Firstly though a few things to mention, this blog comes from the view of my usual seat in the South Stand upper in the midst of the Red Faction but will be back in the West lower for the Man City game.
Oh can I just add please that this is all my views, I’ve not watched any highlights or listened to the views off the experts on various sports channels either, so I could give you an honest open opinion.
Wednesday night arrived, expectations were high on two fronts, 1 we would win and do the double over the weaker neighbours from up the A19 and, 2 if Blunderland beat us maybe we would get something out of it because Steve Agnew would get the sack and we would get a new manager in his place.
Big VV was still out with a rib injury so it meant that Brad (love child of Steve Agnew and the Hood from Thunderbirds) continued in the net, back 4 Gorgeous George, Dani Ayala, Gibbo and Calum Chambers (thank god a right back than can attack and defend and take throw ins without looking like he’s had too much caffeine and foul), midfield 5 were De Roon, Clayts, Forshaw, Downing and Stuani, with the Beast up top.
Just before Kick off the big screen showed a tribute to Ugo Ehiogu (which to be honest was quite moving as he played for us during the clubs most successful period) then just prior to kick off game the minutes applause for the man who was taken at a young age, the applause was expertly given by the whole stadium including the Sunderland fans who joined in throughout, so must be commended for this.
The Red Faction had a red smoke bomb that they set off filling the south stand with red smoke surprisingly. The stewards didn’t like this and before it went out and amid a build up of safety stewards it was tossed to the top of the stair well and landed on an open piece of concrete behind the disabled section.
The fans didn’t need anything to be up for this, the winners of this would have the ultimate bragging rights in the region, with the added spice for both teams. If Boro won we would hammer all but the last nail into the Mackems coffin as far as Premier League football was guaranteed next season, likewise they would do to us if they beat (laughs as if) us.
Boro understandably were a little nervous in the opening exchanges we attacked them, they attacked us, after what felt like an eternity but was only 8 minutes in the ball came to Adam Clayton who looked up and placed a floating chip into the Sunderland 18yd box, Martin De Roon surged forward, the Sunderland defenders looked lost, Jordan Pickford looked paralysed and didn’t know what to do (think back to this time last season away at Bolton and Clayts chip to Nuge who crossed for Jordan Rhodes to bag a goal), the ball bounced, De Roon stretched, Pickford stuttered, De Roons toe catches the ball and nut megs Pickford with out and bounces into the net. The net ripples, the Riverside erupts, De Rooooooooooooooooon scores turns and celebrates (sorry I didn’t see where he ran or with whom he celebrated as I was busy celebrating myself).
Game on, the fans upped the singing and we were the spiritual 12th man. Every attack forward was cheered onwards, Gibbo gets the ball and looks like he wants some of the fun and surges forward well into the Sunderland half. Then we get another break the ball reaches Downing on the Boro left he breaks into the box, but Pickford comes out and saves the shot as Downing shoots across goal for the far post. As the half progressed we had more chances even Callum Chambers pinged a shot towards goal that just misses.
Half time arrived, there was a large queue in the South stand trying to get outside for a smoke break, and the steward on the door even ran out of tickets to give to people so they would be allowed back in.
The 2nd half kicked off, on Teesside we are proud of the fact that we have players that are “One of our Own”, be that Ben Gibson or Stewie Downing this season, this seemed to bring a laugh from the Sunderland fans who started singing, “Your just a town full of Hero’s” towards the Boro fans (to be honest I’m glad they did as I had forgotten that they were there).
The game ended after injury time. Boro finally had won a game in 2017; we had also won the game in hand meaning we were now only 6 points from safety, oh and we virtually relegated Sunderland by defeating them.
The question is still there though, can we still achieve Premier League status for next season, reluctantly I feel we won’t as we simply haven’t been good enough especially since Christmas, but and whilst that is still a BIG BUT it is mathematically possible to stay up I will still think we can do it.
The question has to be asked though what does Sir Steve Gibson see in Steve Agnew, we see the same tactics that AK used being used again and none make sense, like the Beast substitution on Wednesday night, he had been isolated on his own for the majority of the game, running his socks off and getting involved all over the pitch and Aggers brings on Rudy as his replacement instead of playing them together, if any game also screamed out for Adama this was it, but he didn’t get to come on and run the already weak Sunderland defence wragged.
Sir Steve surely has an option up his sleeve for someone to come in, in the summer, I’m not going to knock him 1 bit as I think he has done brilliant at the club and for the club, a club that he loves and has no doubt ploughed lots of money into over the years and at a considerable loss to himself no doubt. But Steve Agnew certainly isn’t the future for this club if we want to bounce straight back up for the 2018/2019 season.
Thing is WHO DO YOU Want, I would take David Wagner from Huddersfield, he fits the Gibbo mould, young relatively in experienced manager, and has contacts with other clubs, Jürgen Klopp at Liverpool is 1 and also Borussia Dortmund from his time there.
But that’s just my opinion but who would you like to see lead us back to the Premier League next season and onwards and upwards.