I’ve always had an urge to write about my saves as they give a different type of ownership to see them through. After many years of writing on different forums, it’s time to have my own place. I’ve decided to start with The Athletic’s Community Challenge and Sunderland. I’ve decided to set some targets and goals for the challenge – could be that I’m a little ambitious here…
For increased realism I decided to start with the first transfer window turned off, therefore there was no transfer in before the season started. The only reinforcements done was in the coaching staff, as there are some big gaps to fill there. Roy Keane was brought in as my assistant, nice to have some temper on the training ground. Kevin Phillips, Ricky Sbragia and Anthony Colbert were brought in to strengthen the team and it’s always nice to have brought back a legend. Went for Gareth Prosser as the Head of Youth, but he needs replacing when/if we climb the pyramid.
After a lot of trying and failing in pre-season, with some tough results and bad football it eventually started to look like a football team.
The first game of the season against Grimsby in the Carabao cup started with conceding in the 12th minute and chasing a goal the whole game. Stewart managed to fight a goal in in the 81st minute and secure penalties. Two weeks later Norwich awaited and it was a close game. Eventually lost 1-2 after a Willis own goal at 90+3. Typical Sunderland I thought to myself… September was to be a tough month with one point after three games in the League.
October and November are more important than ever after a bad start. Finally got the first win after five matches, but the rest of the month continued the Sunderland way…
November had its ups and downs in the league, but we managed to win both the first and second round of the FA Cup and secure a big game against Arsenal in January.
Going into December we were outside of the playoffs by 7 points and needed to hit the ground running to catch up with the other top teams. As you can see it was so close to a perfect month!
Charlie Wyke scored seven this month and deservedly won player of the month. I also won my first ever manager of the month. A nice way to finish the year after a tough start to life at the Stadium of Light.
Other notable players from the first half of the season are Luke O’Nien and Grant Leadbitter. Due to an injury on Power, O’Nien has made the BBM role his own. Paired in a pivot with Leadbitter who looks like Pirlo at his best, they have been running the midfield like a masterclass, especially in December.