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Roker Ramble - Phase 2: The Championslip

There’s nothing like a healthy dose of positivity; Preppy Peppy; the managerial roundabout, and the fabulous world of footballing fashion.

A general view of the Stadium of Light
Come on Saudi - you know you want it....

So, we successfully invoked Prexit. It went down like a treat, as did we, but now we’re in Phase 2 of the master plan: the ‘Championslip’.

As of right now we are on target to achieve our overall goal: total obscurity. The Sunderland Business Model - we share it with the world. We are the Norwegian Blue* of football clubs; the club that started ahead of our peers, went backwards and is gathering momentum heading rapidly in the wrong direction.

The only spanner in the works, the only thing that could stop us achieving our goal (because we’re not going to score any – hah!) is to be sold, but who’s going to look at us when our neighbours have just put their house on the market? And they have all the bits that we don’t have - like status, a team, a future, a good manager and furthermore, it’s up for sale at a special offer price:

To give an incoming owner the maximum possible flexibility to make meaningful investment in the club, including in its playing squad, the sale process will give interested parties the opportunity of deferring substantial payments.

They want to sell by Christmas. We want to sell before we have to sub-let the stadium to pay off any charges owed on players we sold three years ago that we can no longer afford.

We could hope that we get state sponsorship like Man City and flaunt the FFP with wild excesses of cash wielded extravagantly, but knowing our luck we’d probably end up with North Korea, or a buyout leveraged by Harvey Winestain.

Oh to be a Man City supporter – what must it be like? Another seven goals on Saturday, beautiful flowing football, the best players in the world sitting on the bench – but I’d hold my breath before I’d say they’re going to run away with the league. They were in the same position at this point last year and couldn’t keep it up.

Manchester City v Crystal Palace - Premier League
Roy - you have to stop playing with yourself.
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

True, they look much more like a Pep Guardiola side this season, and their insistence on playing out from the back, under any circumstances was evident in the Champions League victory over Napoli, but lets see how effective their first eleven is playing two games a week right through the season with no winter break.

That being said, I have to say I like the Guardiola change of image – out goes the suit, in comes the hoody and sweatshirt, and it works for me. Cool and casual, Pep is setting the trend.

I’m also impressed with Fabian Delph who could be this season’s Victor Moses as he quietly goes about proving his worth after a stint in the wilderness of football bench-warming.

Manchester City v SSC Napoli - UEFA Champions League
I got the habit from Roy Hodgson...
Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Of course cosy José is sitting on the shoulder waiting to step up, and he’s a piece of work isn’t he? Three months ago he was talking about ‘establishing a dynasty’ at United, and yet this weekend he’s indicating that he may not be around much longer.

He likes the look of PSG, but he also likes the look of a pay increase to continue his services in the north west. Given that he’s currently earning about 15 million p.a. at the mo it’s a reasonable request, and he’s probably better placed that any other manager to deliver the title. In which case he’ll probably get it.

Not in such a strong bargaining position is Craig Shakespeare, who doesn’t have one any more. Step forward Alan Pardew, your time has come, unless the Leicester board have their eyes on another Marco Silva plying his trade in the shadows somewhere, top management pickings are pretty thin on the ground at the moment.

Big Sam is the big prize of course, but I can’t see him giving up the easy life for Leicester. He also ‘ruled himself out of contention’ for the Scotland job this week, but did say:

You never know what might come up, but if it is something where I could bring a lot of success then I could be interested.

He should bloody well come back to us then, but that’s not going to happen. He did drop David Moyes’ name into the frame for Scotland manager, whilst Moyes at the same time was doing something he never did for us - thinking positively:

My first choice would be to go back to club management but if Scotland are interested, they know where to find me.


Arsenal v Sunderland - Premier League
Davey dole-waller.
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

I think Leicester are looking very dodgy right now, and I don’t think Mahrez and Vardy are the type of players to haul a team up by their bootstraps. But you never know – it’ll be interesting to see who they bring in to steady the ship.

And it’s interesting that the man, more than any other, responsible for Leicester’s success, Steve Walsh, can’t replicate it at Everton despite the increase in funds and resources available to him. Last season they looked like they had the right blend with a good manager, young players coming through and experience to really move up to the next level in the Premier League; however, despite spending £140 million over the summer, they’re still in the relegation zone. Not quite stage one Prexit, but they can see it from where they are.

Funny old game. Well, there were two main things that stood out for me from this weekend’s football, one was the size of Marco Silva’s wristwatch which looked like he could download images from the Hubble telescope, and the second was the Huddersfield away strip.

Swansea City v Watford - Premier League
And the left button is Buzz Lightyears' laser beam.....
Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Described by Huddersfields official website as “a return to the’ iconic’ Flash kit” –whatever that means, it’s a cross between a Daz packet and the superhero costume of Burnt Red Sandwich Man.

However, The Telegraph were less then complimentary:

There is nothing iconic about this new disgrace, with black smeared hoops which look like the waveform of a poorly mastered, low bitrate MP3.

Ouch. Someone isn’t impressed.

Swansea City v Huddersfield Town - Premier League
After a while it hurts your eyes....
Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

See, it’s comments like this that stifle creativity in the crazy world of fashion and football. Where’s their sense of fun? Some of us need it more than others at the moment.

I’m going now to see if I can work out how to convince Saudi Arabia to buy the club.

*Monty Python – Dead Parrot Sketch

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