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gun control...
gus reveals transfer role

Gus Poyet has revealed his role in the recruitment of players after continued uncertainty, unhelped of course by the comments by Paolo Di Canio that he didn't choose any of the 14 players who arrived under his tenure. Gus admitted: "I've got a yes or no on a player. Every player who comes here, I agree. There is no-one among the ones we signed in the summer that I said 'no' and the club said 'yes'. That doesn't mean I choose every single player. Let's not be naive. There is a working system, a recruiting system where we look at players and look at options and, from those options, we're going to pick one or the other. (Fabio) Borini and Marcos Alonso were easy for me. They were my picks. They are not here, but Buckley was my pick and he is here. That was no recruitment system, it was me. But that's how it works in any other place."

Poyet also acknowledged that sue to the Di Canio debacle, he must be wary of passing blame over transfers: "Look, I know that normally it sounds very negative and I understand why because of what happened in the past. But I'm just trying to be honest and say I'm the head coach. It sounded like 'don't blame me now' but I was saying that when Billy (Jones) was fit and when Sebber (Sebastian Coates) played against Stoke that we were short. What I said was that I don't want eight players at the back, I want seven. We started the season with six. I'd have been contradicting myself. Now it's easier we've got one more."

The Uruguayan has also revealed a policy he has in regards to apologising, admitting that he's not a fan of apologies, and has broken his own rule by apologising after Southampton. He explained: "I set up a thing in my teams which is a bit contradictory to most other managers. I don't like people coming into the dressing room and saying sorry. The reason is that if you make a mistake, you come to the rest and say sorry, and they say 'good man'. The next week, another makes a mistake and says sorry and it's OK. Then you think if you make a mistake, it's not a problem. Don't say sorry. Swallow it. We know, we're looking at you! I don't want to have the chance to say sorry, so don't give it me. I need to feel that your mistake was our mistake, so we don't make another mistake. I'm not the type of person that likes to apologise. But, yes, I have to say sorry for this one to the fans. They were great, they stood by us, kept singing and stayed in. I suppose they knew better than me that it was something unique."

Ahead of our match against Arsenal, John O'Shea has been singing the praises of old team-mate Danny Welbeck, who he reckons was always destined for greatness. O'Shea said: "You were well aware of his potential, just because of the type of attitude he had. He was one of those that when he did come and train with the first-team, he wasn't afraid to try anything. As well as that, he was harassing defenders as well. You could see his attitude was going to take him a long way."

"I know Danny very well and he's made a quick start to life down at Arsenal. Playing in a central role he's flourished. He's been looking to do that for a long time now. But he's the type of lad whose unselfish and is willing to put the work in for the team. He did that at United whether he was on the left or the right. But as you'd expect with the type of players Arsenal have, he's getting little combination play and he offers that threat in behind too. We're fully aware of his capabilities."

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arsenal preview...
by sam lightle

One step forward eight steps back.

Just when we thought, we were on the up in typical Sunderland fashion; we crashed and burned in style. It was a shambolic performance against Southampton, and yet again it's a result that's left Poyet with no other praise but for our simply amazing fans.

Yes we know we have the best fans in the league and he knows that we'll stick by the lads through thick and thin - but for heaven's sake when will the players start producing consistent performances that we (fans) deserve?

Result aside this Saturday, Arsenal are tricky opposition, but there are points that can be won and lost. And if the players go out on to the pitch with big points to prove we could well leave Arsenal standing in our wake; after their midweek match will have stretched their squad.

So with that in mind we how can we beat Arsenal?

I'd love to write this and say it's going to be ok. And that we'll find some sort of resolve for our debacle on the south coast, but I can't. Arsenal are a very good opposition, they move the ball well and have a lot of world class players in their ranks; that'll be extremely tough to keep quiet.

But without worrying too much about Arsenal, we need to go back to basics. It would be a start if we could keep the ball and then build from the back as we've done that well this season. And in doing so we've made the Stadium of Light a tough place to come for teams.

Going forward we need to maintain the same intensity that we showed against Stoke. We need to get the ball into Steven Fletcher and Connor Wickham's feet early and look to make forward runs in behind Arsenal's backline.

Previous history

We haven't beaten Arsenal in our last four meetings - losing the last three. And to add insult to injury we've only beaten them three times in our last 19 games, having lost 14 of those meetings.

Key players

Sunderland - Lee Cattermole

Passion, heart and character is Cattermole in a nutshell. Southampton might of not been his finest hour but bouncing back is key and Cattermole has all the leadership qualities to lead by example and put behind him last week's shambles.

Arsenal - Alexis Sanchez

The former Barcelona star is the Gunners main man and he's a real live wire. The Chile international usually plays on the left hand side and it's really good at drifting inside and finding a little spark. But on the whole, we'll need to be wary of all the Gunners players as they're all capable of winning matches...

ALS Prediction

Sunderland 1 v Arsenal 1

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Hat-trick of own goals...
poyet: "I'm lucky to still have job"

Just as we thought things couldn't get any more embarrassing, Sunderland have been credited with 3 own goals against Southampton, after their 8th has officially went down as a Patrick van Aanholt own goal. In a way it's a bit more encouraging; if it wasn't for the three own goals we'd have only lost 5-0, which is still bad but not a humiliation. Let's just not score any more own goals and work from there.

Gus Poyet reckons that he's lucky to still have a job at Sunderland, as some leagues and clubs wouldn't be as forgiving. He said: "In another country, maybe an 8-0 defeat means that you lose your job. In England, that is not the case – at the moment. I don't know if it's that the supporters accept or understand. I don't accept it and I can't understand that you can lose 8-0. But the fans seem to have taken it on the chin. I've seen similar in the past from them. I haven't seen other teams lose 8-0 and nothing happens, and the manager is still the manager and the players still play. Where everybody moves on, which is fine. I can tell you that I haven't seen that anywhere other than here." I don't think it was ever a consideration that Gus would lose his job, these things happen in football, it's just a shame it happened to us.

Our new signing Anthony Reveillere was the best option out there according to Gus Poyet, and will be even more useful in our defensive crisis. Poyet said: "We looked at a few different options, but I think that straightaway, because of his pedigree and the way he plays, Anthony was always our first choice. We knew we were already a bit short and as soon as Billy got injured, that was the final confirmation that we needed to look at options to bring in a player. After analysing the market with Lee Congerton and company, we decided that Anthony was the best option. We were lucky to convince him to come with us."

"There are no doubts about his quality, his ability or his understanding of the game, it was just the fact that he has not played since May. That's why he trained with us, so that we could see him – and it was good for him as well, so he could come here and see the players and where he was coming. I'm happy because he is a great option and he has a lot of experience. He knows the game and has played in France and Spain and Italy. Of course the Premier League is a new experience, but he knows the game and that is the most important thing. He has been working hard on his fitness in his time with us, and the only thing he lacks now is football fitness – match fitness."

As for whether he'll start against Arsenal; "I don't think it would be a problem, but he probably wouldn't last the 90 minutes, depending on the game. We don't have international clearance yet, so at the moment we are planning without him. We will wait for the clearance first."

Meanwhile Seb Larsson has been at home going through his own interpretation of a Rocky IV montage, getting ready for the clash against his old club Arsenal. He really wants to beat them. Seb said: "Of course, I can only really speak for myself, but I am desperate for the chance to play against Arsenal and put in a better performance. But I'm sure everyone feels the same. I'm sure that's the case. Whether that is the manager's plan – or whether he wants to make changes – I couldn't say. That's his call. We were embarrassed. That's the only word for it. What else can you feel? Let's be honest. You have to hold your hands up and say it should never have happened. It did, we can't change it, but we can move forward and try to make up for it. We've dealt with it the way we think is right and now we have to look ahead. There will be a reaction against Arsenal, you can be sure of that."

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o'shea and larsson still gutted...
want 3 points against arsenal

Sunderland have signed French International defender Anthony Reveillere on a deal until the end of the season. The 34 year old has vast experience in the Champions League and International competition, and while his legs may not be what they once were, he could possess the type of organisation, discipline and leadership that were in short supply against Southampton.

Despite Sunderland players offering fans a refund for the Southampton match, John O'Shea admis that the ultimate apologetic gesture would be three points against Arsenal. O'Shea said: "Three points is the biggest thing we need to give everyone - fans, ourselves and the staff. Ultimately, you have to confine that to a one-off. Whatever team we were playing this weekend, we need to see what we had been seeing previously - intensity in our play, putting pressure on teams and stopping them playing. Arsenal are a good team, there'll have spells where they're going to have the ball. But we need to put them under pressure, particularly when they've got a few injuries at the back and a midweek Champions League game. Let's see if we can use that to our advantage. In terms of how the season had been going, that result was a big disappointment for the manager. Obviously he's spoken to us and that will remain in-house. But hopefully there'll be a reaction on Saturday and in the games coming up."

JOS also offered some insight into how the refund came about; "It was done very quickly. We had a chat among the lads. We made the statement on the fans issue, so hopefully that draws a line under that and we can move on very quickly. The way the away fans travel and the home fans as well, we always appreciate it. It was incredible support and hopefully that will continue. We were off Sunday and then had a bit of fitness training on Monday. On Tuesday, we went through everything in the game, analysed everything, talked about it to make sure something like that hopefully never happens again. Because of the solidity that we had leading up to the point, hopefully it is a one-off. It's been very raw. It's happened. You analyse everything and you have to make sure the level of intensity and tempo is maintained every week in the Premier League. It doesn't matter who you're playing against. We had maintained that up until Southampton. That was the disappointing aspect."

Seb Larsson also discussed the defeat and how he is personally dealing with it: "It's a balancing act in how to deal with it. You have to deal with the pain and you have to feel the pain of such an embarrassing defeat but at the same time you can't dwell on it for too long. We have a game coming up in a few days' time. We have dealt with it now. We also have to remind ourselves there were a lot of positives early on in the season. We have to pick back up from where we left off before the Southampton game. You have to go back and analyse things, we have looked through all of the details, seen the videos, we have seen all of the goals, you have to feel that embarrassment In a way you have to put it behind you, but in a way you also have to carry it in the back of your head. We don't ever want to feel like that again. There's been a lot of honest conversation. We have had to go through the game, which was not the most pleasant thing, but I suppose that's what you have to do when you suffer a defeat like that. We have analysed it and hopefully we will make sure it never happens again."

As for the refund: "We didn't need to do it to draw a line, it was just something we wanted to do. It was what felt right. Once we made that decision, that was it, it was the right decision. We made that gesture to show we understand the frustration. We feel the frustration and that's the end of the situation now. The best way to repay people is to get three points on Saturday. That's what we will try to do."

"We have had very good backing ever since I have been here. We have been in difficult situations but they have still always been behind us. That's something which has never worried me. I have never been worried that the fans aren't coming back. They always fill the stadium and they back us. They are passionate fans. We want to show them what we are about and I am sure we will. I am sure they will do everything they can to push us through. Together hopefully we will be strong like we have been in the past."

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typical sunderland?
by david drewett

After last week's debauchery, many Sunderland fans (including myself) took to Twitter in the heat of the moment to vent and try to make sense of it all. There have already been plenty of words said and opinions formed about the 8-0 so I won't dwell on the match itself for too long, but it goes without saying something went drastically, exceptionally wrong.

I, like many others, called for refunds for the 2559 fans that made the arduous journey down the country, which the club have since supported and offered to those fans. In retrospect though, the best way to repay those fans will be to give them something to cheer about on Saturday and beyond; making sure we never endure that sort of torture again.

At face value, Arsenal is probably not the team you want to be playing on the back of an 8-0 thrashing. Simply put, their squad is better than ours and morale in the Sunderland camp will probably be at an extreme low. Alexis Sanchez and co. will likely be salivating at the prospect of facing our defence, which can't even be altered all that much due to a lack of squad depth and injuries. As much as Poyet probably wants to change a back four that leaked 8 goals, he is simply unable without dipping into the under 21's squad. The one advantage to this however, is that it shouldn't take any team-talks or motivational speeches to get them fired up on Saturday. After spending the week being ridiculed by the rest of the country; surely they'll realise they have a point to prove, and where better to prove it than against one of the country's strongest teams?

As I said before, at face value, Arsenal wouldn't be at the top of many Mackem's lists for teams to play this week. Dig a little deeper though, and it presents itself as an ideal opportunity to prove that last week was just a particularly bad off day. Wenger's men haven't exactly been in glorious form lately, winning just two of their opening eight Premier League games and only managing to scrape a draw last week against Hull. They aren't going into this game brimming with confidence (granted, neither are we) and could just be ready for another surprise at the hands of us. Playing them after a midweek Champions League game can only be good news for us also, so evidently this game isn't a write off just yet.

Sunderland have always had this strange problem, no more apparent than during last season's wins against Chelsea and Man Utd, where we lose to the comparably 'smaller' teams, and sneak in wins against the big boys. It's been the same all the way through this current Premier League run, from Roy Keane right through to Gus Poyet. It can get really infuriating when we're storming to a routine 1-0 win over Man City and following it up with a 2-0 loss to Stoke. Frustrating as it may be, to me this just feels like exactly the type of game we get a result out of, just to leave fans scratching their heads wondering why we don't play like that every week. This by no means guarantees a win, but could prove to maybe give the players a shred of confidence, which could end up being the difference between 3 points or none.

Don't get me wrong, I'd have much rather seen us play one of the poorer teams in the league such as Burnley or Newcastle, but a game against Arsenal could prove to rejuvenate much of the players' confidence, and what's more, give the 2559 fans the refund they'd really like to see.

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less is more...
by melanie dudley

For me, saying less would say more.

It seems that 8 games into the season, the blame game will start to be a major part of our beautiful game.

I too like many others, was extremely disappointed to witness what unfolded before my eyes Saturday afternoon at St Mary's. It was a feeling a Déjà vu with an added element of horror for good measure.

Whilst I personally do not want to be refunded for my tickets, my feeling is I am a fan not a consumer; I bought the tickets with a view of come what may attitude. I am delighted that Grace House may significantly benefit from this.

All that said, Buckley's comment that "the team did not give up" and now Poyet talking about "he can only manage with a team he has" screams of "don't look to me for blame" attitude. We all know what we saw, our eyes did not lie!

SAFC are a team, the players, the coach, the scout and the backroom staff that enable them to play are all accountable. Without wanting to sound like a corporate strapline, there is no I in TEAM, therefore, the bickering and finger pointing needs to stop.

The best way to show us the fans that the team (in its entirety) care and want to win are by showing passion, commitment and drive on the pitch. I am not deluded, I do not expect we will not be beat again, however, I do not want to ever see us be beaten again in such a manner.

We must move onto the next game and not allow the blame game to take over our beautiful game.

In Gus, I still Trust…

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tales from the crypt: Sunderland 7-0 oxford, 1998...
by chris thompson

It's been difficult to escape the mention of 8-0 this week. What could have feasibly just been another football match prolonged itself by snowballing into something much more, a debate centred on the consumer-brand relationship, prompted of course by Vito Mannone suggesting a refund to fans. Thankfully that's over and done with now, it was all a bit silly. The additional option of a charitable donation also ensures that, much like Andy Dufresne in 'The Shawshank Redemption', Sunderland AFC crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side.

It got me thinking of the other side of the coin, when Sunderland have been on the positive end of a thrashing. I didn't have to think for very long, as it doesn't happen very often. The one that stands out in my memory though is the 7-0 win over Oxford in the 1998/99 season. It came at a very impressionable time for me in my footballing genesis, I was 6 years old and only just getting over the play-off final defeat to Charlton. It happened very much at the beginning of my addiction to Sunderland.

19th September 1998. Fans went into the game nervous, we were unbeaten thus far in the season, but our top scorer Kevin Phillips (remember him?) was injured in the previous game and was set for several months on the sidelines. Super Kev had scored in all but one of the games we had played so far that campaign, so we had a right to be apprehensive. It was set to be the beginning of our slide down the table, our early season form being but a false dawn.

My dad had recently landed himself a job as a TRU at the Stadium of Light, which I thought was the coolest job in the world. Basically if you don't know what a TRU is (I'm not even sure that I do), it's basically a steward with a better coat and more authority. He'd not only get to watch the match, but be paid to do it! In reality he probably spent the majority of time telling people to sit down (that's what stewards do isn't it?). Either way, he couldn't take me to the matches anymore and I would listen to them on the radio, dressed in my Lambtons Sunderland shirt with the collar. Loved that shirt.

As the legend goes, we didn't need Kevin Phillips. Micky Gray got one, Alex Rae got two, Micky Bridges got two and Danny Dichio got two, one of them being a penalty. Easy! I used to idolise Bridges. I was a bit lanky back then as well, so I was always him in the schoolyard (I wasn't good enough to be Quinn, that was always Dalton Jackson, the swine!). Obviously I gave up on Bridges when he did the dirty on us but for a while he was my hero. Summerbee and Johnston were on form again, two of the best wingers that have ever played for Sunderland, and Alex Rae scoring two goals in a single match was mind-blowing to me, even in my short time of supporting the lads. A fantastic game and a massive relief for the whole of Wearside. We could cope without Phillips.

We weren't spoiled by the necessities of on-demand content back then, so you'd be lucky to catch the goals on Tyne Tees, Mike Neville becoming a defining character in my childhood. My dad wouldn't get home from the stadium in time to see them, but on this occasion he rang my mam up on his Motorola to tell her to watch out for him on the news. “Watch when Dichio scores and runs into the crowd, keep a look out for me”. Here we go.

Now you can check this yourself if you're lucky enough to have a 98/99 season review VHS knocking about, and of course a fully operational VHS player. When Danny Dichio puts the ball in the net and ventures into the crowd behind the goal, you can quite clearly see a steward grab Dichio's shoulder and shout something at him, prompting the player to turn around looking disgusted and agitated. What my dad actually said to Dichio that day was; “I love you, but get back on the f*cking pitch”.

Obviously seeing my dad not only on the telly, but on the Sunderland highlights made him the coolest bloke in the world, even cooler than Michael Bridges, and I still idolise him for it. It's not very often we beat teams 7-0, so it's nice that he can say he played a background part in that one, even if he has clung onto it for 16 years.

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refunderland...
gus deflects blame

Sunderland have announced that all away fans who made the journey to Southampton will be reimbursed for the price of their match ticket, or alternatively have the option for that amount to be donated to Grace House Hospice in their name. The decision has been met positively by fans, particularly those who were less bothered about a refund and more concerned about a tangible apology. It is refreshing to see that a large proportion of fans have opted for the charitable donation instead. We are the best.

Gus Poyet appears to have hit out at the club recruitment team, namely Sporting Director Lee Congerton, by identifying that while our squad is thin, it's not his responsibility as he is merely the head coach. Gus said: "I'm a head coach. I don't make the squad, that's not my job. I've four defenders, I play what I've got. I'll take responsibility at a set-piece – it was me, I pick the team and put it on the pitch. The rest, I'm sorry, I'm not going to take."

Despite Gus shifting the responsibility for bringing players in, he has defended the decision to sign Sebastian Coates, insisting the player was fit when he was recruited. Poyet said: "I think the problem with Seba is what the injury is. It's something very unique in a part of muscle which is under another muscle. He was fit when he arrived. If you saw him in training for the first few days he was very, very good. He was running with Antonio (Pintas, Sunderland fitness coach) and we were really impressed, it was a kicking action that was hurting him then. But when he was running he didn't have any problems. It's unfortunate for him being Uruguayan, being my first Uruguayan signing, it was always important to make sure he was all right."

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buckley: i don't agree that we gave up...
alvarez nearly fit

After the weekend's shenanigans, Will Buckley reckons that he and the Sunderland side must make amends immediately: "We need to get over it fast. Nobody is over it yet. But we're onto Arsenal next week and it doesn't get any easier. We need to pick ourselves up and make sure our performance is 100 times better than it was at Southampton. I've never experienced anything like that professionally. It's a horrible feeling, especially for how many fans we brought down. It's gutting for us and we let ourselves down. We need to make it right on Saturday. There were a lot of fans still there at the end. If it was other people, I don't think they'd have been there. It's credit to them and hopefully they can stay behind us and we can put it right next week. Those are the kind of results you see in Sunday League, so we have to make sure that doesn't happen again. We let the manager down and all the staff who have shown good faith in us. We need to make sure we put that right."

Despite several players simply strolling around the pitch for the last half an hour of the game, Buckley rejects the notion that we gave up: "I think it was individual mistakes and every mistake they punished us. We came into the game confident that we could get a result and for the first 10 minutes, it looked like we could do that. After that, we made errors that got punished and I suppose our heads went down. The first two goals were poor mistakes from us and it cost us. From then on, we capitulated and it's not good enough really. I don't agree that we gave up. But everything went wrong and we came up against a team in form. They took over the game in the end."

Ricky Alvarez may be back in the Sunderland team quicker than first suspected, Gus Poyet said: "I think it's going to be less time than we thought. I don't want to go into particular detail but it's going very well. I think Ricky will be another week or two. We want him to be back, playing and feeling good. I don't want to force him to play. It's a tricky one. I would like him to play straight away but at the same time I need to be careful." Would be nice to get Tricky Ricky back in the side , he offers something different on the wings.

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8-0 post-mortem...
by eve sayers

So after a drumming 8-0 at the hands of Southampton, where do we go from here? Do the fans deserve a refund? After nigh on 2,600 Mackems made the 650 mile round trip, you'd think so. But would docking the players' wages be more appropriate? Not one player who played a part in that absolute atrocity on Saturday can argue they deserve paying so if there is to be a refund, it has to be from their pocket, a gesture from the players to the fans. Many fans who made the trip have said they don't want a refund. Should the Southampton fans pay extra because they won 8-0?

I'm sure every Sunderland fan would rather they repay us with a decent performance vs Arsenal. They must prove that they're fit to wear the shirt and deserve the incredible backing they get week in, week out. The video of Sunderland fans at full-time is remarkable, and many Saints fans said they had an admiration for us, saying we were the best fans they'd seen at St.Mary's this season. If only the players were as half as good as the fans…

Poyet is good at man-management and I hope he can spark a reaction from the players in training. There is no-where for the players to hide after the humiliation they endured on Saturday and what I find bizarre, is that we started the game on top.

Then one clanger from Vergini set the tone for the whole game. It was an excellent goal, unfortunately in the wrong net. From then on, the game was a freak-show. 11 shots on target for Southampton and six of them hit the net. We need to stop gifting teams goals, the amount of hapless own goals we give away is ridiculous. It was a problem last season and it is one that hasn't been addressed.

It is inevitable that the line-up will be very different vs Arsenal, with a number of players being dropped. But what is important is that we get behind the lads and spur them on to get the reaction which is needed. Our next five home games include Arsenal, City, Chelsea and Everton and we have tough away games coming up, so we need to start picking up points sharpish. Football is a funny old game. Before Saturday we had the second best defensive record in the league, only conceding a total of seven goals. We play one game and all of sudden we've conceded a total of fifteen. From what we've seen this season, we can play good football and we can defend. Every player is guilty of not trying on Saturday and to show they are genuinely sorry, they need to give their all in every game.

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mannone wants to refund fans...
pdc and de fanti at war

Vito Mannone has sensationally called for himself and the rest of the team to pay for the tickets and travel of all Sunderland fans at the Southampton match. He said: "It was a difficult afternoon but we need to react. We have to do it for ourselves, for the club and for our great fans as well that came all that way. I will personally talk to the team to see if it is possible to pay their tickets and their trip. It is difficult for us but it's very difficult for them as well. I take all the responsibility I can take for each goal, I will try to work on it and try to improve. Each one of us should do the same. To try to defend and be in a game properly as a unit. Each one of us knows there were mistakes on the field.

"I really mean that we should pay their tickets and travel. I will do everything possible. We should do it because we didn't work hard. We started the game well but after we conceded we threw in the towel – and I include myself."

It remains to be seen whether this will actually happen, however if Mannone has went through the club to make these comments then I doubt they would have let him do this interview without them considering it an option.

In the background of all the 8-0 craic, Paolo Di Canio was on Goals on Sunday, he offered up a few bits of insight into what happened at Sunderland for him. Paolo said: "It was a fantastic experience if I'm honest. When I signed the contract the team in their last eight games had six defeats and two draws, and were in free-fall, many said already relegated. In seven games we made eight points – two fantastic wins – in the middle of difficulty because we had six players out for the rest of the season. The players were very good with my philosophy and then we came out of that difficult situation."

"The season later, it didn't start from my point of view because my big mistake was to accept to work in the way I did. For the clarity of the situation, the 14 players that arrived at Sunderland during my time there – not one was brought by me. So that was clear the philosophy was changing. De Fanti (Roberto, director of football) and Angeloni (Valentino, chief scout) were the two responsible with maximum support from the chairman which is Ellis Short. It is public I asked them to bring in 80 per cent British footballers to avoid relegation. I really believe bringing eight or nien players who know how to play, how to win and how to fight in this league, would be better.

'We signed not one British footballer. The only two who put on my stamp – I put in my determination where after two weeks we started the season and there were three days to go of the transfer market – I said 'OK if you can't bring in two British footballers in the middle of the field, or maybe one attacker one midfield player, then bring in two players who have already had Premier League experience.' They told me one could be Ki from Swansea and one Borini. I said I knew them because I used to follow Ki from Celtic so I said bring them straight away because, they are not British, but they have been here three or four years and have British football on their brain, in their legs and in their heart. That was fantastic and it is no coincidence that they were two crucial players who helped keep the club up."

As for the 0-3, PDC offered this up: "It was fantastic. I'm a guy who can straight away feel the cause. I can understand because when I was younger I was a supporter for my team, so I understand what every supporter feels for his club. Up there we all know how much passion they've got, both Sunderland and Newcastle fans. I arrive at this game in a difficult situation and we win in style. If I'm not wrong I think it was nearly 35 years that we didn't win by three goals away from home. In front of 50,000 people and more importantly 2,800 people. They seemed proud, I put out all my passion and my heart because it was important specifically for this team. The derby there is like a sort of religious moment, it's crucial. And for the three points as well they were important to maintain the club in the Premier League. It's obvious that it was a magic moment."

"I analyse myself but we focus more on some things rather than other things. When you arrive at this club in the Premier League you have to make the revolution because my idea was to make a revolution, not only for the players. I wanted to change the habit because in a big club like that it's not easy. To be honest the problem was different because there wasn't a clear idea where to go. We had a project but at the end of the day I was sacked after five games. If I'm not wrong the two Italians who brought all the players in walked out in January (following Di Canio's dismissal in September 2013). There was no clear idea. Before me three managers were changed in two or three years so if every time you've got a problem you're going to change everything, it's difficult to be something potent. It's obvious in terms of mistakes I made there are a few for sure, not only off the field but also how to lead my players but it's all experience to improve for the future group that you are going to approach."

Our former Director of Football Roberto De Fanti however believes that Paolo blames everybody but himself: "Paolo had the final decision on every player. He always blames everybody else but himself. The biggest mistake of the club's board was not to listen to me and Valentino's suggestion not to confirm Paolo at the beginning of last season. Paolo was fundamental in saving the team from relegation, but not the right manager to lead what would have been a new group. Cracks inside the locker room were evident already then. Luckily, our suggestion to take Gus (Poyet) was not unheard and he was able to achieve results with exactly the same team as the beginning of the season. He will also save the club also this year, if he is allowed to work properly." This is getting juicy!

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poyet issues apology...
broken man

I don't need to remind you of the score yesterday, it's everywhere. Gus Poyet has issued an apology to the fans for his team's performance: "I'm so sorry for the fans, it's one hell of a trip to make and they were outstanding. They got right behind the team throughout and there are no words I can use that will say sorry to them. I've never felt as bad on a football pitch, as a player or as a coach, as I do today. Even as a fan I've never felt this way, it's embarrassing and unacceptable; I'm really hurt."

"We started off well, we were aggressive - we passed the ball well and then we conceded one of the most difficult goals to try and explain, and then the second goal we let in was just as unlucky. At that time I though we couldn't get any worse luck; but I was wrong. We had the penalty claim, which the referee turned down, and from there I think we knew the game was not going to go in our favour. Nothing went right, but there is another side in football. We needed to be stronger and not give up; there is no place to hide out on the pitch and I am very disappointed with what I saw today.


"But the fans were magnificent. After all their support I wanted to give them something back but we just couldn't, it was not the day for that. It was a terrible feeling, we ask them for their support and we couldn't give them anything back. It's going to be a difficult week. We need to reassess things and make sure we don't have another day like today. It's unfortunate we have to wait a week to try and put it right but that's all we can do." I think it's great that he's apologised and I appreciate it, but as far as Poyet's culpability for the defeat; bad tactics can account for a 3 or 4-0 defeat, but a defeat of this magnitude lies with the players.

Santiago Vergini has also apologised for yesterday's events, in particular for his own goal: "I take full responsibility for this and after my error the game really did change. The account we gave of ourselves was embarrassing. We have to look forward now and try to improve for the following game."

"I thank the fans for their excellent support as always and I would really like to say sorry to them for the very poor account we have given of ourselves. The first step is to accept the errors we committed and we have to be aware that we are responsible for what happened here. We have to look towards the next game and approach it in the best possible condition."

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fans are fickle...
By melanie dudley

Well, one thing I took from yesterday was, a number of our fans are fickle! Yesterday morning, my son and I set off for Southampton, the usual excitement and nervousness, but, looking forward for a day of all things Mackem! For me, I hoped for a point, but, reality told me, we'd lose, however, I never expected the humiliating thrashing that unfolded before my very eyes!

Now, don't get me wrong, I have seen many thrashings over the years, but, yesterday seemed to take things to a new level. I sat with my 8 year old son one side, who was just happy to be there and enjoy the day with a charming older gentleman on the other side who had been watching SAFC for 60 plus years and summed it up for me, the defence simply had not arrived at St Marys.

Every SAFC forum mocks the skunks about their fans, the "Pardew protests", however, yesterday, the number of fans walking out when the 4th goal went in left me dismayed, disappointed and underwhelmed by the commitment as a fan! For the love of gawd, if it is awesome, sexy world class footie you were hoping for, why the feck did you buy a ticket to watch Sunderland?!

Yes, we were shocking, lacklustre, and seriously lacking backbone, however, comments about "walking out in protest" does not have any impact, other than make us as fans look weak and fickle. Without wanting to sound like a broken record, where did all the fans who went to Wembley for the League Cup final go?!

I have just endured watching MOTD with a bit of a fuzzy head, have been abused on Facebook by "know it all" arms chair fans (otherwise known as friends)! However, I'll spend the day licking my wounds and prepare myself for a trip to the SOL next Saturday for the Arsenal game!

I shall wear my stripes with pride, things can only get better, right?!

In Gus, I Trust...

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ALS BloG...
By Chris Henry

I'm on my way back from Southampton. On a bus too. It was a long journey down and no doubt will be a bastard long journey back.

A football card has just come round, I've took Southampton. They've piled on misery today so surely they can give a little back? I've been on this earth 33 years in January, the last 23 of them have been as a season ticket holder of Sunderland AFC, I go to home matches with me dad who is also me best mate, he's been watching Sunderland far too long and still puts up with it.

Away games I go with mates or by mesel, but I'm never by mesel when I'm with fellow Sunderland fans. After an away match I always ring me da to talk about the match, I do this religiously win, lose or draw. I dreaded making that call today, what can I say after that? I'm in a state of shock. The first half was atrocious, gifted Southampton three goals. The second half was even worse. What can you say? I've just watched my team, the love of my life, the mutual bond that binds me and dad together, the bloke who told me on Easter Sunday 1997 that Sunderland AFC would break my heart after a few too many cans of Visborg, the bloke I shared tears with walking down Wembley Way with in March, the bloke who put me arm around me when all I could do was cry when Navas scored, how could I talk about Sunderland getting beat 8-0 today with me da?

I watched all 8 goals go in with ease, I watched a team who almost went bus a few years ago turn us over with ease, a team who sacked Alan Pardew, a team who only a few seasons ago won the Johnsons Paint Trophy beat us 8-0. 8-0, that kind of score is a rarity unless you're Real Madrid or Barcelona, it doesn't happen in the Premier league that often, but it happened today. So many questions and thoughts have gone through me head, is Poyet the man for the job? Why are we leaving two players we spent £10 million pound on each on the bench? Brown off and Bridcutt at right back? Has this result been coming? Why aren't the fans more pissed off? Why are we singing Sunderland's going to be alright and things can only get better instead of shouting we want our money back telling the players they aren't fit to wear the shirt?

I'm not happy today, I got up at 4am to wash me shit hair in time to catch a bus at 5:30am. I'm not trying to sound like a martyr but I and the rest of the fans deserve better, far better. We've struggled to progress since we got promoted under Keane, needing regular overhauls and developing loan players we have no chance of signing. We're continually obsessed with them up the road struggling whilst not doing too good ourselves. Anyway, what did me da say when I rang him? 'You were gonna miss your best mate's wedding for the Mags at home next year, dickhead'. Cheers da! Oh and Southampton came out on the football card. Me 25 Southampton 8.

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post southampton craic…
REACTION

Sunderland lost 8-0 away at Southampton. Yes, eight. The worst display I can remember seeing. Two goals from Pelle and singles from Tardic, Cork, Mane and Wanyama added to an own goal each from Bridcutt and Vergini to ruin my weekend and possibly my life. Cheers Sunderland, you bunch of tarts.

Gus Poyet was suitably livid with the performance and admitted his embarassment: "I think its the most embarrassing time I've had on a football pitch. You think you will never get these situations but unfortunately it is sometimes your turn. I feel very sorry for the fans, they came a long way to see a very difficult game today. At the start we played very well. We conceded an own goal whish is unique. We paid the price for everything that went wrong today because it was a difficult day. The only thing we knew is we needed to not throw the game away as 3-0 was enough. I learned a lot about the players today - the bad side as some gave up and I know who they are for the future. I cannot watch it again because it's not a lot to analyse. We were a difficult team to play before today but it was totally the opposite. As a group we didn't show the character to be on the pitch. We were really poor and unacceptable in the second half."

Meanwhile Gus has given his two cents on 'tell all' books in the wake of Roy Keane's latest effort. The Uruguayan admitted: "I am not a fan of people writing books. I hate books. I think they are going out of what you learn from football. You can't say one day that what happens in the dressing room stays in the dressing room then write a book. I don't like it. It doesn't matter who you are, I don't like it. Although mine would make a good one! I enjoy telling stories when I am having dinner, or at a barbeque, but not going public like that. It also involves so many other people and I would not like to be involved in writing books. That's me. I don't like it. I don't read books. I used to. I like to know what is going on so I watch the news in the evening. If I get criticised I take it. I don't like it, but I take it, as long as it is not personal. But I like to keep informed. Books at the moment, no. I have not read Roy Keane's book. I have read a few comments about it in the press, because I like to keep myself informed. I'm sorry Roy, I won't be buying your book. Maybe he can send me a copy."

Roy Keane touched upon pre-match music in the Sunderland dressing room during his time at the club, and while we no longer listen to ABBA, Gus reckons there's still plenty of music on: "We still have music. The boys decide between themselves. It is normal. I didn't hear anything I didn't like. Me? I adapt. I try to adapt to the new society. I like to talk, so as long as I can talk, Okay. I think the music can hide the silence in the dressing room. If there is silence in the dressing room, are the players concentrating? Music can bring a bit of atmosphere into the dressing room and I don't mind that. I went to see Mamma Mia, but no I don't have a CD of ABBA."

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