We met Mary and her family next morning about 9.30 am in Harrow. Before it we had holiday-schedule-troubled (but successful) tube-trip. We took earliest trains what were available (Circle line leaving Liverpool street 9.40, change to Metropolitan line at Baker street with few panic (I say – too many Metropolitan platforms!)). At last were Tafka and aiFo in Freelander moving to the north with Mary, her husband and mother-in-law. Goodbye London!
We arrived to Sunderland few minutes after 1pm. Flick had made a booking for us in Travelodge, so we paid our bill, dropped our bags to the room and moved to the Deaf club for pre-match pints and meet Manuel who organized match tickets for us. Everything worked out well and after some time we were at SOL – South Stand this time.
Boxing day match vs Leeds United. For me it was first time to see stadium crowded over 40 000 people. It really looked very much like full house. Atmosphere was superb and Leeds team played like… Ermm… Anyway it looked like whatever happen with SAFC promotion race this season we’ll not see Leeds Utd next season again.
But even Leeds played shite, I didn’t enjoyed Sunderland play at first half. This Keano’s tactics to play many players out of their position, to see our defence line far from confident (Nyatanga!), Dwight Yorke’s mysterious role in team (having great chance he never shoots at target, always passing ball away)… At first it really looked like team is making it difficult for themselves. Ok, if I’m calmed down I can understand that we have injury crisis, Nyatanga is still very young and maybe it’s smart to have experienced player in middle who isn’t shooting on target every time he gets a chance (we have Leadbitter for this kind of action, haven’t we?).
At second half we played much better. Leeds was destroyed. Goals from Connoly and Leadbitter were a relief – only few points from 6th place. It was great to see players fighting. I’ve always liked the way how Elliott plays (even out of position he’s one of the best), Leadbitter made no compromises, new boy Miller was sharp… Even Yorkie’s task was sucessful (Aye, we got goals!). Nyatanga could improve in the future (so far don’t play him!), but Varga… Slow, he’s fecking slow, very Gary-Breen-like…
It was a good match!
After the match we walked back to Deaf club. We had few beers and moved to the town to have some eat and visit few pubs.
It was my 4th time in Sunderland in four years. And as long as I remember there is a tradition (actually it’s more and more like deja vu thing) to end up our pub tour in Museum Vaults. There is no differents when you arrive there – 3pm or 10 pm – you will deffinetly stay there until you are thrown out from the pub (or actually you are leaving pub when Sara says about 10th time ‘No more beer tonight’). Museum Vaults is my home pub in Sunderland – always great to be there!
We left Museum Vaults few minutes before 1am (or at least I’d like to belive we did). AiFo tried to order fish&chips from fast food shop next to Vaults and his mission was even successful – got pizza, but who cares! Thankfully Travelodge is very close to Museum Vaults. We needed some rest.