Attention to detail
Everything about the match experience yesterday was fantastic.
You can see the attention to detail in just about everything - the new owners are really trying their best to make sure that, from start to beginning, the entire experience is as good as it can be.
The FanZone before the game was buzzing. The crowd that was already in the ground was anticipating the players walking out onto the pitch, and even the pre-match playlist was well thought out and put together with the mood of the supporters in mind.
Then we had Juan Sartori and Charlie Methven excitedly flitting around at pitchside to drink the entire experience in. It really was great watching Sartori fist-pumping as the South Stand sang songs ahead of kick off.
I just loved yesterday, even before a ball was kicked.
Here’s hoping it continues right throughout this season.
The mood has changed
The most poignant moment of the whole game yesterday came when we went a goal behind. In the past you’d have heard boos, moans and groans - but not any more.
When Lyle Taylor tucked away his penalty, the entire stadium roared and got behind the Sunderland players - and that was very important.
Changing the whole mentality of the club from top to bottom is one of the biggest tasks that the club’s new owners and the manager face, but yesterday was definitely a step in the right direction.
Hearing the whole stadium sing and get behind the players was heart-warming - it was a clear sign that everyone is buying into the new vision that the club has for their future.
Superb character to get in the game
Sunderland showed immense character to come from behind and win the game.
In the past we’d have crumbled at 1-0 down, and probably would have lost by 2 or 3. Instead, the Lads reemerged after the half time break and really looked up to the challenge.
Something Stewart Donald said on our Podcast about Chris Maguire stood out - that he’d never shrink when the game isn’t going in our favour. He was right - the former Oxford man was absolutely immense, and ran the show once he was given a free role to do as he pleased in the second period.
The likes of George Honeyman, Lynden Gooch and Bryan Oviedo stood up to be counted too. It was just nice to see certain players grab the game by the scruff of the neck and drag us back into it - we haven’t often done that in recent years.
There’s no sweeter way to win a game than coming from behind to snatch it at the death, and whilst I’m sure Jack Ross would have preferred a more comfortable victory, it will do the confidence of his players the world of good having taken all three points in the manner that we did.
Bali Mumba - wise beyond his years
I still can’t believe that Bali Mumba is only sixteen years old.
He only went to his school prom last month!
This young man has an incredibly bright future ahead of him, and in his first ‘proper’ game as a first teamer he stood out and did not look out of place in amongst some far more experienced and wily players.
I only counted him making one bad pass in the whole game. He retained possession well, kept things ticking over and got stuck in when he needed to.
We have some very decent midfield players in our squad, but all of them should be very aware of the fact that Bali Mumba is here to make an impression in the first team. If he keeps playing like he did yesterday he will not lose his place in the side.