Sunderland’s captain goes down before the ship

David Kelly gives his own unique take on the drifting of Sunderland's season into choppy waters; and the subsequent plank walking forced upon Martin O'Neill

I’m a self-confessed gamer, FIFA 13 my game of choice. However, over Lent I decided that the biggest sacrifice I could make was not to forego chocolate or alcohol; instead I put FIFA 13 to one side, a big deal for me and despite the fact that I’m terrible at said game the withdrawal was painful. So I needed a new game and Assassin’s Creed 3 fell in my lap. I’m a fan of that series too and have been more than pleased with this offering, particularly the sequences where you, as the protagonist get to captain naval vessels and engage in full on naval warfare. Roll out the big guns!!!

I happened to be playing through such a sequence last night when a friend of mine, a Sunderland fan, texted me proclaiming the ‘good news’, not the Easter message, but that Martin O’Neill had been relieved of command.

I find it bizarre – the Premier League is like the high seas of old with twenty ships engaging in regular battle throughout a pretty exhausting season. Shots are fired, targets are hit and while some ships sail victoriously into port others sink into the murky waters of the Championship.

It used to be the case that the Captain (manager in this case, to avoid confusion) would go down with the ship but not here, not in this case. In this case the manager has effectively suffered at the hands of corporate mutineers, unhappy with how he steered his vessel too close to the rocks and how ineffective they were in one on one combat. They forced Martin O’Neill to walk the plank and while he hasn’t been the stand out Captain he once was he surely deserved to see out the season and have the opportunity to go down with the good ship Black Cat.

I fear that by sending him off to the depths of the sea , Sunderland have actually lost their only hope of steering the ship into a Premier League port in salvageable condition – surely, only once safely at port should a search for a more worthy captain commence.

image: © Ben Andreas Harding

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