Culture Shock

September 15, 2018

Nobody said League 1 was easy. Actually, loads of people did, but they shouldn’t have. 

 

League 1 is hard - physical and direct, with loads of set pieces to test you and small, intense grounds with smaller pitches and an attitude in the opposition team that cries ‘cup final’ and ‘let’s take it to the rich boys from kick off’. So, if anything, nothing unexpected so far this season. 

 

We all know from previous transfer windows that when you sign players, they take time to gel and for the manager to work out how to get the best out of them.

 

And it’s a new manager, in a new league to him, in a new country in his managerial career. It wasn’t going to click in August.

 

It was never going to be a waltz through league 1. It wouldn’t be that with a settled team and manager in an established well run and happy club where we’d signed 2 or 3 players to top up a well-prepared squad. 

 

So, who can we blame for feeling crap on a Saturday night? 

 

No one. 

 

I mean, you can blame the past if you want but it won’t help. 

 

Some will blame Ross for his tinkering but the constant changing of players and formations can’t really be blamed on the manager because, as soon as one player comes back, another is injured, on international duty, banned and, remember, it’s still a thin squad. 

 

So, the players then?

 

Well, to point at an 18-year-old up front or the big signing who missed pre-season but threw his underprepared body in anyway, or a group of new, young signings who probably haven’t got houses yet, never mind their feet under the table would be harsh. They’ll get there. It’s just going to take time. 

 

Do I trust the owners to take us forwards? Yes (though I’m starting to think Charlie’s socks are jinxed). Do I trust the manager? Unquestionably. 

 

Do I think the squad will get better? Yes, in many ways we’ve improved massively (though there’s much to work on).

 

So, let’s get behind them all and do our bit. We need to be patient and appreciate that there’ll be bad days on the way, but the goal is promotion in May, not winning away at Burton in September. Battle lost today, which hurts, but I’m confident Ross’ red and white army will win the war. One step at a time.

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At the back end of the 1980s, football fanzines began to sweep the country and in 1989 we were presented with a new vehicle on which to enjoy some of this ride – A Love Supreme. ALS was a place we could all go to celebrate and commiserate being a Sunderland fan. Win, lose or draw, the pages of the fanzine became solace for many of us as we stumbled our way through our day to day lives, punctuated by the ups and downs of more match days than any of us care to remember.

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