Martin O’Neill hasn’t been in the Sunderland job long, and he hasn’t yet had time to put his mark on the team, but if his past history is anything to go by, we should see Sunderland become a much stronger side in the months and years ahead.
Martin O’Neill – thinks – how can I make Black Cats as good as Newcastle?
Answer – very difficult – hence the pained expression
And Martin has paid Newcastle United and Alan Pardew some compliments today, as he said Sunderland could do a lot worse than take their lead from Newcastle, who have a strong physical side with a top strike force, and individual brilliance as well in the form of a certain Hatem Ben Arfa.
This is what the Sunderland manager told the local press today:
“We should take our lead from them in that sense – it was an exceptional season,” “This time last year I wasn’t working, I was looking at it from afar and when the results were coming in on a Saturday and Newcastle were going strong. I probably felt like a lot of people that they will do well to keep it going.”
“But they kept it going, they had a few hiccups along the way but managed to fight back again in big games when they weren’t playing well. That is a sign of a half-decent side. So they deserve all the accolades they have got.” “It’s not to diffuse any situation – that’s how I view it. Alan Pardew won manager of the year and he deserved that, so it was a terrific effort.”
“It should give us the type of lift we are looking for here.” “Our aim at some stage or other is to at least be the best side in this part of the world and if you are a better side than Newcastle and they have continued to make progress it must mean you are doing okay.”
“I’m unable to give you an assurance that we wouldn’t be second best on the day against Newcastle.” “They’re a very fine side, they’re strong, they’re physical and they can mix it with the very best. They can go long if they want, they have ability in the middle of the field and they have a young dribbler – Hatem Ben Arfa – who can go past players at will.”
“So they’ve got a mixture of it all.” “I thought Manchester City were a physically strong team – particularly when you see them in the tunnel versus some of our lads – and Newcastle are every bit as physically strong as them. They have proved they are one of the best strike forces in the league. They are strong, they can score goals.
“They might not feel as if they’ve been as prolific this season but the season is really still in its infancy.” “As for us, we have Steven Fletcher and Fletcher and Fletcher! He’s the only one scoring goals for us at the minute.”
Putting aside the passionate rivalry between the two clubs, we’ve always said that it would be great if both Newcastle and Sunderland could have great sides at the same time – with of course the proviso that Newcastle finish ahead of Sunderland in the Premier League and we hammer them a couple of times each season – of course.
The Tyne-Wear derby then would be a game watched keenly in England and also around the world, given that the Premier League is becoming so popular all over the place these days.
We know this probably goes against conventional wisdom in Newcastle, we know this goes against conventional wisdom in Newcastle – but it would be terrific for the North East area.
Of course that’s in the future, and we have to hope we can get all 3 points tomorrow, and that some of our top players turn up for this game, and put in a great performance, and at least make up for the bitter disappointment last time out against Manchester United.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org