Tuesday, July 11, 2006
"Big Fat Sam's Red and White Army"
The terrace chant just doesn't have the right ring about it, eh?
Speculation is mounting that the Bolton Wanderers boss "Pope" Sam Allardyce will be the man appointed by chairman elect Niall Quinn to lead Sunderland out of the Championship and back to the "holy land" of the Premiership. By last night many bookmakers were refusing to accept any further wagers with Sam's price having shortened steadily as the day went on before he became a heavy odds on favourite to succeed Mick McCarthy in the hot seat at the Stadium of Light.
Former Sunderland player Allardyce would be an instant favourite with the fans with his no nonsense approach to man management and his ability to work within the tightest of budgets, he has already proved that he can create a team that aspires to playing attractive football, having taken Bolton from the First Division into the Premiership and into Europe too. He has worked wonders with Bosman free agents, loan deals, and journeymen, and proved to be a very shrewd operator in the transfer market. Bringing in players like Jay Jay Okocha, Ivan Campo, Youri Djorkaeff, and Gary Speed and meshing them with good young English talent has brought the Trotters a measure of achievement.
We hardy Sunderland fans hope that the bookies have it right and look forward to an announcement from Quinn in the not too distant future.
In other club news today local journalists report that the first signing of the off season will be the experienced Irish half back Kenny Cunningham available on a free, having been released by the relegated Birmingham City. The blues former skipper left the club unhappily after learning that he was one of eight players being discarded, he accused Birmingham of being a
"stiff corpse, with no heartbeat and, more worryingly no soul."
The team is currently training at Bath University in readiness for the new season but three players missed the first day's activities with minor problems, Danny Collins has had a wisdom tooth removed and doctors advised him to wait another day, Chris Brown has a slight groin strain, and Dean Whitehead a sore toe. Whitehead is being chased by promoted Reading and Julio Arca is attracting interest from Spain, whilst young goalkeeper Ben Alnwick is the subject of attention from Tottenham Hotspur, Colin Healey currently out on loan at Ipswich may also be rejoining the club if the "tractor boys" fail to see any advantage with hanging on to the injury prone midfielder.
Sunderland are hoping to have a fully fit squad to pick from for the pre-season's first friendly against non-league Forest Green on Saturday, they have also added another friendly to the preparations, an away game against Shelbourne in Dublin, there is also a friendly arranged at Carlisle where they will be facing in-form former favourite Michael Bridges.
Curly is hoping that this might just be the right season to get his son Junior Curly interested in the fortunes (and heartaches) of the Black Cats,
I have never felt so optimistic for a number of years.
Newcastle Evening Chronicle
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