In preparation for the 2014-15 season, The Republik of Mancunia has spoken to fans of all the clubs in the Premier League about last season, next season, their own clubs and their thoughts on United.
Scott: How did you rate 2013-14 for Sunderland?
Colin: Breathtaking climax after, cup runs apart, a catastrophic season. To finish 14th after being bottom or bottom three all season, and to have given Citeh a run for their money at Wembley, was our equivalent of a treble for United.
Scott: Who was your best performing player?
Colin: Vito Mannone in goal pulled off saves when they mattered, nudging him ahead of Fabio Borini’s workrate, skill and goals.
Scott: Which player are you expecting to be most important for you in 2014-15?
Colin: You have to say Jack Rodwell, if he stays fit and reclaims the form everyone knows he’s capable of. But – whisper it – Lee Cattermole, for all his disciplinary issues, is someone whose presence generally means Sunderland play better.
Scott: Are you happy with your manager?
Colin: So far, so good. Imagine the mess he inherited from Paolo Di Canio and you simply cannot fault him. But some of his decision-making is questionable and he must now move us on, by which I mean up.
Scott: What do you think Sunderland will achieve this season?
Colin: Heart says ninth or 10th, head says 12th or 13th. Wembley in successive seasons? Unlikely.
Scott: Are you happy with your club’s performance in the transfer window this summer?
Colin: No. Rodwell’s signing was a good move, Patrick van Aanholt looks useful at left back and the frees – Jordi Gomez, Billy Jones and Costel Pantilimon – make sense at our level without crying out ambition. But we need central defensive cover for Wes Brown and John O’Shea and either a new striker – Borini, as I write, looks a lost cause – or the certainty that Fletcher and Wickham are staying. Or both.
Scott: If you could have one United player, who would it be?
Colin: Robin van Persie would answer my concerns up front
Scott: Can you believe United were as bad as they were last season?
Colin: Transitions can be tough and Moyes may well have been the wrong choice; we’ll never know what he might have achieved with more than the absurdly short time allowed. But I’d love one of your “bad” seasons to be our norm.
Scott: How do you expect United to perform this season?
Colin: You’ll recover from disappointment in the two opening games – it is my solemn duty to seem optimistic about Sunday – to finish third or fourth.
Scott: Who do you think will win the league?
Colin: I loathe Chelsea but fear the pundits may be right. I’d sooner see the title return to one or other part of Manchester, defying Mourinho and Abramovich and bringing untold happiness to millions unable to place your city on the map.
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