View from the South Stand - Sunderland 23/08/11
Brighton and Hove Albion host Premier League side Sunderland
in the second round of the Carling Cup on Tuesday evening.
We asked Simon Walsh from RokerReport.com
to answer some questions for us ahead of this massive cup-tie
at the Amex.
What are the aspirations for Sunderland this season?
for SAFC this season were to build on last season, and hopefully
a cup run of note. To come tenth last season was both an
achievement having gone on such a ridiculously bad run mid-season,
and also a disappointment after the season started so promisingly.
As for a cup run, we've said it every year and it's yet
to happen. Steve Bruce has talked pre-season and in the
build-up to this game about his desperation for a good cup
run. About time he delivered that.
We're very lucky to have a chairman who is an Albion fan
and is funding the club to high heaven. Nobody seems to
have a bad word to say about Niall Quinn so what is he
like as a chairman?
a good chairman. We've got a good partnership with Niall
fronting for Texan billionaire Ellis Short. Niall came
in with investors from Ireland and took the club up from
the doldrums to where we are now. He's pretty much a saint
in the eyes of many fans. Ellis is a quiet type, pumping
money in when necessary, but there comes a time when you
think he must be looking at a return on things. Niall
does all the talking, and tends to be in charge of 'footballing
decisions' but at times may need a bit more of a backbone.
That's only a minor criticism mind, the guy is a legend
round these parts.
You've received some massive fees for the likes of Darren
Bent and Jordan Henderson which seem to have been invested
sensibly in proven Premier League performers like John
O'Shea. What do the Sunderland fans make of the busy summer
at the Stadium of Light?
delighted with the business done so far, but there are
still glaring holes in the squad. All the players who
have come in are quality, there's no denying that, but
it's a gamble to go with Kieran Richardson and Phil Bardsley
as our options at left-back. We've hopes for Richardson,
but it is a transition for him - one he might never make
a success of. Bardsley was player of the year last year,
but is still an out of position right-back. We could also
use a proper left winger as Seb Larsson is wasted there,
whilst another striker would be nice. Asamoah Gyan will
be off to the African Cup in January, and after that we've
only an 18yr old and a 21yr old, neither of which have
played in the Premier League before this season.
Brighton have aspirations to one day make it to the Premier
League. As a side that bounced between the Championship
and the top flight not so long ago, what is the secret
to consolidating and becoming a solid mid table side?
Simple as that really. Playing with a swashbuckling, gung-ho
attitude like say Blackpool last year will only get you
so far. You need to have solid heads who have been there
and done it, and can help you hang on for a 1-0 win as
opposed to letting a lead slip in the last few minutes.
The players you need to bring in might not cost the earth,
but they need to have experience of tough situations,
and have the ability to pass that to those around them.
It's obviously taken us a long time to get a permanent
home after leaving the Goldstone in 1997, the same time
you said goodbye to Roker Park. What difference has having
a top class stadium made to the football club?
it's nice I suppose. I'm sure it looks impressive to signings
and the bank manager too, but all in all, not a massive
difference to be honest. Some swanky TV's and a nice bar
nobody can afford to go in is all well and good, but it's
not exactly the famous Roker Roar.
A lot of teams don't take the League Cup seriously anymore.
What sort of line up can we expect Sunderland to send
out at the Amex?
We're expecting changes to be made from Saturday.
We brought in plenty players as you mentioned earlier,
and some of them will get the chance to prove themselves.
I can see at least four or five changes on the cards.
The likes of Connor Wickham, Kieren Westwood, Craig Gardner
and Ji Dong-Won could start in addition to the likes of
Titus Bramble who have been kept out recently should start.
You will be the first top flight team to visit the stadium
for a competitive game. How many can we expect to see
down and are you looking forward to visiting the new stadium?
usually take a good following to away games, and with
it being a fair distance away, midweek, 'only' the League
Cup and a long trip to Swansea on Saturday many may have
been forced to choose between the both, but I've since
been told we've sold out our away section, which a monumental
effort given the circumstances. I'm sure each and everyone
is looking forward to checking out the new stadium, of
which we've only heard good things.
Quite a few Brighton fans have been kicking off about
the ticket prices for this game bearing in mind it is
the League Cup and both teams may not be at full strength.
What has been the reaction among Sunderland fans to the
I've noticed some fans aren't particularly
happy with the pricing, but unfortunately that's just
the way of the world nowadays, even more so when there's
a new stadium to pay for. Many fans are simply priced
out these days. Obviously the prices are the same for
Albion fans, but often Sunderland are the victims. A lot
of clubs divide games up into Category A & B with
differing prices for both. Cat A tends to be Man United,
City, Arsenal etc, and nowadays SAFC are being included
in that. We're nowhere near as good as them, nor will
provide as much entertainment or 'star power'... but we
will sell out most away allocations, which is of course
£££ to the home clubs.
How much do you know about Gus Poyet's Brighton and Hove
To be perfectly honest, very little. From the little I
have managed to pick up though it appears Brighton are
a team on the up, with a reputation for playing some good
football. I'm expecting the game to be a tough test for
what's your prediction for the game?
Cliched as it is, I think this could go either way. I'm
leaning towards a win for us, but it won't be pretty if
we do get one. I'll say 1-0 to us, and not at all comfortable.
I'm not particularly good with predictions, so no doubt
it will be 4-0 to you lot.
thanks to Simon for his insight into the forthcoming fixture/
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