Ben Fraser from A Love Supreme fanzine answers our questions ahead of Saturday’s trip to the Stadium of Light.
It’s probably fair to say you’ve had a bad start to the season. Why have things gone wrong so far?
Considering that these early games are our ‘easier’ run of fixtures, it would be diplomatic to say we’ve had an awful start to the season. Dick Advocaat has to bear the blame in the short term; his omission of captain consistency, John O’ Shea, for the pedestrian Seb Coates is baffling, as is his failure to drop the positionally abominable Patrick Van Aanholt. He has also failed to instill any team spirit or pattern of play, perhaps his biggest crime to date in the eyes of fanatic SAFC supporters. And yet, in the Dutchman’s defence, he hasn’t had the financial backing of the owner we thought he had returned for. So, it could be said that this is the cataclysmic result of short-term managerial deficiencies meeting long-term inadequacies from boardroom.
Prior to this were you happy with the business you had done in the summer and do you any other positions need strengthening?
As I’ve also alluded to, the left back position has long been an issue at Sunderland. Danny Rose and Marcos Alonso are probably the only specialist full backs to have excelled in the role in recent years (off the top of my head) and PVA is woefully lacking on the defensive front compared to both. Last year Connor Wickham found himself dragged back into defensive duties repeatedly because of this, something which really unbalanced the team and contributed to fact the goal total was a meager 31. So basically, we needed an out and out striker and an attacking midfielder to address the lack of goals as well as a solid left back. The failure to provide solutions to any of these problems was worrying beforehand, even more so after two pasting’s from relegation rivals.
Did you think the club were right to give Dick Advocaat a permanent contract or would you have preferred to see someone else take over?
I was very much of the opinion that a short-term solution such as this could only work if Advocaat was significantly backed in the transfer market, so that come the end of the season he would be able to hand over the reins with the club in a better place. Hindsight has proven the decision therefore to be the wrong one.
What are your hopes for the rest of the campaign?
17th place now would seem like more of a miracle than our great escapes of recent years.
What are your thoughts on Swansea and which players if any do you fear?
Just about all of them; the pace and skill of the wingers Montero and Dyer et al will destroy our wretched full backs, before you factor in the finesse of Shelvey and Ki, the clinical forward play of Gomis and Ayew. Swansea are what every bottom fourteen club aspires to be and streets ahead of us.
Predict the score and where both teams will finish?
2-1 Swansea, barring a minor miracle. Swansea 8th, Sunderland 19th (Hope I’m wrong)