Post-Sunderland thoughts

I'm not going to write a match report as just about everybody would have seen that game for themselves.

I put my pen down about ten minutes into the second half because I could see what was coming. I'm also really pissed off. Here's a few observations: 1. We played pretty well in that first half, because we were looking for a goal;

2. That Matty run that led to the goal was like the Matty of old, but we have seen very little of that this season. He just seems incapable of playing the full 90;

3. Maybe we could have got something out of the game, but the reality is that we performed badly early on in the season. Too many defeats. This is not about 'luck' this is about playing for the whole season;

4. I thought Mullins was great in the centre in the first half, he was really getting his foot in;

5. The half time team talk was about containment - how else could you explain the defensive posture we took? The idea was not to concede a goal and because that was the game plan, when we did concede we looked totally shell shocked;

6. There were long spells when we couldn't get the ball and they were passing it around with abandon;

7. Elliot looked a bit suspect tonight, but I will not be critical of the boy - he has been superb since being asked to do a job for the team;

8. Shaun Newton was terrific again - I just love the work rate;

9. Tomas - thought he was solid and I think we do have to pay some tribute to the fact that he was still trying so hard despite the fact that he knows he's on his way as soon as the season ends;

10. We lacked the guile and the creative spark offered by Teddy plus those goal poaching instincts when the ball was bouncing around in their box;

11. Marlon was not punched - it was a bit of playacting. He was definitely hobbling as he went off at half time and he went missing in the second half as a result;

12. Z-man - what can I say? You know I've never been a fan, but even I was beginning to think that he was at last showing some form. The problem I have always had with him is that he rarely delivers on the big occasion;

13. There were a lot of strangers around us tonight. I saw a lot of shirts from our last season in the Premiership. It was almost as if it was the first time they had been back since then. I'm not having a pop - I don't care when people come as long as they back the team;

14. Pathetic incident near me when some bloke spat in the face of a bloke near me who I know to be a season ticket holder as he's there most games. Dunno what that was all about but that was an act of Diouf-like cowardice;

15.The subs. Hmmmm. That looked like a roll of the dice with no particular strategy in mind;

16. Applause for Sunderland at the end. They deserved it. They have fashioned a team from scratch. They have a good manager. They have a loyal and raucous set of fans. They were better than us on the night. Good luck to 'em;

17. It's not over for us yet, although the scales have tipped against us. It will hinge on the last game of the season;

18. If we don't make it to the playoffs or fail in the playoffs, any impartial observer of our club has to conclude that it is time for regime change. The current Board have had more than ample opportunity to put us back on track. They should step aside and admit that someone needs to take a fresh look at who we are and where we're going;

19. If we fail, then the other conclusion is that we must try again next season with a new manager. I think Pardew has been given more than enough of an opportunity to prove himself. He is the almost man - a bit like Trevor Francis when he was at Birmingham. The mistake Birmingham made was to stick by him "because surely our luck will change next season". It never did. That club progressed because fundamental changes were made in its direction and management. That is what we need to do;

20. Glenn Hoddle and Judas Ince are possibly two individuals who I dislike the most in football. I am going to put that to one side for a day tomorrow, although I honestly believe that Reading will win that game by one goal. That will mean that they will be three points and two goals to the good as we trot off to Watford. What price you reckon that we beat Watford 1-0 and they lose 1-0 to Wigan, meaning we go through on goals scored?

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