What a great week it has been, snugly sandwiched between the cracking win at Bolton and the return of Darren Bent following his acrimoneous abDICKation. You can tell it has been a special week by just looking at the Roker Report team. David Boyle's joy was so tangible that, for the briefest of seconds, he thought about getting fired up about something. It was a week that provoked Chris Weatherspoon to venture back onto the podcast for a rare appearance. I myself even considered smiling at one point this week. Meanwhile, Simon couldn't even muster the required level of cantankerousness to prevent an appearance of Abba on his beloved Roker Report. Dan? Not sure if Dan is in a good mood. I haven't checked the Barnsley score...
But anyway, despite suspicions to the contrary, the Roker Report team love nothing more than having a Sunderland win to sing from the rooftops about, so sing we did! And here is where we shamelessly brag about it.This week, we decided to break from the tradition of starting a fresh round of Roker Reporting by looking back at a defeat, by looking back at a win instead! That wasn't the biggest shock, though. That was that having attended the game, and despite what must have been a doozy of a hangover, Chris still possessed the clarity of thought needed to accurately dissect the win in Talking Tactics.
Question: Have you ever seen a man write a poem about a game of football he didn't see? That was the challenge that faced Dan Williams this week, so naturally it is a short, but good, one!
All going swimmingly at this stage, so it was time to throw a loose cannon into the mix. That can only mean one man, and that is David Boyle. The burning issue on everyone's minds was whether he could get through a Roker Report week without an outpouring of derision, pity, and general disillusionment from readers and Texan Billionaires. Dave is, if nothing else, a trier, and he came out fighting with a Top Ten free from glaring errors and a universally approved top spot. His subject this week? Acts of Sunderland goalkeeping heroics.
In the Roker Ramble, I myself took the opportunity to implore the authorities to stop needlessly obstructing fans from making a connection with their players by no longer dishing out petty punishments for displays of personality.
Have you ever wondered why Simon does what he does and puts up with us lot on Roker Report? The answer is simple - he gets free stuff! One such freebie was a DVD documentary about the Benin national team which, naturally, features our own Stephane Sessegnon. He reviewed it, and told us all about it.
Wednesday has long been established as the day you lot are asked to put up with my inane ramblings on all things SAFC. Captain's Blog this week was largely about attempting to put in to words just why we dislike Darren B£nt so much, and what made his departure so especially galling. The national press read it (more on that later) so you'd might as well too!
We continued our 'My First Game' feature with a bit of an epic this week. Roker Park's last game was to be one young man's first. Read it, love it, and if you'd like to tell us your own story then please get in touch!
Dan took a break from the perils of supporting his beloved Barnsley (I jest Dan, and will continue to do so until you fulfil your agreed act of redemption...) by exploring the strange relationship between the length of David Meyler's absense and his growing reputation for being generally brilliant at everything.
Thursday saw the release of the latest podcast. Episode 30 saw Simon, David, and Chris discuss a whole range of juicy topics, and also had a question of the week that saw them questioning my mental stability yet resulting in a pun so good it literally validates transvestism.
Remember the national press we mentioned earlier? Well on Thursday they reflected the fact that Roker Report is THE number one Sunderland AFC destination on the Internet by quoting us. So basically, we decided to pat ourselves on the back and crow a little because we are just that vain.
About this time, our attention started to turn to the Aston Villa game. In classic David Boyle fashion, he had backed himself into a bit of a corner this week by doing his top 'played for both' Villa Cult Heroes candidates on the back of spells for other teams. He had to actually engage his brain and think about it and, with cobwebs hanging out of his ears, he came up with an absolute corker.
Just how does a born and bred mackem end up playing in the lower leagues of US Soccer? Now there is a question. Luckily, we have the answer, as Dan Williams found one to ask.
Darren Bent has certainly added some real bite and almost derby-like fizzle to Sunderland's meetings with Aston Villa this season. But did you know that the National Football Museum cites Sunderland and Villa as 'the world's first football rivalry'? I was astonished to discover that many were unaware of this, so I found us a man to tell us all about it. Simply a must-read for all Sunderland fans.
We continued the education by stumbling across a quite surprising little fact. Apparently, there is a manager more moaned about by his own club's fans than Steve Bruce! Simon caught up with our Villa-man Damian Dugdale of The Villa Blog and found out how the opposition were feeling about this weekend's game.
And that all leads us to what, ultimately, this website is all about - covering Sunderland games. Simon Walsh concluded the build-up with the preview. I am amazed it hasn't been tweeted 17 days a day from the Roker Report account all week, but Simon finally produced a winning bet last week. Can he repeat the trick or was it the total fluke that his record suggests? We will see!
We would normally direct you around the rest of the interweb at this juncture for goodies from other sites, but we are not going to this week. That is mainly because we want to shamelessly plug ourselves instead!
With Christmas coming and a little more track record behind us, we have decided to respond to the overwhelming clamour to re-launch the Roker Report shop. It should be noted, that there was no actual discernible clamour for this at all, but we thought it might be fun.
We've made the best-selling products available again from our previous collection, along with a few fancy new designs, largely inspired by the sheer Karl Pilkingtonness of David Boyle. Be sure to stay tuned for other new designs being added in the coming weeks too.
And that, pretty much, is that. Another week has flown by on Roker Report! See you next time!