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End Of Season Views From... Iain Macintosh

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Muntari - Rubbish.
Muntari - Rubbish.

The star names just keep on coming on Roker Report this week, and today kicks off with Iain Macintosh, a superb fella who we have had on Roker Report before, talking about footballers and their Twitter escapades to give us his end of season opinions on the lads.

For the uninitiated, Iain is now a resident of the North East, and well amongst things in the North East press pack, working for The New Paper, as well as being featured in The Blizzard, not to mention his own Podcast and blog, the ever excellent Red, White & Blue. Oh, did I mention he's a columnist on SI.com and in The Irish Examiner too? You literally cannot escape him. That's very much a good thing.

So after all this, get on over to http://www.redwhiteandblue.tv/ subscribe to their pod, and just generally have a read around. It's all Grade A.

Now though, let us present to you, Iain's thoughts and opinions...

Player Of The Season?

Iain: Phil Bardsley has been consistently impressive, a real driving force in the defence. He's had a superb season, even when his colleagues have floundered.

Young Player Of The Season?

Iain: He faded, quite understandably, towards the end, but Jordan Henderson has started all but one of Sunderland's games and he's acquitted himself remarkably well for a 20 year old. And there's more to come.

Best Signing Of The Season?

Iain: He's had his wobbly moments, but Simon Mignolet has offered exceptional value for money. I have to admit, I'd never heard of him when he arrived, but he can be proud of his contribution.

Worst Player Of The Season?

Iain: I don't what's happened to Cristian Riveros. He looked a tidy enough player at the World Cup, but he's been nowhere near the grade for Sunderland.

Most Disappointing Signing Of The Season?

Iain: I can't have been the only person to expect big things from Sulley Muntari, but he never really imposed himself on anything.

Goal Of The Season?

Iain: Nedum. Chelsea. Hot. Knife. Through. Butter.

Game Of The Season?

Iain: It's hard to say anything else other than That Win at Stamford Bridge, isn't it?

Out of ten, what would you rate Steve Bruce’s performance as manager this season?

Iain: It's a solid six. Losing Darren Bent was a body-blow and the injuries have been absolutely ridiculous, but this squad shouldn't ever have been thinking about relegation. Maybe next year, he'll get a bit of luck.

Which one moment summed up SAFC’s entire season?

Iain: Michael Dawson's equaliser just before half-time in February. For 44 minutes, Sunderland had pulled Tottenham's pants down in front of everyone, but they just couldn't take advantage. Then, in an instant, it was 1-1 and Spurs had the momentum. Sunderland would go on to lose. They are so close to being a good team, but they're not ruthless enough at either end.

Of the loanees this season, which if any would you like to see stay permanently?

Iain: Nedum Onuoha. He's not just a cracking player, he's a nice chap. But he is a cracking player.

Which player should be first out the door in the summer?

Iain: Barring Bardsley, Henderson, Cattermole and Gyan, I don't think any of them should consider themselves safe.

Give us one player you think SAFC simply must buy this summer (within reason)...

Iain: I wonder if Nicklas Bendtner could be tempted up from Arsenal. Like Bent, he might prosper if he's made to feel that his starting place is safe, he offers some much needed physicality, he's still very young and he's actually a lot better than people give him credit.

What was your personal highlight of the season, something we might not know about?

Iain: Being welcomed to the NE presspack with such genuine warmth. I'd covered London games for three years and, while there are a few nice people working down there, it's not a particularly friendly environment. Up here it's completely different and, for an Essex boy a long, long way from home, that's been wonderful. To a man/woman, the journalists up here are splendid people.

And finally, any other thoughts or comments on how you feel the season went?

Iain: Sunderland are so close, they really are, and it would be a great shame if Bruce departed. It's not so much talent that is lacking, though a bit more of that wouldn't go amiss. It's the mentality that's stopping this club pushing up. Heads go down to easily, poor form takes a hold too quickly. Some of the football this season has been gorgeous, but until they get gritty, until they can force out results on the road, they're going to struggle to kick on.

We'd like to thank Iain for his fantastic contribution, and you can thank him by buying is brilliant book Football Fables now on Amazon. If you're a bit skint though, just follow him on Twitter - @iainmacintosh for more top class craic.