“The Mags are going down, the Mags are going down, and now you’re gonna believe us and now you’re gonna to believe us and now you’re gonna believe us… The Mags are going down!”
Sorry I couldn’t resist. What a feeling that was on Wednesday night against Everton. The Stadium of Light was packed to the rafters and when Patrick van Aanholt put us one goal to the good, the stadium exploded.
The noise seemed even louder four minutes later when Lamine Koné put us two goals up with a thunderbolt of a goal. If it wasn’t for the net, that ball could well have killed someone given the speed it was travelling.
The concourse was bouncing at half-time, mainly with chants about Newcastle’s imminent relegation, and it was nice to have that feel good emotion back again at Sunderland. It doesn’t get much better than relegating your rivals from up the road, especially when they supposedly have one of the “best managers in the world”.
Apparently it wasn’t enough games (10) for Rafa Benitez to keep them up. But is he really such a good manager when the likes of a severely inexperienced Ricky Sbragia kept us up? When Paolo Di Canio kept us up with seven games and Dick Advoccat managed it with Danny Graham up front?
All this makes it all the more sweeter that such a “big club” are now in the Football League.
I can’t put across how much of a tremendous job Sam Allardyce has done since taking over, especially in the last 11 games of the season. Sunderland only lost once in their last 11 games and that was only against Premier League champions Leicester City. The last six games we picked up 12 points, which was even more impressive, even more so when you look back at how important it was to come back from a goal down against Chelsea, twice, to win 3-2.
If it wasn’t for Jermain Defoe, there is no way we would still be in the Premier League. His goals were the reason we survived, but now we must look at finding him a strike partner, as Fabio Borini hasn’t been very clinical in front of goal this season.
It is imperative now that we give ‘Big Sam’ the backing he deserves in the summer transfer window. His signings of Koné and Wahbi Khazri in the January transfer window were a major help in our Premier League survival and I believe Allardyce has proven that he can be trusted in the transfer window.
With the right signings and Allardyce in charge, I’m reasonably confident that we won’t be in a relegation battle next season. However, knowing our luck, we’ll be bottom in mid-October and we’ll have a new manager in charge.
It was nice to see some of the under-21s play in the final game against Watford and, if it wasn’t for some horrific officiating from Kevin Friend, we probably would have won that game, instead of drawing 2-2. All five of the youth team that played against Watford impressed.
Thomas Robson put in a strong performance at left back; Rees Greenwood was a handful all day and George Honeyman also put in a good performance. Duncan Watmore and Jordan Pickford also played, although they already have Premier League appearances under their belts. Hopefully, some of them may be a part of the first-team next season.
With the finish we had to the season, I’m quite disappointed it’s over, but you only have to look back at our winless December to realise it maybe isn’t a bad thing it’s come to an end.
For now, I’ll bask in the glory of securing our Premier League status for another season, while Newcastle battle it out in the Championship. Thanks for reading throughout the season and this season just shows how important it is to keep the faith!