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Sunderland v Shrewsbury Town - Sky Bet League One

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Talking Points: What can we take away from Sunderland’s last gasp win over the Shrews?

Love for the Menai Maestro, the joys of a late winner, respect for Alex Neil, and no respect for the boo-boys. Yes, there’s plenty to discuss after an early Easter resurrection at the Stadium of Light.

Harddwch!
| Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Broadhead is a cut above

I just love him, and it’s not simply because he’s a lad from around where I live. He’s simply one of those footballers who oozes quality. The way he strikes a football, the way he carries himself across the playing surface, the way he clearly absolutely lives for scoring goals - Nathan Broadhead is a joy to watch and we need to get promoted if only to be able to sign him permanently.

11 goals in 20 games... Rob Page is missing a huge trick not having him in the Welsh senior squad, but it’s only a matter of time surely. Bendigedig, mab.

Sunderland v Shrewsbury Town - Sky Bet League One
Ti’n fwcin diemwnt bach!
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

It’s not good for us... but we love it!

If we’d waltzed through this game with a 2-0 or 3-0 win, would anyone remember the Good Friday 2022 game at the Stadium of Light? I doubt it. It would just be one more routine home victory - a stepping stone to the bigger fixture down in Devon on Easter Monday.

Yes, the opening two goals were from strikes of the highest quality, “different gravy” was how one Shrewsbury podcast described our play in the first quarter of the game. The capitulation at the start of the second half, the inevitability that Flanagan would be on the scoresheet, Stewart hitting the bar from three yards out... it all made that final little flicked header from the Menai Maestro that bit more dramatic.

Football is an entertainment business, after all!

Sunderland v Shrewsbury Town - Sky Bet League One
Cae dy geg, Dref Amwythig!
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Alex Neil really knows what he’s doing!

There are many different ways to get the most out of a football team, and Alex Neil seems to have gathered a fair few of them in his toolbox over the years. The man knows his stuff, his post-match comments following that game exuded both experience, honesty, and a relentless focus on improvement that bodes very well for the future - both this season and in coming years.

As much as I was gutted that Lee Johnson was sacked as I desperately wanted it to work for him, and as frustrated as I was by the slowness of the recruitment process, I was relieved when he was appointed. I thought he would be more than a safe pair of hands, and he’s proving to be just the kind of manager who can actually unite the fanbase behind him.

Why do I believe he can do it? I think it’s got the potential to be one of those appointments that comes along in football that just seems to fit.

Right man, right club, right time - even to a certain extent, the right squad mix for the right type of head coach at the right point in the club’s history.

Like Sean Dyche at Burnley (ahem!), like Sam Allardyce at Bolton, like Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, or like Emma Hayes at Chelsea... in the afterglow of that win, with a couple of ales inside me, it kinda just feels right.

Sunderland v Shrewsbury Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Din’t boo your own players, man!

We’re all entitled to our opinions about football, that’s literally the point of this website after all. Some of us like certain players, others can’t see the appeal. Only a small number are universally and unreservedly admired by everyone. But it’s down to the gaffer to make the choice of players and when the whistle goes, our role in this drama is to cheer them on to victory.

So what are things coming to when those lads either on the pitch being subbed off, or those waiting to come on, are jeered and booed by their own “supporters”?

I use quotation marks because I literally don’t see how such behaviour is showing support to the football club or helping the team achieve on the pitch. Some could try to explain away these incidents by saying it wasn’t intended to be booing the player rather passing a legitimate comment upon the manager’s decision - either way, the effect is the same.

Maybe I was brought up on the terraces differently from some, but my Dad once gave me a right earful about how a supporter is there to support their team when I shouted something derogatory about tank engines to Thomas Hauser when I was around the age of nine, and it’s a lesson I’ve carried with me ever since.

Thankfully, I don’t think the booers and jeerers are anywhere near a majority, but they were an audible minority on the club’s live stream that went out to fans up and down the country and around the world.

So aye, call me a happy clapper if you like, and if you booed I’ll call you an embarrassment. It’s a matter of opinion, after all.

Sunderland v Crewe Alexandra - Sky Bet League One Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images
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