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A lot of the cracks that have been showing within SAFC in recent months have suddenly turned into gaping chasms. We’ve been knocked out of both cup competitions and the target that we set in the summer of a top six finish now seems extremely unlikely. It is now difficult to say what we would class as a successful season from this point. A few wins might well push us back towards a European place, yet we have spent the whole season looking anxiously over our shoulders at the bottom three. When we were last relegated in 1997, it was at this point of the season when we were sucked towards the bottom of the table. Obviously we are much stronger now and relegation is unthinkable, but it is still a possibility at this stage.

Given our recent run of bad form, it is understandable that many fans are calling for the head of Peter Reid. After all, if there was ever a chance to resurrect our season, the games over New Year against Blackburn, Ipswich, Villa, West Brom and Everton were the games to do it. Unfortunately, we’ve looked short of ideas in all of these games and everybody is now looking for answers. Though much of the criticism has been levelled towards Peter Reid and, to some extent, Bob Murray, our coaching staff has also taken a lot of flak, Bobby Saxton and Adrian Heath in particular.

According to our sources, during a recent players’ meeting, aimed at finding out what’s going wrong, Stefan Schwarz is believed to of criticised our coaching methods. Rather than take this into account and act on the back of it (Schwarz has been around the block a bit, after all) Peter Reid apparently elected to send Schwarz home for a month. Yet many fans now agree with these sentiments, feeling that we are playing with outdated methods and that the long diagonal ball to the front man simply doesn’t work. Reacting to criticism in this manner can surely do nothing for team morale.

Supporters are even more exasperated than normal at our lack of transfer activity given the team’s recent failings. Not a day goes by without us being linked with a top quality player. Carew, Christie, Jancker and Zamora, to name just a few, have been ‘expected to sign’ in recent weeks, yet nothing has materialised. Many blame this on Reid’s inability to spend big, many blame Murray ’s reluctance to part with his cash. Given the return from the £12m that Reid has spent so far this season, you might understand a Chairman’s unwillingness to part with more. Although Claudio Reyna looks an outstanding player, only McAteer and Hass have been involved regularly at a combined total of £1.75m. They are both good grafters, but neither have set the world alight and the £7.1m spent on ‘big’ signings Laslandes and Medina seems nothing short of ridiculous.

Fans too, it seems, are not beyond criticism. Many supporters berate the stayaway fans that chose not to attend the FA Cup game at the SoL while players plea for us to get behind them – surely a prerequisite whatever the situation. These are trying times at Sunderland. But what does the future hold for us? New players? New coach? New manager? Something needs to change, and fast. I’m afraid if it doesn’t, all of the good work might yet be undone, and worse than that, this boring football may continue.

THE MAG DESTROYER - prime cuts of red and white from the reid era

Steve Agnew’s Head

With his aerodynamic barnet, our man can shave vital milliseconds off those 70-yard upfield dashes. Handy for the bar at half time, though claims that ‘lasses love a bit of it” remain unconfirmed.

SuperKev’s Eye For Goal

Apparently, he scores lots of goals, not that the ignorant tossers at Diadora would know. The Sultan of Sunderland, and Mag Destroyer has his eyes.

Bally’s Gob

When Peter Reid shouts jump, people ask how high. When Bally whispers it, crack ninja samurai fellas shit their pants – the best motivator in SAFC’s history.

Niall Quinn’s Chest

Attracts the ball like a magnet, puts it on a team-mate’s toe with digital accuracy.

Alex Rae’s Elbows

Clinically tested on Daryll Powell, David Ginola and Trevor Sinclair, these awesome weapons are more than a match for any stinking, henking Newcastle scum.

Darren Williams’ Hands

After six seasons of frantic post-match clapping, these teflon instruments are unbelievably showing no signs of wear. It may be over the top, but at least he makes you feel appreciated.

Paul Butler's Thighs

Years of dedicated pie-munching has spawned legs like tree-trunks, as thick as an elephants turd and twice as horrible. Perfect for sitting on that twat Shearer.

Nicky Summerbee's Right Foot

Could open a bra-strap with a football from fifty yards could Nicky. Actually, that's rubbish, but we're yet to see a decent cross since he left, and his right peg is ours.

Martin Smith's Left foot

Son of Pele, Cousin of Cruyff, Sunderland enigma. Believe the hype.

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