Colin Randall from Salut! Sunderland, who we’ve talked to plenty of times before when yet another United player signs for his club, has spoken to us about hopes for next season after all their spending.
Scott the Red: Were you happy with Sunderland’s performance last season?
Colin Randall: Pleased until the drubbing at St James’ Park, ecstatic after Stamford Bridge, despondent during the slump, moderately satisfied with 10th finish.
STR: Who was your most important player?
CR: Phil Bardsley. Unwanted by Steve Bruce, but won him over with powerhouse performances on either flank, plus a handful of cracking goals
STR: Good ol’ Phil. I’m glad he’s doing so well for himself. What about other United academy lads, O’Shea and Brown? You happy with them? How have they looked in pre-season?
CR: O’Shea picked up an injury in Germany. I was very happy with both signings, even more so when you told me Brown was more highly rated by United fans than O’Shea since it was the capture of the latter that had really enthused me
STR: They’ll both be much missed by United fans. United players aside, how has Sunderland done in the transfer market this summer?
CR: OK. Sad to see Henderson go, happy without being unduly excited with the purchases but we still need creativity on the left and a proven striker.
STR: What are your aspirations for this season?
CR: We seriously need to improve on both consistency and the final finish. Top six may still be beyond us, but eighth shouldn’t be.
STR: How do you rate Bruce’s ability to achieve this?
CR: The time has come for him to show us he has that ability. I like him and remain supportive on balance. He had dreadful luck with injuries last season, but this is now his squad and must start producing.
STR: Where do you think you will finish this season?
CR: I think we will improve on 10th but not by much.
STR: Which player do you think will most important in helping you achieve this?
CR: Gyan up front, O’Shea at the back
STR: Given Sunderland’s usual transfer policy, if you could have your pick of any United players, who would you take?
I see no point in trotting off names we could never attract, so give us Welbeck back permanently
STR: You’re the first to say Park. Nice choice. Finally, who will finish in the top 4? Who will go down?
CR: Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal. Swansea, Wolves and Norwich.
STR: Anything else you want to get off your chest?
CR: I just hope that as well as Sunderland doing better than last season, we see some remnants of the proper spirit of football, ie less diving, play-acting, attempts to get opponents booked or sent off. But I am not holding my breath.
STR: We can dream! Cheers mate, all the best for the season. I’ll be looking out for your results.