I’m a bit hesitant in being too effervescent about the weekend’s events. We won on Saturday against fellow strugglers, Hull - our first win of 2018 and we were at home, which means the home win thing won’t be happening this year. But, this came after three consecutive losses; the last being a 4-0 spanking at just-as-bad-as-us Cardiff.
Unusually for me, I had last week’s piece all done and sent to the queue in Roker Report towers before, Managing Editor, Gav, had time to chase me up. When I let him know I had filed my piece, he came back with “Cheers, Nic, utterly deflated and fed up here to be honest. There’s not even hope any more.” And that’s how it felt last week.
But a week’s a long time in football, my friend. A win against Hull - and the style in which we did it - has given me the feeling that the promise shown by the Chris Coleman appointment may finally be starting to show.
First of all was his reaction to Jack Rodwell’s ill-advised Daily Mail interview, which simultaneously undermined Rodwell and boosted the confidence of the youngsters he then threw into the team - young talent that responded with the free-flowing football which produced the superb goal we scored in order to beat Hull. Ten passes, no less - with Lee Cattermole involved twice.
Coleman’s penchant for no-nonsense straight talking will see him become a big favourite with the fans, and the players will respond to his honesty. Rodwell’s mealy-mouthed appeal in the Daily Mail of all papers should go down as one of the biggest foot-shooting incidents in the history of football. Who in Sunderland reads the Mail? Coleman’s withering assessment was spot on.
I can’t drag him [Rodwell] onto the pitch and say ‘please Jack, come and play football for Sunderland,’ and I shouldn’t have to. We’re sitting the day before a big game talking about a player that doesn’t want to play for the club.
We’ve had false hope before, but this win was long overdue.
A brother of an old school friend of mine said he went to the Hull game and that the stadium was a completely different place from his last visit, when we took on Reading. The players were actually trying, which in turn was transmitted to the stands - and they sent a positive response back.
Maybe, Gav, there is hope after all.