Your Team In The Media: Sunderland

They're a fairly amiable bunch, Sunderland fans. Of course that is masking the deep rage that lies within, as Johnny and Al explain in their latest look at your club in the media...

Last Updated: 16/10/13 at 15:51 Post Comment

More of the games that matter

2 years free Sky Broadband Unlimited for Sky Sports customers

What do the papers, the TV, and fans of other clubs think about your team? In this series, John Nicholson and Alan Tyers look at the stereotypes, coverage and media agendas for each team in the Premier League. And hey kids, just because they're pointing them out, it doesn't mean they're endorsing them. This week, it's the turn of the forever-unconvincingly nicknamed Black Cats...

Ex-player pundit presence
Niall Quinn: he smiles beatifically but is he talking sense or waffling aimlessly? We expect a solid TV career from his erstwhile partner, Kevin Phillips, hopefully as a big pundit-little pundit partnership with Niall. Mickey Gray, a name positively designed to be said in a Sunderland accent. The hollow-legged iconoclast Peter Reid, who now sports the groomed arty look of a man who was big in pop art in 1963. Officially the oldest-looking 57-year-old on earth. Sunderland does that to a man. And of course, the fire-breathing weird beard that is Roy Keane. And: what's become of Barry Venison?


Celebrity followers
Wide-eyed and legless ex-Beatle, Heather Mills, Steve Cram, Kate Adie, one-hit wonder Tasmin Archer and the man who inflicted the bloody Eurythmics on us, Dave Stewart (not the excellent Dave Stewart who was in Canterbury proggers, Hatfield And The North, half of this column would like to point out.) [And the other half of this column now feels obliged to point out that it really liked the Eurythmics, just while we're here, and does the first half of this column want to take this outside or is it too busy listening to 47-minute-long noodling tracks about astral projection and the military-industrial complex or whatever the hell it is that Canterbury proggers Hatfield And The North sing about?]. Erm, anyway. Neil Tennant is claimed as a fan, which is a delightful if preposterous idea. Sunderland also count among their faithful the magnificent, alabaster-skinned former Kenickie guitarist and general telly lass Lauren Laverne, about whom we get funny feelings in our normally withered parts.


Back page leaders?
Football is a religion on the north east, in that it divides, causes wars and distracts people from their own mortality. It dominates the local press but nationally Sunderland is a long way up the coast from anywhere down south, and is supported by nobody in London, and some papers would rather ignore them if at all possible. This has not been at all possible of late, with the club doing a splendid impression of being a complete basket case. In MON, Roy and of course Di Canio they have had a recent trio of managers who are fascinating, for wildly differing reasons. The departure of Paolo is something of a tragedy for the media.


Gaffer's media skills
New man Gus Poyet comes with a largely positive backing of the media but then so do most of Sunderland's managers shortly before everyone gets sick of them. Febrile local media, fuelled (in our personal experience) by industrial levels of booze, is constantly giving it out to the gaffer. This ensures that, sooner or later, said manager falls out with them. Poyet can at least pull the "me no understand what you say" routine for a while, as indeed do most English people on arrival in Sunderland.


Vox pop cliché fan
Weighty working class chap with huge beer-fed body, wife similarly endowed in a shirt a bit too tight, not that she gives a flying feck. Noisy and passionate and slightly incomprehensible. Seems amiable enough on the surface, hiding depths of inner rage. Loves chips. Mistaken by anyone south of Washington as a Geordie. Hugely proud of the club in abstract but hates the actual reality and misses Roker Park with the deep, bitter passion of a man whose only love in life was Miss Bolden Colliery 1981.


Keyboard warrior ferocity
With Di Canio doing such a great job of making the club a punchline from within, internet Mackems have been obliged to keep their own counsel of late. With a manger like that, what else can you do? Early signs are that Poyet has not been a popular appointment but, with relegation a real possibility - only Palace are a shorter price to go down at present - expect a circling the wagons mentality from online Sunderland fans.


Club's brand
Massive, august working class institution with serious historical credentials including six League titles and two FA Cups. A people's club in tune with working class aspirations. Retailer of quality carbohydrate comestibles. Definitely bigger than Newcastle United. Big crowds, big heart.


Outsider's view
The less Cockney north-eastern club. Bloody hell it's cold up here. Who is the Sunderland manager now? Why do so many keep going when they always play terrible football? Having established themselves in the Premier League, what is the actual point of Sunderland, other than North East derbies? They're never going to win anything. Sooner or later, flirting with relegation will lead to actual getting shagged by relegation, won't it? Oh no, not that Jim Montgomery save again.


Archetypal news stories

'Paolo Di Canio Ate My Hamster.'

'27 players in, 35 Out For Black Cats in Summer Transfer Madness.'

'Someone no-one even knew was at the club has left.'

'Ellis Short: 'What the heck is a Sunder Land?'

John Nicholson and Alan Tyers

See Alan's new book 'Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects' here

Read Johnny's book, 'The Meat Fix' here

Alan on The Ashes and more here.

Follow Alan on Twitter here or Johnny here.

More of the games that matter

2 years free Sky Broadband Unlimited for Sky Sports customers

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

put Ince in my fantasy football team, so it's no surprise at all really. I do that to players. Also responsible for De Jong and Upson being injured. Think I'll transfer in Di Maria just to ruin United....

megabrow (cufc)
F365's Top Ten Surprise Strugglers

L

ovren? £20m always seemed a touch on the expensive side, but I wasn't expecting him to be quite such a waste of money

stevenjameshyde
F365's Top Ten Surprise Strugglers

H

alf of our players have the physical presence of a 14 year old girl. I don't know why people are always shocked that they're injured.

TheWhiz
Wenger baffled by injuries

Footer 365

PSG stun Barca, Bayern stay 100%

PSG edged to an entertaining 3-2 Champions League win over Barcelona, while Bayern Munich beat CSKA Moscow and BATE stunned Athletic Bilbao.

Champions League: Manchester City held to home draw by Roma

Manchester City endured yet another night of Champions League frustration as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Roma.

Champions League: Nemanja Matic earns three points for Chelsea against Sporting Lisbon in Group G

Nemanja Matic's header earned Chelsea three away points against Sporting Lisbon in UEFA Champions League Group G.

Mail Box

#Usingfootballersnamesineverydaylife

We have the last of these as well as mails on Liverpool, Wayne Rooney, QPR, Arsenal's injuries and more. It's a mailbox that's Alonso rather than Rafael, if you will...

How Much In 'Pounds Raheem Sterling'?

A whole lot of you use footballers' names in everyday life. And you hate yourselves for it. As you should. We also have mails on Newcastle, Rooney and more...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property