Whilst it’s a game of opinions, not gaining promotion in 18/19 was ultimately a failure. The regular readers of safcblog will both know I’m keen for Ross to stay ~ but as aforementioned, just my opinion.
So…. “How do we fix a problem like Sunderland?’.
Long after it became apparent Sir Jimmy Savile was perhaps, ‘fixing a bit too much’. Chris Martin started banging in goals for Derby, after becoming famous for giving Gweneth Paltrow one and pretending to be a vegetarian ~ in between he proclaimed he could ‘Fix You’.
Here’s my thoughts on what’s needed next season to fix things and get promotion.
Player of the season. He’s definitely good enough to play in the championship, (we’d probably still be there if we’d had him a year earlier). I’m confident he will stay ~ he’s at at age where he needs to be playing every week. The departure of Ruiter obviously means another keeper will need to be signed.
VERDICT ~ GOOD
After the Coventry fiasco, we have looked better at the back. It’s almost as if it was a, (very late), wake up call to say ~ ‘it’s league 1, just get rid of it and prevent goals ~ let those in front of you do the fancy stuff’
Despite a, (relative), improvement, its clear we need to strengthen at Centre Half.
VERDICT ~ COUPLE OF NEW CH’s REQUIRED
We have too much of the same, I like both Catts and Leadbitter ~ but not sure we need them both on the pitch at the same time. Lee will be going nowhere due to his wages, I’d expect Grant to be released, (probably due to his wages).
Easier said than done, but we need to sign a creative midfielder. Obviously our transfer budget is as yet unknown, but I would make this the number one priority for this summer.
Power and Gooch clearly have lots to offer, but both been hugely inconsistent. Honeyman has been poor, given that Catts shines through as a natural leader on the pitch and pretty much plays the role of skipper, I would hand the armband over to Lee.
VERDICT ~ CHANGE OF CAPTAINCY AND A PLAYMAKER REQUIRED
I’ve not always been overly complimentary to the effort shown by Will Grigg since his arrival. That said we have at the club a proven League 1 goal scorer, we also have a big lad to play along side him who has proven he can score goals at this level. In my opinion this should be enough?
Whilst I’m behind Jack Ross, he needs to find a way to utilise the pair of them together. The 1st half of the 1~0 vs Portsmouth was soul destroying, constant long balls to Charlie who was up front on his own ~ aside from him scoring an overhead kick from 60 yards, (unlikely on the evidence so far), we were never going to score. Hopefully the addition of a playmaker will have a positive impact on the front 2.
VERDICT ~ PERSONNEL OK, ADD A LOAN SIGNING TO KEEP THEM ON THEIR TOES
LOANS / TRANSFERS
Signing of Sterling bizarre, there’s no way Spurs agreed to send him unless they thought he would get game time. The loan market should be used carefully to address areas where we need people and they are going to play. It’s ok to have squad players as back up, but don’t use the loan market for this.
This is the 1st season, (maybe), where the staffing is in place before the end of May. Transfer business needs to be done ASAP, (ideally pre Portugal). The January Transfer Window is a desperate place, it’s like the 1.55am dance, (there’s one for the youngsters).
Forget all about them, we aren’t going to win the FA or Carabao Cups and 10 or so extra games in the Checktrade didn’t serve us overly well this time round. Weakened teams regardless of who we play, (mags aside).
Whilst we like to self gratify, our support is fucking mint. Recent history has made the SOL a difficult place at times ~ next season to gain promotion we need to draw a line under that and get right behind the lads regardless. It’s everyone’s right to leave early etc, (I’ve done it loads and in recent times didn’t even make half time at Bournemouth and Arsenal), buts let’s all try and make the SOL a intimidating place for visiting teams to play again.
It was apparent at Wembley from the moment when Charlton equalised, that the belief we’d win wasn’t particularly strong, (hands up I felt that way). It’s a product of years of hurt ~ but next season will be different.
DRAWS VS LOSES
19 draws was too many, the maths is simple.
I think the culture of not losing ultimately cost us promotion? Sometimes losing isn’t the end of the world? After 44 games we had lost just 3 times, the games following these defeats all resulted in a win. Sometimes when you’re not losing, it feels like it’s ok, whereas drawing at home to Wycombe, Shrewsbury, Fleetwood, Oxford, Accrington etc is , when you look at the league table, is actually far from ok.
The players, inspired by the manager need to be braver.
We said on the way to Wembley
~ don’t let it pass you by
~ have no regrets
~ don’t leave anything out there
It feels a bit like we sleep walked through last season, thinking we’d get promotion come what May.
Jack, Will, Charlie etc ~ this will probably be the biggest club you’ll ever be involved with, grab the opportunity by the bollocks and smash it.
Promotion is there for the taking, the teams that came down will not challenge. Bolton for obvious reasons, Ipswich are in freefall, (could go down again) and Rotherham have probably found their level. Of the 4 promoted teams, Tranmere will be looking to stabilise after successive promotions, Bury are sadly heading down the Bolton route and MK Dons are shit. Lincoln meanwhile will be getting a few of my hard earned pounds placed on them to gain successive promotions.
Charlton going up was ultimately good, in a similar way to Villa in the championship, they’d have been strong next year. Portsmouth are shit, whilst Coventry would be challengers, playing 46 games away from home will shaft them.
It’s 100% there for the taking.
At least by not going up we don’t have to play Leeds?
Regular readers will be aware of my scepticism. That said, as of next week we will have a new majority shareholder with no previous connections to Stewart Donald ~ there’s obviously a very good chance that this will lead to a change of manager. I’d like to see a Jack given another year ~ but if the new owners are to change manager ~ in the same way as transfers, the sooner the better please