Hi NASA members,
At the beginning of the season I spoke to Ellis and we were both confident that the season ahead would be a positive experience and the team would be able to compete at Championship level.
Having brought in Chris Coleman, who did a great job with Wales, the expectation was that the club would have a relatively good season.
I certainly didn't expect us to be relegated bottom of the league with two games left to play after a home defeat by Burton Albion.
As a Sunderland fan who has seen most of the home games this season I am so disappointed with the way the season has developed. A lot of the games have been very similar in pattern....we started off well and put pressure on teams but then conceded a sloppy goal, players then lacked confidence and we go on to lose by the odd goal...or two.
The team got bullied out of games because we couldn't compete physically with teams who had bigger strikers. Everyone in football knows that the Championship is a physical league and I don't think we brought in players who could have handled this aspect of the league. We have also been very weak up front. Grabban obviously decided he didn't want to stay for the second half of the season and Fletcher hasn't scored enough goals as his replacement.
Other factors have been far too many injuries and I cannot understand the Rodwell situation. From a fans point of view I cannot understand a player who apparently doesn't want to play for the club but is happy to pick up his astronomic wage packet every week. As a player who had to finish through injury at the age of 21 I am sickened by his attitude and committment to the club. Sunderland are in financial difficulties and we really needed everyone at the club to be pulling in the same direction.
We now are looking forward to next season in the third tier of English football.
Will we have a new owner in the summer?
If so will we have a new manager?
Will Chris Coleman want to manage in League One if he receives an offer from a club in a higher division?
Will we have the necessary funds to bring in the quality of players to be promoted at the first attempt?
I am afraid I can't answer any of these questions but what I can say is that this team as it stands is not good enough to win promotion next season so something has to happen to enable the team to improve if we are to put in a promotion challenge. Let's hope there are significant moves this summer and the club..and the team..can move forward.
On a brighter note Micky Horswill and I went to see Billy Hughes (pictured above) in Derby yesterday and he looked very well.
I am organising a 45th reunion of the 1973 team and we are having a dinner in the boardroom on Saturday 5th May.
It will be great to meet up again and I would like to thank the club for supporting the event.
Latest updates from our Honorary President:
Hi all you Sunderland fans........here we are again at Christmas near the bottom of the league, only this time it is the Championship with the prospect of relegation to the third tier of English football. I would love to be positive and say that I have every confidence that we will start winning games and pull away from the bottom of the league but from what i have seen so far this season I am not convinced that will happen.
I was delighted when we appointed Chris Coleman because he is a much better manager with a higher profile than I envisaged us getting. The result against Burton and the fighting draw against table-topping Wolves has at least given us hope that we can fight our way up the league. We will need a minimum of 50 points to escape and that leaves us with another 34 to win.
Undoubtedly the key is going to be whether we can break the habit of not winning at home as the vast majority of teams win most of their points in their home fixtures.
Hopefully Chris can motivate the players to win some games in December and bring in some players during January that will strengthen the team. I have seen most of the games this season and to be brutally honest we have been bullied out of a lot of them. We have been physically inferior and although we have started off well as soon as we go behind some of the heads have gone down and they have lost confidence.
I have to believe that when Chris took the job he was promised some money to spend in the window and with three or four good signings I can see the team climb the league because a lot of the defeats have been by the odd goal so I don't think we are far away from some of the teams challenging for the play-offs.
Here's to a vast improvement in the coming weeks and by the end of January we are sitting in mid-table.
Best wishes to you all for a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year
The 'tache, the Legend!
For many, he is remembered as the “Mag Slayer”, others for his wonderful ‘tache. We caught up with Stan Cummins and asked him about his time on Wearside and how it compared to with his experiences at Minnesota Strikers and Kansas City Comets.
At the age of 20, Cummins joined Sunderland in what was then the Club's most expensive signing of their 100 year history having paid £300,000 for his services. True to form, he scored on his home debut in a 3–1 win over Notts. County in November 1979 at Roker Park. Winning the Daily Express National Five-a-side Championship at Wembley Arena that same month, Cummins would go on to score many vital goals for Sunderland including four goals against Burnley (1980), and on April 5 at Roker Park he scored the only goal that beat Newcastle United [that record stood for twenty-eight years until Sunderland beat Newcastle United again on home soil on 25 October 2008].
His most important goal came against Liverpool the following season. Going into the final game, nothing but a win would secure top flight football for another year. Cummins duly obliged, Sunderland were safe. That season, Cummins received the accolades he deserved, scooping two Player of the Year awards including North-East of England Outfield Player of the Year.
In the summer of 1981 he returned to the NASL and played for the Seattle Sounders alongside Bruce Rioch and Alan Hudson, winning the Trans-Atlantic Challenge Cup against the New York Cosmos, Glasgow Celtic and Southampton.
A short-lived stint with Crystal Palace saw Stan return for a second spell with the Black Cats before joining the Minnesota Strikers on a three-year contract in the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL). The Strikers reached the 1986 MISL Championship in his first season, narrowly losing to San Diego Sockers.
They were to be crowned MISL Eastern Division Champions in 1988 and on April 8, Cummins scored a hat-trick in the Strikers 4–2 victory over Chicago Sting. He was carried shoulder high from the playing field by his team-mates at the end of the game.
The club folded at the end of the season and so Cummins joined the Kansas City Comets for the 1988/89 season. He played in all of the Comets games that season. An entertaining and skillful player, Cummins' career spanned 14 years, 10 years in the English Football League where he made 251 appearances in both League and Cup Competitions scoring 50 goals, 2 seasons in the NASL and 4 years in the MISL, USA.
*Here’s what Stan had to say….
“Playing for SAFC was a dream come true for me!
Two season's under Ken Knighton and Frank Clark. Promotion in 1980 and voted Player of the Year in 1981, tremendous. Playing out of position for Alan Durban for the next two season's, not so much. The fan's never really saw the best of me playing wide on the right being naturally left footed.
Then in 1985 [after a ten year playing career in the old First Division] I signed a three year contract with the Minnesota Striker's in the USA to play in the MISL ( 6-a-side indoors on astro-turf). I loved it, just like when I used to play at the Youth Club with my mate's when I was a kid.
In ‘86 we were beaten in the Championship Series four games to three (best of seven, just like the NBA, MLB and the NHL). We were crowned Eastern Division Champion's in 1987. Unfortunately the Club folded after the 1987/88 season.
My contract being fulfilled I signed for the Kansas City Comet's for the 1988/89 season and played in every game for them that season just like I did for SAFC in the 1980/81 season. The Indoor game was a lot faster than the outdoor that's for sure but being small in stature it suited me more than the big guy's. I retired in 1990. Fourteen years of playing the game that I have loved since I was a youngster at the highest domestic level on two Continent's. Not bad for a North-East boy from Ferryhill.”
SAFC NASA would like to thank Stan for his contribution. A true gent and honorary member of our Supporters Association.
It has been a couple of weeks since my last update and three games have been played. After going 0-1-2 (no wins, 1 tie and 2 losses), we have sunk to the bottom of the Championship and our manager, Simon Grayson, has been sacked.
Must I say that we cannot get much lower? Still, I have a very positive feeling for the team and expect to see better performances once we have a new Manager on-board.
This Saturday (10am k.o.) we are home at the Stadium of Light (SoL) and face fellow league 'strugglers', Millwall FC. Unfortunately, playing at the SoL this season has not proven to be a benefit for the lads. Hopefully, with the past week off [for international play], the Black Cats will be ready for this match. The silver lining here is that we are not even half way through the league schedule and only three points from safety.
Our next Region 7 gathering is set for the Thanksgiving Holiday week. We will be meeting once again at Endeavor Brewing (formally Zauber, on West 5th Avenue) to cheer on our Black Cats when the head to Aston Villa. The game will begin @ 2:45pm on Tuesday, November 21st. Take off a bit early from work and join us to enjoy a pint or two, and watch the Black Cats! I hope you all can make it.
As always, thank you for those who are current 17/18 Season Members with SAFC NASA. For those who have yet to renew, please consider doing so soon.
Until next time, Keep A High Pitch!
SAFC NASA Region 7 Representative
Oscar Odenå provides info on Sweden's finest:
Where are you based?
Örebro, Sweden. It’s a two-hour drive away from Stockholm, our great and beautiful capital!
Story behind how you formed?
We used to have a fairly active web-based forum, but with the emergence of social media a Facebook group seemed more suitable. The idea of the group was to provide a platform where Swedish Sunderland football fans can discuss all things SAFC related, and also get help with travel arrangements and tickets for games.
How long have you been established?
The Facebook group has been active for a couple of years, and the number of members continue to rise, slowly but steadily.
Overview of members, numbers?
At the moment we are just over 100 members, with quite a few active fans who travel over for at least a couple of games every season.
Do you meet, how regularly, where?
Sometimes people meet up to watch the games together in pubs, however there are no ”official” meetings at all. Anyone can organise a meet up if they want and wherever they want. Most of the times though people tend to meet up when traveling over for home and away games.
Which ‘home country’ player would you like to see playing for Sunderland, past or present?
I guess I can speak on behalf of all Sunderland fans over here when I say that it would have been something special if Peter Reid had actually managed to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic, back in 2002.
Special things that you like to do as a group (quirky)?
Well, a few years ago about 20 Swedes traveled over to play a game at the Stadium of Light against English SAFC fans. All in their respective international home kits. I think this is a fun idea that could be organised between various SAFC supporter groups.
All-time favorite player?
Personally I think it’s difficult to narrow it down to one player, but Niall Quinn deserves a mention. Both for his excellent time as a player at the club but also his involvement within the club afterwards.
Group attendance at games?
I would say it depends on the fixture, and obviously the importance of it. It can vary between from just a handful to over 30. But I can say with confidence it does not matter which league we are in – we will still be there regardless.
From all at SAFC NASA, thanks to Sunderland AFC Supporters Sweden! We wish you all the very best for the future!
Our 'well-received' quarterly fanzine, Fever Pittch, is getting a face lift! From November 1, 2017, Fever Pittch shall be available in Blog format. This allows SAFC NASA to present members and followers alike with articles and information in a more timely manner.
We are intent on bringing a little something for everyone through regular columns ‘Pitt’s Bit’; ‘his·to·ryˈhist(ə)rē/’; ‘Who Are Ya?’; ‘Where Are Ya?’; ‘A moment with…’; as well as other special features! If there's something you'd like to see either as a one off article or a regular report, please do not hesitate to contact us with your ideas!
Older issues of Fever Pittch can be found using this link.
Sunderland AFC North America Supporters’ Association Fanzine Blog
Previous editions of Fever Pittch can be found here.