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Barclays Premier League
Venue: Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Goals: Fletcher 10’ Lens 22’ Jenkinson 45’ Payet 60’
Red card: Lens 57’
Early October and Sunderland are still winless in the Premier League after we threw away a 2-0 lead over the Hammers at the Stadium of Light.
Before the game began, the atmosphere around the ground seems bleak. There’s always been a buzz surrounding the games before a ball’s been kicked, but I didn’t get the feeling for that today.
I’ve got mixed emotions about this one. First half, we were world class. Absolutely dominant from the get go and were 2-0 up in half an hour. I felt as though we should have been 3-0 up come half time because of the way that we were playing. Remember what I said about poor atmosphere before the game? After those goals we were rocking the joint, reminded me of Peter Reid’s early days at the SOL when all the games were must see affairs. We battered West Ham, one of the form teams of the league, for the entire first half. Borini, who was one of our stand out performers I thought, could have had a hat trick! I just felt that a combination of nerves and tiredness lead to the West Ham goal. The comeback continued into the second half, and that resulted in a stupid red card for Jermain Lens. We were just really unlucky. I can’t fault our players too much, heck even Billy Jones put in a good shift and I never imagined that I’d ever catch myself ever saying that.
Now let’s talk about the referee. What a fucking, disgusting, despicable showing! I know that the refs have a difficult job to do and they’re always under the microscope whenever a decision is made, but this was a woeful performance. Here’s a serious question for you; Do referees get disciplined for poor performance? Shocking refereeing and it wasn’t the first time this season where decisions have gone against us. Another question, how the hell did Noble and Jenkinson not get sent off? Their tacking was criminal.
Some of the blame does lie at Dick’s door. Why did he wait until the 84th minute to make some changes? I always believe that you should make your substitutions around the 65th – 75th minute mark. Get some fresh legs on and give it another go. Had he brought on his subs early on, I reckon the game would have been a whole lot different for us.
Speaking about Dick Advocaat, there have been rumours circling around the ground that he’s willing the leave the club regardless of today’s result. It’s easy to understand why that may be. He’s achieved a lot at Rangers, PSV and Zenit. He’s not used to losing or battling relegation and that must be frustrating for him. It was always his intention to retire at the end of last season, but he fell in love with the club and opted to stay on. Apparently, he got emotional when Lens made it 2-0 and after the game, he had a long embrace with Bilic which only adds more fuel to the fire regarding his decision.
Nothing has been confirmed as of yet, Dick has said in a post match interview that he has made a decision on his future and that’s all we know so far. I’m of the opinion that it’s true. He cares about the club and it shows too. I just felt that he’s been let down by the board with their lack of ambition, had he been appointed a few years ago instead of Steve Bruce, we would have been a totally different club then what we are now. Once I get some news on the situation I will report it here as soon as possible.
Football in the North East has been on the decline for the past few years now. Newcastle have just been on the receiving end of a 6-1 drubbing from Manchester City and I really do feel for them. I have favourable views on Newcastle. It’s a city that I love and I want to see them do well. All this ‘Geordies vs Mackems’ means nothing to me. I still remember the days when we were both doing well, sadly those days are way too long ago.
Current League Position (out of 20): 19th
Rif’s Man of the Match: Victor Moses (West Ham United): He’s only been on loan (from Chelsea) for a month and he’s proving to be a quality signing for the Hammers.
Next game: West Bromwich Albion @ The Hawthorns (Barclays Premier League)