Hello you hysterical lot who think "we are going to win leagues" © Steve Bruce and Phil Bardsley.
Yes, it has been a grim week for us all trying to come to terms with our esteemed and silver-tongued Player of the Year dropping the shocking bombshell that Sunderland are, in fact, NOT going to win the Premier League. In fact, Chris Weatherspoon hasn't been seen on Roker Report at all since Bardsley's stunning revelation and we are just going to assume that the Salford Scot has crushed his morale and he has spent the last week sat in his shower, hugging his knees, and slowly rocking back as the cold water from the shower dilutes his tears, weepily repeating over and over "why Phil, WHY?!".
Yes... that's the assumption we are sticking with no matter what he says.
The rest of us steadied our resolve and got on with another week of Roker Reporting which, once again, began with looking back on another win-less weekend for Sunderland. I stepped into Chris' now presumably soaking shoes to have a look at the what went wrong and what we did well against Fulham last week in Talking Tactics.
Next up, 'The Man Of 1000 Ryhmes', as Dan has specifically asked to be known from this point onwards, cleared his throat and delivered another belter. As those enlightened enough to follow Dan on Twitter (@daninfrance, by the way) will have noted of late, Dan is cutting a frustrated and angry figure these days. Bad for Mrs Williams and their new kitten, but tremendous news for the world of poetry.
It was all going well for David Boyle this week. He produced a Top Ten that seemed universally popular and that he could even get his man-crush victim Dariusz Kubicki onto. Life was great in Casa de Boyle. Then someone left a comment questioning the validity of some of his choices of 'bargain basement buys' and he came crashing back down to earth. 'Michael Eve', whoever you are... I hope you are happy, because you are a HERO to me this week.
'Michael Graham wades into the racism debate' were 7 little words that Simon Walsh had feared and that had the SB Nation legal team frantically stocking copious amounts of coffee and red bull just in case their work load saw a sudden huge increase. Thankfully, no threats of a legal nature are pending so I may have got away with this week's Roker Ramble, in which I tried to put a fresh perspective on football's current difficulties with alleged racism.
Then it was my turn again! That'll teach me for taking the mick out of Simon Walsh's betting tips in last week's 'Week That Was'! Well, it won't, because I am fundamentally ignorant. Anyway, it was time for another Captain's Blog, and perhaps the last for a while as we open up the floor to the other Roker Report writers leaving me to channel my efforts elsewhere. This time, I implored Steve Bruce to trust Ryan Noble more and give him more of a chance to show how his natural game is exactly what the team currently lacks.
About time we named Roker Report's choice for Player Of The Month. Want to know who we chose? You'll just have to click the link below then, won't you...
It had to happen eventually, didn't it? Sunderland have depressed us all that much of late that they actually reduced us to talking about football on the podcast. Yes, OK Sunderland, you've got your way and stopped us besmirching your 'brand' with our usual dose of weekly nonsense in your name. You can start winning football matches again now. We'll behave, I promise.
As ever, we next turned to David Boyle to start getting us in the mood for a weekend's football by reminding us of a likeable chap who happened to play for both us and this weekend's opposition. Very popular choice this week - David Connolly.
The rest of the week belonged to our nefarious overlord Simon Walsh. First, he had a look at Graig Gardner and whether he should be considered a flop or whether we can expect more to come from him.
I don't mind admitting that the following is my favourite ever piece on Roker Report. As we mentioned last week, the club are moving the away fans in the ground and as a result some season ticket holders are being moved. The scheme has overwhelming support, but some selfish people just love to make a fuss. Simon had a carefully considered retort for the gentleman who went crying to the Sunderland Echo about being asked to move seats.
Luckily, Simon was in a more welcoming and less hate-filled mood by the time our opposition fan arrived at Roker Report Towers for Fan Focus. How are Wigan fans appraoching the game? Find out here.
And where would we be without our usual Preview? Music, betting, predictions, classic encounters and absolutely not criticism from me as I want an easier week next week!
Normally at this point I'd recommend a few bits and pieces from around the footballing blogosphere for you to check out, but I am not doing that this week. The reasons for this are three-fold...
1 - You lucky lucky people have had far too many goodies already from us this week and we shouldn't really spoil you this close to Christmas.
2 - I'm knackered.
3 - I am interpreting the 'blue screen of death' that has just crashed my computer as a formal threat of strike action if I don't give it and my keyboard a rest.
Oh, and if anyone finds Chris Weatherspoon, please return him. Pop him in a blanket and leave him on our doorstep. Bit like ET. If you decide you want to keep him for a pet, however, be advised that he drinks - A LOT, and has been known to bite. But he is a brilliant Christmas present for any relatives or friends you might know who want their very own pet Father Jack Hackett.
That was the Week That Was. See you next time.