Diary Of A Season: July To October 2012

Tom Dulat

It had all looked so promising. Fresh from a balmy Summer of European Championship football and the London Olympics, Sunderland trudged into the 2012/13 season in an optimistic mood.

Another year in the (miserable) life of Sunderland AFC begins...

July 2: Martin O'Neill makes his first signing of the season, as Carlos Cuellar signs a two-year-deal on Wearside. 89% of Roker Report readers vote 'Yes' in a poll asking whether or not the free transfer Spaniard is a good buy.

July 4: The first Captain's Blog of the season sees the never, ever wrong Michael Graham tell Sunderland fans that the season ahead is unlikely to disappoint.

July 6: Asamoah Gyan leaves Sunderland on a permanent basis. Residents of Wearside are too busy caring about things that matter to notice.

July 11: Sunderland are heavily linked with Steven N'Zonzi of Blackburn Rovers. It makes a change from the club's usual policy of refusing to buy players from relegated clu...oh.

July 13: I, a bastion of knowledge, suggest Seb Larsson will hardly feature for Sunderland over the coming year.

July 15: Sunderland are linked with Steven Fletcher.

July 16: Marcos Angeleri signs for Estudiantes. Simon Walsh, Roker Report's head honcho, cries into his pillow.

July 19: Connor Wickham talks of how he hopes to "cement his place" in the Sunderland first team very soon indeed. The club loses it's first pre-season game, going down 0-1 to Seognam Ilhwa Chunma. Or, as everyone else refers to them, "that Korean side".

July 20: Sunderland are linked with Steven Fletcher.

July 22: Sunderland beat FC Groningen 3-2 via a last minute screamer from Ryan Noble. Hell on. Wes Brown picks up an injury. In related news, man discovers fire.

July 27: Michael Turner joins Norwich City. East Anglian tugboat businesses find new competition in their midst. Sunderland lose 0-1 at Hartlepool United. It's all about the fitness, though.

July 28: Martin O'Neill suggests Wes Brown's latest injury setback is "not serious". Academy of Light staff frantically check the manager's tea for stray substances.

July 29: Sunderland are linked with Steven Fletcher.

July 30: Wolves Chief Executive Jez Moxey says Steven Fletcher is not for sale.

July 31: Steven Fletcher's agent Scott Fisher suggests Martin O'Neill is the man to get the best out of Steven Fletcher. Wolve's reject Sunderland's £10m bid for Steven Fletcher.

August 3: Martin O'Neill suggests Titus Bramble may have a long-term future on Wearside. Local magistrates agree.

August 4: Sunderland lose 0-2 at Helsingborgs. It's all about fitness, though.

August 6: Sunderland are linked with Steven Fletcher.

August 8: 'Sunderland are linked with Steven Fletcher' enters thesauruses worldwide as a synonym for 'saga'. Sunderland draw 1-1 at Derby County. It's kind of still about the fitness, but James McClean scored and we must be on the right track. Right?

August 11: Leicester City 1-0 Sunderland. All. About. Fitness.

August 15: Sunderland receive what is defined by the Sunderland Echo as a "public slapdown" from Wolves for their continued pursuit of Steven Fletcher. Sunderland are then further linked with Steven Fletcher.

August 16: Looking to mirror Newcastle United's policy of buying youthful, ambitious Frenchmen, Sunderland announce the signing of the 34-year-old Louis Saha on a free transfer.

August 18: The season finally begins. Olivier Giroud misses a sitter and Sunderland notch a point in a 0-0 draw at Arsenal. No one cares about that result though, as the Gunners win 4-2 in the all-important 'Shots on Target' category.

August 19: Adam Johnson, Premier League winner, is linked with Sunderland. I tweet: 'If Adam Johnson signs for #SAFC I will personally run naked in the best suggested location'.

August 20: Sunderland are heavily linked with Adam Johnson. I backtrack faster than an MP in an expenses scandal. Full back Giles Bar...sorry, Kieran Richardson, declares his desire to leave Wearside.

August 22: Louis Saha discusses relishing the opportunity to link up with Stephane Sessegnon as Sunderland's first choice strike partnership. No one is convinced. Even Louis. Sunderland are linked with Steven Fletcher.

August 24: Wearside smashes a Guinness World Record, breaking the previous set marker for 'Number of People Masturbating at One Time in a Concentrated Area', following the signings of Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson for a combined £22m. Meanwhile, my genitalia is cold.

August 25: God punishes the people of Sunderland for their sins as the British Summertime visit of Reading to the Stadium of Light is...err...rained off.

August 28: Martin O'Neill's penchant for cup glory continues with a comfortable 2-0 home victory over Morecambe. James McClean scores twice, including one with his right foot, which comes into use for the first time in his twenty-three years of life.

August 30: Stephane Sessegnon signs a new contract. "Biggest signing of the summer" cliches reverberate all around the SR postcode. Ahmed Elmohamady joins Hull City on loan. Simon Mignolet frantically searches for a new man to aim goal kicks at.

August 31: Kieran Richardson signs for Fulham. That bloke who bowed to him in the centre circle breaks down in tears at work. Sunderland sign Danny Rose on loan from Spurs until the end of the season. No one cares.

September 1: Sunderland draw 2-2 at Swansea City. They *sort of* deserve it. Steven Fletcher is linke...gets two debut goals. Chico Flores goes all Yakuza on Louis Saha and gets sent off. Lee Cattermole does 'a Wes Brown' and gets injured.

September 7: Louis Saha gives another interview to the Sunderland Echo, seemingly having already pre-empted his decreasing amount of relevance. James McClean takes to Twitter to express his dismay at not getting a role in the Republic of Ireland's 2-1 win over Kazakhstan.

September 8: James McClean takes to Twitter to express his sorrow regarding his tweet the previous evening. The inclusion of words with three or more syllables leads to allegations that McClean did not write the apology himself.

September 10: Our very own Karl Jones warns Swindon Town fans of the potential pitfalls caused by Paolo Di Canio's management style. Such is the Italian's irrelevancy, we mock Karl endlessly, jibing in chorus: "Who the f**k cares about Paolo Di Canio anymore?"

September 13: Steven Fletcher is linked with Su...sorry, wrong template. Wes Brown remains on the sidelines. There, that's the right one.

September 15: Sunderland draw 1-1 with Liverpool. Steven Fletcher scores. So does Luis Suarez. But Liverpool win 9-4 on 'Shots on Target', so our point doesn't count for as much. Apparently.

September 16: Simon Walsh is nasty about James McClean in our weekly Durham Times column. James tweets nasty things about Simon.

September 17: Danny Rose, after just 17 days at Sunderland, states that he wants to stay for good. Wise old men in the crowd collectively respond, "just you wait, bonny lad."

September 18: Roker Report awards Craig Gardner its first Player of the Month award. No comment.

September 20: James McFadden joins on trial. He is extremely white. And not in the 'Bill Gates is soooo white' sort of way. Like, literally, really really white.

September 21: Carlos Cuéllar is ruled out for a few weeks with a Wes Brown. Fans are genuinely disappointed. It is my birthday. No one cares.

September 22: Sunderland draw 1-1. Steven Fletcher scores. It's just like last week. Except it's at West Ham United. And Kevin sodding Nolan equalises. In Wes Brown time. Bah.

September 26: The road to Wembley continues as MK Dons are brushed aside, 2-0. Lee Cattermole surprises no one by getting himself sent off - the word 'liability' makes it onto Google's 'Most Searched' terms the following day. Craig Gardner and James McClean prove someone other than Steven Fletcher can score.

September 27: An article on Roker Report receives 13 comments, the highest of the season so far. It is for a competition, where entrants HAVE to comment to stand a chance of winning. We are embarrassed.

September 29: Sunderland beat Wigan Athletic 1-0. Jordi Gomez gets sent off and Steven Fletcher scores. It is shite.

October 1: Sunderland are reported to be "looking to talk to" James McFadden. Wearside is feverish. James looks somewhat feverish, too.

October 5: Carlos Cuéllar returns from Wes Brown but Wes Brown remains Wes Browned. Ryan Noble joins Hartlepool United on loan. Hell on.

October 6: Sunderland lose 0-3 at Manchester City. City win 16-6 in the 'Shots on Target' stakes. Gulp.

October 7: Wear-Tyne derby buildup begins. Thirteen days before the game itself. Sigh. Sunderland announce "a partnership" with Lierse SK of Belgium. No one cares, or understands.

October 9: A Sunderland fan puts club flags up in his pub and the club shout at him for it. Seems fair. Steven Fletcher is linked with the Barclay's Player of the Month trophy. The Premier League confirms the deal later in the day. Billy Knott joins Woking on loan.

October 12: Jack Colback issues a rallying call ahead of the Wear-Tyne derby. Mag. Sunderland, not having foreseen the backlash over the 'flags in pubs' furore, make up with Alan Wallace of The Fort pub.

October 13-19: You're obsessed. No, you're obsessed. Forever in our shadow. Go smash up a phonebox. LALAS. Shearer took the toon doon. Ad infinitum.

October 20: Martin O'Neill issues a rallying call to his (allegedly) creative frontmen.

October 21: Yohan Cabaye scores before most people have found their seats. Cheik Tiote is sent off for being shi...making a stupid tackle on Steven Fletcher. Sunderland are as much use as a chocolate fireguard. Demba Ba continues his undercover operation by scoring an own goal, knowing full well it would have taken a man in red and white until Christmas to achieve a similar feat.

October 22: Sunderland fans are tried in the media for high treason for proclaiming ambitions regarding the annulment of Steven Taylor's existence.

October 23: Stephane Sessegnon issues a rallying call to his fellow (supposedly) creative frontmen.

October 24: I start compiling figures for my 'Number of Rallying Calls compared to How Well the Team is Doing' graph.

October 26: Amid a months worth of anticipation, James McFadden finally signs a three month contract for Sunderland. In the glare of the press conference spotlights, reporters liken him to the sight of burning Magnesium.

October 27: Stoke City 0-0 Sunder...zzzzz

October 29: Lee Cattermole signs a new four-year contract. Sunderland fans are happy/sad about the news regarding their dominant/unreliable central midfielder/arsehole.

October 30: The magic of the cup is in full flow as Middlesbrough trump Sunderland 1-0. 4-4-2 enthusiasts march disconsolately back to their respective hovels.

We'll be back tomorrow as this feature continues.

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