.

So the season gets underway on Saturday v Liverpool. What sort of team line up and formation do you expect Keane to name and set up against us?

Sedgefield Mackem:


Chimbonda Bardsley Nosworthy Collins
Diouf Malbranque Reid Tainio Richardson

You'll spank us.

4-5-1 I reckon, lack of options up front, expect all 4 new boys to start, Diouf wide right / floating.



Rafa Benitez has brought in the likes of Robbie Keane, Andrea Dossena, Philip Degen and David Ngog over the summer but which players do you fear or even admire the most in our squad?

Cearlan: Obviously Keane - but hopefully he won't have settled in yet. Ngog looks good as well. Doubt if Dossena will see that much action and Degen could fall in the same Torres Gerrard Babel are all players that can swing games if not watched closely.

Connery73: Keane & Torres worry me a lot, Keane should be a perfect foil for Torres pace with his vision & creativity. Obviously admire Gerrard & Carragher, loads of passion & would seemingly die for the shirt.

ShepSAFC: Hope Torres is injured Friday night going out for his Kebab only to be fit again to play for Stanley Park Casuals on Sunday morning! I'd love to see Dirk Kuyt in a Sunlun shirt.

safc4evaman: I admire Robbie Keane simply because he is such a proven goalscorer and I'm surprised he hadn't moved too 1 of the big four clubs sooner, in my opinion with Torres and Keane you have the best partnership in the Premier League. Also Jamie Carragher for his no - nonsense defensive approach.

Sedgefield Mackem:

Gerrard is awesome, although I reckon the difference between his performances at club and country level is the amount of time he spends jawing at refs. Can he not do that for England?
Seriously though I fully expect Torres and Keane to be the most dangerous strikeforce in the division. Both fast, clever and with an eye for goal, they will stroll through most defences. And be effective against good ones. That in itself is dependent on Rafa cutting the crap and going 4-4-2 like.

Crystal Ball time. Where do you think Sunderland and Liverpool will finish in the league this year?

Krisread: Us: 12th-14th  You: 3rd

SAFC : - 12th. Mid table mediocrity will have to do for now.Liverpool - 3rd. I really want to say higher, but in my lifetime Liverpool have always fallen short. I'm rooting for either Liverpool or Arsenal to win the title over the other 2 arrogant big 4 clubs.

Liverpool top 3, Sunderland 12-15th

pedro_1879: Liverpool - 3rd. The record against the top 4 will decide how strong the title challenge will be.

Guinness Guzzler:
Assuming no more signings for either, i think we will make a slight but not great improvement and finish 13th. I cant see Liverpool having enough to win the league this time out but i think they will push the others a lot further than they have in recent years. I'd put you down for 3rd place but if you can stay clear of injuries and suspensions and win the big away games, there is always a chance of breaking into the top 2 and maybe even challenging for the top spot.

We've all heard of 'Niall Quinn's Disco Pants' and the ''memorable'' 'Keanoo' but have your lot got any new chants going that we should listen out for this season?

Longy: Not at the SOL. Monotonous shite most of the time. However we can make a lot of noise when the whole ground join in together Away there's a more varied range of songs, but I don't think there's anything original kicking about at the minute


He Drinks, He Drives
He Spits in Peoples eyes
El Hajdi Diouf, El Hajdi Diouf....

Magnificent Bastard:
The South West Corner will sing Anti Mag songs, the rest of the crowd will sit in silence and there'll be a 200 page thread on here after the game slagging off the South West Corner.


At the Ajax preseason game there was a new one to at Agado tune -

El-Hadji Diouf, Diouf, Diouf
He's Sunderland through and through
El-Hadji Diouf, Diouf, Diouf
He'll F**king spit on you!

Someone was kicking around "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" for Pascal Chimbonda, but you'll have to trawl the board for the exact lyrics.

Havanaman: We're still trying to settle on one for Kenwyn Jones and the chants for Reid should contain less of the words 'fat' and 'bastard' but since the move to SoL and the dispersal of a lot of fans who sing it can take ages for new chants to catch on. If Nosworthy plays well expect to hear "they try to take the ball off Nyron - he says No No No" to Amy Whinehouse's 'Rehab' get more airing.

Manamamackem: Don't Know mate. I live in Bahrain.

For you, what would constitute a successful 2008/2009 PL season for SAFC?

A successful season would be finish top half of the table a decent cup run beat the scum and the smoggies, that would do me.

Connery73: To be relatively worry free by the end of march would be nice, maybe the qtr finals of a cup. step by step progress.

Lester1979: No relegation struggle.

Guinnes Guzzler: Building on last season, being safe from the threat of relegation as early as possible and having a decent cup run

Havanaman: Top 10 finish, cup semi-final, beating the mags at home would be fantastic.

At Anfield we've got some very promising young players coming through right now.Are there any young talents at Sunderland who you think will make the breakthrough to the senior team in the near future?

Manamamackem: I think that the youth set-up is the best it's ever been at present, and from what I have read, there are several exciting prospects (Luscombe, Waghorn, Henderson and Liddle) waiting in the wings.

Havanaman: Nathan Luscombe has had a couple of pre-season run-outs. He's a left-sided midfielder who can play left back. Really stocky hard lad with a good brain and good on the ball. Young striker Waghorn started a couple of premier games last year - another lad who's amazingly strong for his size and has scored for fun for the young'uns so we've got fairly high hopes. There's nee Rooneys or Ronaldos though.

Connery73 :Waghorn & Luscombe seem closest to making the break through, Waghorn almost reminds me of (dare i say it) a Rooney type


Jordan Henderson
Nathan Luscombe
Martyn Waghorn
Jack Colback
Michael Liddle
Jamie Chandler

We're all completely fed up with it but what do you make of the Gareth Barry transfer saga which has gone on all summer?

Well its gone on far too long but Liverpool have Alonso and i think he is as good if not better than Barry.

TonyJames23: He's taking the piss that's what i think, and to be honest I don't think he would get in the team week in week out if he went to you, its a good player in a mediocre team Villa aren't a top 4 club, i think hes 2 big for his boots and if he went it would be for the money in my opinion.

Cearlan: A sad effort to displace the Ronaldo saga as the summer's transfer tale. Have to say he ain't worth the money Villa want, but if you are prepared to pay that ....Good luck to the lad wherever he plays.

Longy: Too much of this kind of stuff going on. Probably similar to the whole Ronaldo situation. It seems players don't say they want to leave as they want to keep bonuses. It could end up serving Barry right if he ends up at Villa and has a bad season. His pre-season has been far from ideal for him

Walesie: Bored stupid, can't understand why you'd want to flog Alonso & replace him with Barry.

And finally can you give us your score prediction for the game please?

L18SFC: Sunderland 0-3 Liverpool


I think maybe a 1-1 if we can contain Torres and Keane, however if we don't start well I think Liverpool will probably win 2-1 or 3-1.

Sunderland 0-2 Liverpool

Derum: 1-2

0-3 Torres, Keane (2)

i-rock105: Heart says we can scrap a 1-0, heads saying 1-2 to you guys!
All the best for the rest of the season!

Thanks for reading!  :)

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