both revered idols and scrutinised villains of the modern sporting age. They
are lamented by followers of the game and otherwise as overpaid and are very
often disgraced on a large public scale with public and private scandals
emerging frequently. In recent months this has been more evident than ever.
Instead of tabloid sex confessions and sordid granny prostitute scandals that
had been of late; the game has of recent digressed to an even more contentious
issue, with two of the Premier League giant clubs and most well-known players
being central to two separate allegedly racially motivated abusive incidents.
Again then, we await the
weekend with a massive game upon us. This time, not a derby one (a regular twice-a-season
occurrence) but something that comes at a far greater rarity to us Sunderland
fans… an important cup fixture. We are one game away from a trip to Wembley.
Rightfully so (or not for traditionalists), a Semi Final game there awaits us,
and it could be as little as 90 minutes away. I’ve never been to Wembley with
Sunderland before, nor ever in any circumstance, having no interest at all in
This year has been different,
as far as derby preparations go. Usually, I would be all for ‘friendly’ banter
with the unwashed. But, last year changed everything. I’ll never be confident
again, even jokily so. It’s not an attribute I ordinarily hold, being a Sunderland
fan…over-confidence. But last year I
probably was. We had been on a good run until then, and admittedly, I thought
we were going to win on our jaunt to St James Park on October 31th 2010.
Of course, we didn’t. It was
one of my worst days supporting Sunderland.
July 2006. I was
a 12 year old in Dublin, Ireland with my parents for a pre-season friendly with
Shelbourne football club. I have the most terrifyingly vague memory of being
outside a packed pub of Sunderland fans with a Sky Sports News camera shoved in
my face, being asked about what I thought of Niall Quinn taking over what I think,
was the managerial role.
We had just
suffered a couple of months before, another record-breaking low points total
relegation from the Premier League. The season had been disastrous, with £1.
Twitter: is it a good idea for footballers to have it? It is an extremely tetchy subject for journalists and managers alike and has been debated over a lot, in the last year or so. As Sunderland fans, we have no shortage of our players who we can follow for exclusive tidbits and a personal insight into their mindset- their likes, dislikes, and training ground ‘banter’.
Football as an industry is ever-evolving, with global fan bases massively extending and economic investment growing accordingly too.
What is a derby
game and why does it mean so much to fans? If you think of it, in football
senses alone, the classics come to mind. City Vs United, Liverpool Vs Everton
and of course Rangers Vs Celtic. In the latter, and in many other Scottish
derby rivalries, the game itself has come to signify more than just a sporting
contest- holding ideological and religious significance.
The contest between the undisputable two most
successful Scottish football clubs is probably the fiercest of them known to
the British game.
Welcome to what is a new feature here at Seventy3magazine.co.uk -The Cat's Whiskers, an off the cuff blog from Sunderland enthusiast and top blogger Kelly-Leigh Cooper. You can follow her on twitter here (@jellyyyx).
(She also has her own blog over atwww.kelly-leigh.com, give it a read if you have a spare 5 minutes..)
What Martin O’ Neill’s impact has proven most is the flaws in his predecessor’s performance as our manager.