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101 members have voted

  1. 1. Man of the match?

    • Friedel
    • Emerton
    • Samba
    • Ooijer
    • Warnock
    • Derbyshire
    • Tugay
    • Mokoena
    • Dunn
    • Bentley
    • Santa Cruz

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Sunderland v Blackburn Rovers, 29.09.2007

Sunderland, like Rovers, are an institution in English football. Whilst they can’t claim to have been one of the founding members of the Football League in 1888, as the dominant team in the North East they didn’t hang around and were allowed to join the likes of Rovers, Accrington, Preston, Bolton and Burnley in 1890.

They replaced Stoke in the league, but at a cost – Sunderland only got voted in after agreeing to pay the expenses of visiting teams who would now have to trek half way to Norway, rather than popping down to Junction 15 on the M6. Burnley made history as the first visitors, and thinking it was the best holiday ever they returned to Lancashire with a 3-2 victory :(

Like Rovers fans, Sunderland fans can point to an illustrious past, and the two clubs shared unprecedented success 100 years too early – had Sky TV been around in the 1890s rather than the 1990s both clubs might now be gracing the European stage every week … which would be soooooo much better than watching the gatecrashers from London and Manchester.

Shortly after Rovers bagged a hattrick of FA Cups, Sunderland became the first club to get three Championships (1892, 93 and 95). We also traded the Championship crown before WW1 – 1912 Rovers, 1913 Sunderland, 1914 Rovers. Sunderland won it once more in 1936, and we did too - in errr … 1995.

For both clubs, such early success was built on thriving local industry and fullsome employment. In the North East, that meant mining. If you want to read more about the history of mining around Sunderland and elsewhere in the north, then click this link – it’s well worth the visit … http://www.dmm.org.uk/mindex.htm

My own introduction to Sunderland the place was through my best-man-to-be (Johnny) who has kindly agreed to do “5 questions” just down the page. Johnny’s mum makes the best ham and pease pudding sandwiches in the country. 10 years ago in 1997 I made my first and last visit to Roker Park - it was a cold, drab January 0-0 and you could hear Motson moaning from 80 yards away – the Roker commentary position was legendary as the least hospitable in the world.

10 years on, I’m really looking forward to experiencing the new ground. It’s not a prefab “off the peg” dump like Southampton, Derby, Boro, etc., and Sunderland as a football club has the history to justify the superior surroundings – just as we have at Ewood.


Yorke and Cole were the best in the world at MU. They were found out at Rovers. How do you feel about paying their wages at Sunderland?

Yorkie added some invaluable experience last season and is a great role model for the younger players. On the pitch he's struggling a bit with the pace of the Premiership this season but obviously Keano still values his contribution and he has started most games. Cole's signing was one of a number that raised a few eyebrows, an ex-Skunk who has hardly played for the last two seasons, that sort of record is never going to endear him to the fans. He's injured at the moment so can't do anything to win the fans over. If nothing else it will lead to some interesting newspaper column inches.

Craig Gordon appears to be a fantastic keeper, is he worth 9 million quid?

If we end up paying 9 million quid then we have trigggered all the clauses in his contract, so I'll be sitting happy with Sunderland as Premiership champions, FA Cup winners, etc. Goalkeepers are as important as strikers and we have a world class one in Gordon, as he proved recently in the sweaties miraculous win in Paris. He could well be the difference at the end of the season.

Kenwyn Jones or Rocky Santa Cruz?

£6 million quid for Kenwyn Jones or £3.5 million for Santa Cruz, on track record there's only one choice. Saying that, if Jones shows the quality that got him a goal and assist against Reading then it will prove money well spent. Also we needed some physical presence up front to take the burden off Chopra and anyone had to be better than Daryl Murphy.

What was it like to join us at Ewood Park on VE Day in 1995?

Was that the night you beat the Skunks and finished their title ambitions? If so, I enjoyed it as much as the Rovers fans although I didn't have the same adulation for She-Ra that you fellas did.

{Ed - think he's referring to the Fenton brace on 08.04.1996 rather than VE Day - to be fair he gave me a lift up from Nottingham for both games!}

Best tip for Rovers fans visiting Sunderland this weekend?

Hunt out the local delicacy - chip, curried, battered bun.

Thanks Johnny


· Sunderland won the FA Cup in 1937. When the numbers flipped round, they won it again in 1973. [Preston were beaten 3-1 / Leeds 1-0]

· Senior Sunderland Physio Dave Binningsley was a youth team goalkeeper for Burnley, and he also made it into the England setup as a schoolboy

· Chief Scout Mick Brown previously worked for Rovers and Manchester United

· Roy Keane gave a “jobs to the boys” position to Raimond van der Gouw in July – vdG usurped Tim Carter as senior goalkeeping coach. Carter was relegated to coaching the academy keepers, but can take much pride from his part time role – he’s the goalkeeping coach for Estonia

· December 17th 2000 - Kevin Ball took surely the most memorable walk of shame ever when he was dismissed for trying to break Dunny into three pieces at Turf Moor after 76 mins. Only Burnley would put the players tunnel at the away end. Mark Hughes had left the field 10 minutes earlier (for Matt Jansen) - but the 97,000 inbreds in the crowd already knew the outcome of the match, and where the bragging rights would live for another generation … … Kevin Ball is now back at his spiritual home as Sunderland's assistant academy manager.



H – Spurs – Won – 1-0

A – Brum – Draw – 2-2

A – Wigan – Lost – 3-0

H – Liverpool – Lost – 2-0

A – Man Utd – Lost – 1-0

H – Reading – Won – 2-1

A – Boro – Draw – 2-2


A – Luton – Lost – 3-0


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Great preview.

I think this will be a tricky one especially if we play like we did against Larissa and Portsmouth. They are a lot stronger this time round and I fully expect them to stay up this season.

I'm going to go with the draw, 1-1 with Bentley getting on the scoresheet to bring Rovers level.

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Tris - am I reading it right - you have never been to the SOL?

If so - just make sure you keep an eye on them darn stewards and Police otherwise you will be ejected before you know it.

As for the ground I have to disagree - to me its excatly like the other grounds you mention unless they have changed it since last there.

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Tris - am I reading it right - you have never been to the SOL?

If so - just make sure you keep an eye on them darn stewards and Police otherwise you will be ejected before you know it.

As for the ground I have to disagree - to me its excatly like the other grounds you mention unless they have changed it since last there.

Yeah I remember the stewards chucking people out at the cup replay a few years back when there were only a handful in the ground. It's not a bad ground but as you say it is very similar to Boro's and Derby's to name 2.

Looking forward to this one, probably be my last away trip for a while so it had better be good.

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Great preview by Tris.

Hughes has big decisions to make about Benni, Savage and MGP.

Granted we were playing BIG CLUB reserves last night but it seems there was a flow about Rovers which was missing in the Chelsea and Larissa games.

I suspect Sparky will rest Tugay for the Larissa game and bring Sav back, Derbs will regret missing the target a few times last night and miss out to Benni but Dunn will stay wide left and MGP will be on the bench.

After the Pompey defeat, Sunderland has become a must win. 3-2 to the Rovers.

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If we can find the net tonight I'll be confident going into Saturday's game. If we don't then it's four games without a goal and time to start wondering what's going on...

I've said the same before last night, so I am more confident now. Though philipl is right - it is still a must win game.

We've had some good results against clubs in the top half of the table so far, we need to not slip up against clubs lower down the league like we did last year.

I'm looking forward to the trip up there :tu:

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I wonder if Hughes will stick with the system on Saturday? I guess if he did we would be looking at:






Subs: Brown, Zurab, Pedersen, McCarthy, Roberts (if fit, if not Rigters)

I would take that over the normal 442. More stable (the axe does so well shoring up a 451), and the 442 is knackered at the moment as we lack the power in midifield and we are not getting the crosses in.

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we seem to do well up north, so i hope the run continues.

mgp will be back in the side imo and i like the look of this 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 formation we played lastnight. we created alot of chances yes against a weak side but we dominated the midfield which hasn't been happening in previous games.

my team


emerton samba ooijer warnock




...............santa cruz

subs: brown, zurab, tugay, axe, benni.

sunderland 0-2 rovers

gamst x2

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......................santa cruz...........

i would have mokoena ahead of savage because he can be the sitting player and allow the others to play..

also, that formation can turn into a 4-4-2 aswell, with derbyshire going upfront, and bentley going back to right wing..

i have a bad feeling about this game..against teams we should win, on paper we have a much better squad we lose, so 2-1 sunderland i say..

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......................santa cruz...........

With Debyshire, Dunn and Bentley interchanging positions throughout the game.

Mackems 0 : 2 Rovers

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2-1 Rovers win Santa Cruz and MGP with goals: :rover:

Friedel ©

Emerton Ooijer Samba Warnock

Derbs Bentley Savage Dunn MGP

Santa Cruz

Subs: Brown,Zurab, Axe, Tugay, Benni

With Derbs maybe starting on the right of a 5 man midfield, moving back up front later if needed.

Roberts missing with thigh injury. When is Reid set to return?

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Why the sudden obsession with Derbyshire at right wing? He's a penalty box player, and is too weak in body strength for midfield.



Emerton - Samba - Ooijer - Warnock

Bentley - Dunn - Savage - Pedersen

Benni - Santa Cruz

Bench: Olsson, Mokoena, Tugay, Derbyshire, Rigters, Brown.

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