We Got The Power

Max Power has been chatting about his three sending offs and how the 48 hours between getting sent off at Walsall and the card being rescinded were very difficult for him mentally. "It's probably been the toughest few days of my career to date, a roller-coaster of emotions as you can imagine," said Power. "I'm just delighted I had a bit of justice because it's been a tough few days mentally. I took a lot of criticism and it's been tough. The manager really backed me, which is something I'm really grateful for. The players have stuck with me. I get the criticism from the fans. If you're sat at home on Saturday watching the telly and it pops up that I've been sent off, I know everyone's going to jump to conclusions. I'm not going to hide anything, the last few days have been really tough. The thought of being suspended again, until after Christmas, and the mental side of it was tough. As much criticism as I've taken, I'd like to say thanks to a lot of the fans who've stood by me as well. You get good and bad in football and I can deal with that – I'm a big boy, thick-skinned. It was just the thought of missing a lot more football and knowing I'm not that type of player. Someone asked me whether the pressure of playing for such a big club has got to me and I'd say no. After Saturday you’re starting to think something’s gone wrong here, Have I upset someone? I don’t know. It was a really tough few days. I've bought into the club, I live in the area. As you can imagine, doing the school run has been tough at times but that's a decision I've made. First and foremost I'm a parent with two young kids who come first in everything. Monday and Tuesday I didn't take them to school and that wasn't a nice feeling knowing I've had to, not hide from problems, but lock myself away. I was really hit by the decision. It would have been tough to deal with if I hadn't won the appeal. I think anyone who knows me knows how bubbly I am around the training ground and on Monday I barely said a word to anyone. It was tough. I had to train not knowing what was going to happen but I'm just happy I managed to get the decision in my favour this time. I've played under other managers who probably wouldn't have dealt with it as this manager has. To know I've had the support of the manager, Potts [coach John Potter] and Fow [assistant manager James Fowler], the lads have rallied around as well. It was a strange few days in terms of the emotions. But I've come through stuff like this before. I had a tough start at Wigan last season where I was training with the youth team but I ended up playing 48 times and lifting the League One trophy at the end. That's what I've come here to do."

 

Power then analysed his three red cards! He added: "The Bradford one was an act of silliness and not really in my character. The tackle against Oxford could possibly have been a yellow card but on Saturday I knew I hadn't really made contact, the lad writhed around and the ref was surrounded by players. Some people probably still think it was a red, that's football, everyone's got an opinion. I'm just delighted it's been overturned. When the ball broke loose on Saturday in a split second I actually thought, 'stay on your feet,' which I did. Their lad went in at some velocity and in real time it looked worse than it was but luckily we had footage from different angles to show I didn't make contact with my foot, it was my trailing leg which caught him on his thigh. I was disappointed with the Walsall players' reactions but I understand it. They’ll feel they have a better chance of winning the game against ten men. I know it goes on and I think that maybe swayed the ref but I’ve got no grudges against the ref, we all make mistakes. On Tuesday I didn't quite feel at my best. It didn't help that they were a good side and we had a bit of a change of formation in the first half as well. That formation showed how devastating we can be but when we get pinned back it can be quite tough. It was a bit of a weird feeling going into the game. I didn't really feel I could play as I wanted to, it was just a case of trying to get through the game, that's the stage I'm at at the moment. There were a few loose balls knocking around and there were times I could have gone into a tackle but in my mind I had to not be as committed as usual. Hopefully in the course of the next few weeks that can come back. I'm a committed player. Do I have to curb the way I play? Hopefully not. But that was possibly the toughest game of my career to get through in terms of everything. There were a lot of tackles I probably could have gone into and I tired quite quickly because I haven't played much first-team football of late and the last few days have drained me. I was delighted to get through the game. I don't want my career here to fail, so I'm trying to kick-start it. The referee made a mistake, everyone makes mistakes. I couldn't stand here and be a hypocrite because I made a huge mistake at Bradford - we’re all human. Hopefully Tuesday was the start of rebuilding trust with the fans. The manager and the players have been great with me and I've really enjoyed my time here except for the red cards. I love it here, it's a fantastic club and the support stuck by us against Barnsley even when it went to 3-2 and we were backs against the wall. They really helped us get through the game. Getting through the game was the biggest thing for me and I look forward to Walsall at the weekend now so I can build up some match-fitness and get back to the performances I showed early in my Sunderland career."

 

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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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