Eleven points from nine games, so OK? Yes, I think so. Not all gone to plan obviously, it never does, but some tough games involved so a steady start is a decent start I reckon. Plenty of time to pick things up, and not chasing our tails this year, And plenty of goals. Sadly so far at both ends, but those who like to see the old onion bag bulging can't complain about our lads. And the usual turn over of players coming in and out as the manager, any manager, decides he was wrong about someone and needs to move them in or out.
View from the cemetery
Most airlines take an unhelpful view of people in my condition, so the way home from our previously discussed sojourn in Italy is by road, over the Alps and up through Germany to Rotterdam, a decent old run to be fair, and obviously uphill on the way back.
Germany is an interesting place, great beer, hardly any English tourists, lots of trees, hundreds of quaint little towns who seem glad to see visitors, superb free motorways, from which you can see, amongst other things, hundreds of excellent little football stadiums in the aforementioned quaint little towns. Difficult to write a match report at 70 mile an hour, but they seemed to be cracking on canny. Might suggest a German tour for the lads. Mind, one lot were playing American football so I paid little attention to them.
The transfer window is about to bang shut and the SoL faithful still hold their breath and bite their nails. Which is quite an achievement. For what it's worth, and I writing as I am early in the week I might be right or wrong already here, I think it will be a frantic few days of ins and outs for Sunderland. I don't think Dick Advocaat is one to let life pass him by. But generally there will be relief when it's over and everybody gets on with what they have. If only it was the same in the NL. The constant threat of the merry go round during the season is a headache for most managers, although exploited by some, generally those with the most resources of course. Don't think fans like it, they want to identify with players and watch the development of lads over time and share the sense of all being in this together.
Cemeteries in Italy are interesting places; the locals are still quite big on the kind of over the top memorials that went out of fashion in Victorian times back home. Much use of marble columns, cherubs, angels and the like. And, which has never been our style, pictures of the deceased themselves, though rarely looking cheerful, which is I guess understandable. Although mostly of a damn good age, despite the still largely universal tabs habit. All that olive oil I guess. I mention this as today's thoughts come from over a fence on the shores of Lake Garda rather than the more usual tatty structure in Ryhope, and more to the point, without a view of a football pitch. But still with a view of football. Kids in Italy still seem keen on kicking a ball about in car parks and on the street in a way ours aren't much any more. Makes me quite nostalgic. Big kids running rings round littler kids, the occasional bloke joining in for a couple of minutes till 30 years of fags starts to take its toll, and one side's goal always twice the size of the other. Do they play 20 half time and 40 the winner like we did? I hope so. And always a white ball so you can play in the dark. And the one with the ball is king.
Well, they said it looked like a tough start, and they weren’t kidding were they? Though it might well have been different if we had taken our chances last Saturday. Consett looked a solid side but we coped well overall, and were certainly always in the game. Tuesday night was more testing. Early days, but I am told by my travelling correspondent that Dunston looked the real deal, even if we competed throughout and the scoreline maybe flattered them a bit. There are a few sides who have started like a house on fire, and we seem to be engaged with most of them over the next few games!
Welcome back dear friends, here we go with another nine months of heartache, nail biting and soul searching to look forward to. Glancing through the league registration site, as you do at this time of year, in search of possible opportunities to pinch a couple, I notice that my old mucker Gustavo De Paulo da Nobrega e Silva has signed for Tow Law. Another transatlantic plane fare wasted. I jest of course. It was their Bert I really knew well. Still, damn fine name for a footballer, or a President come to that, gives the league a little touch of class. Unless it turns out he has two left feet and is allergic to the cold...