I will dispense with the formalities this week in explaining what this feature is all about. We all know by now, and if you don't then you really need to increase your daily Roker Report intake. Shame on you.
Anyway, this contribution was frankly too big to sit on for any longer. If you know anything at all about the internet's masses of football content, then I assume it is that In Bed With Maradona is probably the pinnacle of non-SAFC related football blogging right now.
So today we are trying to nick a little of their magic by inviting its Editor, Jeff Livingstone, to take the floor and give us an insight into how he perceives Sunderland AFC.
Stoke are known for a physical game and strong set pieces, Arsenal for possession football. Do you consider Sunderland to have a similar identity, and if so what?
Jeff: I don't see Sunderland as having an identity similar to Stoke, but wouldn't say that the Arsenal tag sits with them either. I'm not sure there's a particular stule that you can categorise Sunderland as playing so maybe that's something for Steve Bruce to work on.
Taking money out of it, how competitive do you think Sunderland can hope to be in the transfer market? Which clubs do you consider their natural competitors for signings?
Jeff: A tricky one. For quite a while it looked as if Ellis Short's cash would make Sunderland a more competitive option on the signings front but he's been sensible enough to realise that stupid money on transfers is unsustainable. In terms of competition right now, I'd say any mid table Premier League side, be that Wigan, Everton or Villa.
From your vantage point, what would you consider to be the iconic or most memorable Sunderland moment during your time watching football?
Jeff: The cup runs in '85 and '91 were pretty special and the 2-0 win at Newcastle in the 1990 playoffs must have tasted sweet, but the 3-0 win at Chelsea last year was as iconic a modern day performance as the club has managed. Just a real shame it didn't lead to the team really kicking on.
Niall Quinn claims that Sunderland have dropped their 'yo-yo club' tag. Do you agree with that and consider Sunderland now an established main stay of the Premier League, or is it a club you would still not be surprised to see involved in a relegation battle?
Jeff: It's very difficult to stay in the Premier League, so unless you have the sort of riches that Man City or Chelsea possess there can be no real guarantees. The slaps in the face that Gyan and Bent delivered Sunderland shows how quickly indifference can kick in if it's not managed properly. Clubs need to avoid getting into any financial difficulties too and I think that Niall Quinn precedes over a well run operation although I did raise an eyebrow when I looked at the length of contracts Steve Bruce gave to the likes of Wes Brown this year. That said there's nothing to suggest an imminent return to the championship,
I think all clubs like to pride themselves on quality of their support. Comparitively speaking, and as a neutral observer, how would you rate the Sunderland fans?
Jeff: Fantastic, all North East fans are hugely passionate and that is such an important feature. I still think of Sunderland as being something of a regional club, rather than one that draws fans in from a single city. There are a lot of historic links to catholic communities in the North East and you're just as likely to find a Sunderland fan in, say, Ashington as you are a Newcastle supporter.