As the final whistle was blown on our 1-0 victory over Sunderland on the final day of the season, we were top of the league, waiting for the game at the Etihad to end. News came through at the Stadium of Light that City had scored two late goals and had won the league, leading Sunderland fans to do their best poznan celebration. “When the final whistle went, we didn’t really know what the score at City was,” said Rooney. “But then we heard the Sunderland fans cheering. It was sad to see that because they should be supporting their own team really. They didn’t have the best of seasons so for them to be cheering like that was sad. It was something myself and a lot of the players won’t forget.” United usually do pretty well against Sunderland anyway but I’m sure our players have all the motivation they need to stuff them this season now.
Colin Randall, from the excellent blog Salut Sunderland, has looked ahead to this season.
Scott the Red: What would have to happen this season for you to class this as a successful one?
Colin Randall: We would have to make a significant improvement on last season’s 13th top finish, which was also seventh bottom.
STR: How do you feel about your club’s business in the transfer window this summer?
CR: Utterly frustrating. Carlos Cuellar is the sum total of inward movement so far. He may turn out to be a great acquisition but people were frankly hoping for rather more. I realise the deadline is end of the month but the need – especially at full back, where we’re rumoured to be on the point of signing Stephen Ward from, er, Wolves, and up front – is rather more urgent.
STR: Who do you think will be your most important player this season?
CR: Stephane Sessegnon, our most gifted player by a long way, provided we can obstruct his agent’s apparently feverish attempts to get him on the move. We’ve known this was a possibility for some time and can only hope Marton O’Neill is winning he battle to persuade him to stay. If he goes, a lot will depend on how well James McClean performs after his bright start.
STR: How do you rate your manager’s ability to take your club forward?
CR: He has the same problem that afflicts all managers of Sunderland: the difficulty in convincing good players to go to the North East and stay there. I do not doubt his abilities, however, and if he can’t do it, I am not sure who, available to us, could.
STR: Who do you think will win the league this season?
CR: Heart would say Manchester United or Arsenal, since Sunderland can safely be ruled out, but head says City.
STR: After all the players and managers we’ve given you, the poznan on the last day of the season wasn’t very nice, was it?
CR: It was a spot of entirely harmless fun. The same porportion of United fans would have gloated had the game been one to send us down. One of our guys argued it quite well.
STR: Which ex-red that you currently have is your favourite?
John O’Shea when fit and not playing at full back, though Bardsley’s effort makes up a lot for the lack of class.