Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Spare a thought for the Mackems. No, not a charitable one.

Niall Quinn rode into town a month or so ago, a knight in shining armour on his trusty steed, determined to rescue his damsel in distress (that'd be Sunderland, relegated last season with a new record lowest points tally, "beating" their own worst total set two seasons previously). Suddenly the sun was shining over the wasteland that is Wearside. Hope sprung eternal.

A month on and Quinn looks increasingly like a man wrapped in tinfoil carrying a plastic sword and sat astride a fat, flatulent, flea-ridden donkey bound for the glue factory any day now. And he's also discovered to his chagrin that his damsel in distress is not so much a damsel as a pasty, lardy, gap-toothed, chain-smoking, betracksuited denizen of the town's Bridges shopping centre.

Five competitive matches so far this season, and five defeats - the latest to League 2 outfit Bury in the League Cup, a game in which their new signing Arnau Riera (from Barcelona, no less) was sent off three minutes into his debut. And all that on a day that fans' hero Sewpa Kev showed his passion for the club where he made his name by choosing to sign for West Brom instead.

And now Quinn is claiming "it's 70-30 now we'll have a world-class manager in place [for Monday's defeat against West Brom]". I can't wait to hear who it is. I don't think I could laugh as much as I did the day they unveiled the Howard Wilkinson / Steve Cotterill dream team, but you never know.

Schadenfreude - isn't it marvellous? As well as being a word with at least three syllables too many for the Great Unwashed to cope with...


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