Date: 24th January 2010 at 9:50am
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Avram Grant again opted against attending a press conference, the post win Sunderland one, with Paul Groves instead stepping on for him – and ACTULLAY being able to talk about some football!

I am not sure if what sky sports quote him as saying was all he said, but most of it was football related, and most of it aimed at the support from the fans for the club: ‘it was a fantastic spirit from the players. What they showed on that pitch was a great togetherness, and we have come away with a great result with good reward for it.

‘Also, credit to the fans and the way they got behind them. They showed their frustrations, but once they got into the stadium they got behind the players, it was fantastic.

‘Definitely (the fans really helped us through), they played a massive part there to day. It really helped.’

John Utaka proved the hero on the day, I must see the goals again as the 1st was just bizarre – to be fair he arched and angled his head and knew what he was trying to do but I was amazed that it beat the keeper, I just expected it to loop up into his arms but he just seemed to watch it!

Like I say he had a decent game, showing the kind of skill and ability at times that we all know he has, as Groves praised him for: ‘with the ability that John’s got, he is a handful. He showed that on a number of occasions.

‘When he plays like that he is very, very difficult to play against. He is a big asset for us.’

I give him credit, but I will NOT leap into the ‘John Utaka Fan Club’ just yet – lets remember these were only his 2nd and 3rd goals of the season, granted he might not have played all the time but he has flattered to deceive a lot. Yep I know ‘he does not get used as a striker much’ is what some will say and this proved he can do it, but he MUST prove that he can do this regularly as we will sure as hell need it if we cannot move him on!

The cynic in me says that he has another week in the shop window and I fear if this does not get a move we could see a return to the John Utaka we normally see – that said if he wants to go to the world cup in the summer he needs to play and NEEDS to play well, ‘if’ he stays then for the money we will pay him – if we pay it! – we need him to play, and play well!

As far as David James goes, who is still expected to go despite another apparent ‘falling through’ of a loan to Stoke, Groves remained coy on him: ‘David was around and has been around. As far as I am aware, David is still here.’

If the guy was staying he would have at least been on the bench, right?

The again, and with the greatest of respect to James, I am not bothered if he goes anymore to be honest as I think Asmir Begovic again proved he is more than capable…

Rugs final thoughts…

It was a strange afternoon you know guys, around 10,500 in attendance is what I was expecting but seeing the 2 guys walk – and it was a walk, like an afternoon stroll Gallagher brother-esque with them sauntering across the pitch – in the 1st half was truly bizarre, even the stewards were perplexed! The atmosphere was strange for a while, as I do not quite think people knew what to do at times.

SAF sat in the directors box again along with Mark Jacob – who were corned after the game by a couple of guys that one of my travelling mates knows, who reported back that they had pinned them down to get answers, which they got the usually ‘it will be ok’ kind of thing blah, blah, blah’ – although I do not think that Ahmed Al Faraj turned up? Peter Storrie was, as usual, slumped in the corner of the box but I do not think he came out for the 2nd half? At least I did not see him?

As far as ‘football’ goes I am one of those fools that looks at that team and think ‘only, if only’ we could keep something like that we ‘have a chance’ but in all reality it seems that we have no option but to sell and knowing who was left from that for Tuesday against West Ham let alone Citeh next weekend is not something you can predict is it!

The players huddle at the end and then something that almost seemed like a ‘lap of honour’ seemed to see them having the same thoughts, and that was a little moving, especially Younes Kaboul’s actions – I know most footballers do a job, but you cannot help but sense that he has a genuine connection with the club and is more than happy to stay yet seemed to be bidding a reluctant goodbye…

Other like Kevin-Prince Boateng went up in my estimations too as his reaction when we went behind was fantastic, he geed people up got the ball out of the net and sprinted back to the half way line – as for Aaron Mokoena, I know he is not a fans favourite for his footballing ability – I admit the same, but would NEVER boo him! – but the guy cares, he gives it everything and that is something that is often good enough for me. He too was really up for it and called on the fans to respond, you could physically see him doing this!

Speaking of Mokoena, he and The Herminator were both great when it also came to getting the 2 guys off the pitch, both had their arm around 1 guy each and were visible talking to them – no doubt saying they understand their frustrations. These guys, Mokoena and The Herminator, are also ‘possibly’ keen to show some support to the Supporters Trust, which launches next month!

Oh, as for the FA cup do not forget the draw for round 5 is on ITV today, around 6pm, we are ball no.12 – what is the betting we get the Scummers, although I hope not…


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