In a week which has varied from the irregular; Wayne Rooney recapturing the upper echelons of his form whilst resembling the elder brother from the Goonies; to the regular; Jermaine Defoe scoring his patented 'blind brace' against a below-par side; we had the opportunity to take a trip to what is now known as Little Italy for some micro-pizzas and a chat with Little Comets' Rob Coles about his beloved Sunderland. Rob predicts the weekend's results, discusses the "laconic" Nicky Summerbee, and how Paulo Di Canio's presence at working-class club Sunderland is "not right."

The rules:
Three points for an exact scoreline.
One point for a correct result.
Each act will play twice over the course of the season (think home and away if you prefer to adhere to football vernacular).
See the base of the page to see how Los Campesinos! performed last week.

Gameweek 5 Predictions:

    Norwich City 2 - Aston Villa 1

I think I'll go for a bit of revenge for last season and a home win on this one. I think Villa are quite brittle confidence-wise, they've had a couple of bad ones now, especially the Newcastle one. Norwich are a funny little team who are particularly good at home. Redmond will be looking to make a point against Villa with his Birmingham roots, and Norwich look a much manlier team [laughs].

    Newcastle 2 - Hull City 0

Unfortunately, I can only see a home win. Especially after the last time (Steve) Bruce was at St. James' Park we (Sunderland) got mauled 5 - 1, so I'd be surprised if he even turns up. I think it'll be a comfortable home win. Even though they've got a small squad, they've got some good players, Newcastle.

    West Brom 1 - Sunderland 2

[laughs] I don't know. I didn't think we looked that bad last week, we looked good in the second half. But I think the last five times I've been to see them down here, they've lost. But, from the law of averages, we've got to pick something up. Oh, I dunno. I'm going for a last minute winner for Sunderland!

    Liverpool 1 - Southampton 0

Southampton can't score so I'll go one nil Liverpool.

    West Ham 1 - Everton 2

I'm going for an away win. I think they're a quality team, Everton, and that'll be Lukaku's first game. He was fantastic last season.

    Chelsea 3 - Fulham 0

That's going to be a big one for Chelsea. I don't know why, but I think Fulham will struggle this season. The trouble with Fulham will be: their good players will flounder when it gets to a scrap. The likes of Berbatov, whereas I think last season they were so comfortable for a lot of it that they took the piss a bit in matches. So I don't fancy Fulham.

    Crystal Palace 0 - Swansea 1

I'm going for an away win. Swansea are too good-a-players for Crystal Palace to cope with.

Well I dunno, Danny Gabbidon isn't bad!

He scored with his arse against Sunderland! That says more about us really though.

    Arsenal 3 - Stoke 1

I'm going for an Arsenal win, but they looked pretty brittle at the back against us. So I reckon Stoke will get one, but Arsenal will get a few, so I'll go 3 - 1 Arsenal.

    Cardiff 1 - Tottenham 1

I'll go for a draw. Cardiff are at home and aren't Tottenham in Europe this week? So, I'll go 1 - 1.

    Man City 3 - Man United 3

I'm going to go for a spectacular 3 each draw. I think they'll just batter each other for 90 minutes. I hope it's a good match.

What have you thought of the Premiership so far?

I think it's really interesting because it seems like [pauses] even Man United have pretty much the same squad as last season but they haven't got that aura of Ferguson. They'll lose matches this season that they wouldn't have lost just because of him, and the way he used to intimidate people and mess with people. Then you've got Mourinho back so he lifts Chelsea, and who knows what Man City are gonna do. I think it's really fascinating.

Rob: It's a shame that there's so much money and it's so far removed from [pauses] remember when Ipswich could come up and finish fourth?


Rob: Or like in the 70s and the 80s when Leeds came up and next season were in with a shout for the league, same as Newcastle. It's not magical in the same way, it's gonna be the same four or five teams. But it's gonna be a quality season, I just hope Sunderland start picking up some points.

How do you think you'll do?

I dunno. I think the last match I went to at home was just before O'Neill was sacked. I loved Martin O'Neill, I thought he was a good bloke.

A good manager as well.

Yeah but, he had lost the plot. That match I'd never seen Sunderland play worst football than that, ever, and I've seen some bad teams. We would've gone down. Whereas this season, just against Arsenal, we had a twenty-five, thirty minute spell when we were playing good football. So I don't know, I just don't know. These players as well, I just don't know what to expect. You don't know whether they've started badly or just are shit. I think a lot of people are confused at the minute. But I think there are a lot of teams who could win the league, and there are a lot of poor teams in the division as well. So, I dunno, I think 17th - we might just scrape it. I think we played enough good football on Saturday against a good team. The last few seasons we haven't played well consistently. I dunno, we'll see.

What would you say has been your favourite moment as a Sunderland fan?

I'd say [pauses] it was our first season back in the premier league under Peter Reid when we beat Chelsea 4 - 1 and we were 4 - 0 up after twenty-five minutes. I think Philips scored a forty yard piledriver into the top corner and, at the time, we were third or fourth in the league. We were way above Newcastle and it was just absolutely incredible. Either that, or...

Signing Wes Brown?

[laughs] Wes Brown is fantastic signing compared to some of the shit we've seen over the years! The lowest point would be Jeff Whitley and Carl Robinson in the centre of the park. But the other moment was when we beat Newcastle 2 - 1 and Shearer missed a penalty in the last minute. I remember we were in sixth form and we went in on the Monday morning, and all the Sunderland fans went in with our shirts on under our blazers, and it was about half and half in our class, so we took our blazers off and it was just the best time to be a Sunderland fan. That was after years of Newcastle, and Keegan, Andy Cole, Alan Shearer.

Big Les

Rob: Aye, Big Les. But those were our golden years, well, two of them.

Quinn and Phillips.

What players. Phillips is still doing it.

Is Di Canio worth the trouble?

Rob: I don't think its right for somebody like that to be manager of our football club, because of the links it has with the mining community. By proxy, it's not appropriate. So, I don't know. I wouldn't, I wouldn't employ him on those grounds.

So it goes further than him just being a bit of a spectacle?</p>

I'm not bothered about that. His honesty and his passion are positive aspects, but overall there's just too much baggage. For him to manage a club like Sunderland, it's a working class football club that really prides itself on its links with the community. I think it has alienated quite a few fans, having him as manager. These are passionate fans; they're not a club who, when they get relegated, lose 80% of their fans or the crowd. The people come and watch them no matter what. So, no, I don't think its right. People who say 'politics don't blend with football' I think that's nonsense.

I think it goes on. Look at the owners who have football clubs. Football has been taken away from large parts of society because it costs so much. I love going to watch a game of football, I love going to a football match, but football has become - we now have sponsors for dressing rooms. When I was little, we used to get in and watch a football match, there was none of this nonsense involved. The idea that it's part of the entertainment industry - it's gone mad, the most refreshing part is when they actually play the game.

You have to try and think about the values of the club, don't you?

Yeah, because I think Sunderland is a club which involves itself with the North East community. The premier league initiative that they've brought in in the last few years, it's been in our schools for years! They used to come into our schools when they were little. I remember when I wrote the Goalkeeper at Sunderland and he sent a reply with a signed shirt for raffle at school to raise money.

Who was he?

Rob: A guy called Tony Norman. It's got a reputation in the North East as a club like that, whereas Newcastle up the road is not. There are plenty of stories about kids writing in. My mum used to work with a kid who had learning disabilities and he spent ages writing this letter and he just didn't get a reply. So Newcastle have always had that reputation of being a bit more aloof. With Sunderland it should've been a more considered choice.

I'm going to lighten the tone a little - do you miss Titus Bramble?

[laughs] No! I don't. [laughs] no.

Who's the worst player to pull on the shirt?

Rob: A guy called Gareth Hall who was signed back in the 90s. We had this full-back called Darius Kubicki who'd played like, 120 consecutive matches, and he was tremendous. But with Peter Reid, if you fell out with him with one thing, no matter how good you were, that was it, you were done and he replaced him in the team with Gareth Hall. He wasn't right footed, he wasn't left footed, but that didn't mean he was both footed. And you know how every team has this 'utility player'?

[laughs] Yes.

Gareth Hall was this man at Sunderland for a while. He got a lot of stick from the crowd. So he's the worst player I've seen for Sunderland, and there have been a lot.

What about the best?

Rob: My favourite player was Nicky Summerbee because, my old favourite Sunderland player was Craig Russell, and when we signed Summerbee it was a swap deal for Russell, but I think that season when Quinn and Phillips got all the goals, he had the best crossing record in the premier league, and that was that year when Beckham was at his peak. It always looked so simple. If you were watching Nicky Summerbee play he could get it to anyone and just cross it. I just liked how laconic he was with his shirt untucked, and the relationship he had with Makin at right back and off the pitch as well. I think he got into a fair few shenanigans off the pitch [laughs].

What about your favourite player in the Premiership at the moment?

I don't know. That's a hard question. I admire someone like Lampard who just always gets on with it and puts a shift in. Like with his contract last season. He's done the same thing for the last ten seasons, he's got the same shape. I think someone like Lampard. Same with Gerrard, they just get on with it. In terms of Football, Van Persie is a tremendous player, I see a lot of Bergkamp in him but he's not as ridiculous as Bergkamp.

What about your least favourite player in the Premiership

It's a shame QPR got relegated, as I'd have gone with Barton. It's got to be Suarez or Terry. Actually, I'll go for Terry, he should've been banned for a long, long time. He's a disgrace.

I thought you were going to say Shola

No, I like Shola Ameobi! He's a one club man, so I have respect for Shola Ameobi [laughs].

In terms of the panel and the coverage, what's your favourite station to watch your football on?

Rob: I'd probably have the commentary off the Radio, so long as it wasn't Alan Green, and I quite like the panel from ITV, but I'd get rid of Adrian Chiles. I like Roy Keane and Lee Dixon. I'd get Roy Keane to be the compare, then you have Lee Dixon, but Roy Keane has a wildcard every week. Get them from wherever! Alfe-Inge Haland could be one, that'd be good. [laughs] That'd be my line-up.

Who is the stupidest pundit?

David Pleat! [laughs] Every day of my life! Some of the things he's said. David Pleat.

Who for the top four this season?

Chelsea, Man United, Man City and [pauses] Arsenal now they've got Ozil.

In order?

Well... It's a hard one, the top 3. I think Man U will win the league still, then Chelsea second, Man City third. Arsenal fourth. But I may as well burn my money if I'm gonna put my money on that.

It's already been mad.

Aye, it's crackers.

Right, well it was great to meet you, hopefully you get some right.

The lads will give me plenty of stick if I don't!

Nice to meet you, Rob - hope you have a great year.

Champions League!

Maybe, now you've got rid of Sessegnon! Cheers mate,

Take Care


  • RECAP: Gameweek 4 Predictions - Future of the Left
  • Prediction: Man Utd 4-1 Crystal Palace Score: Man Utd 2-0 Crystal Palace [1]
  • Prediction: Aston Villa 2-1 Newcastle Score: Aston Villa 1-2 Newcastle [-]
  • Prediction: Fulham 1-1 West Brom Score: Fulham 1-1 West Brom [3]
  • Prediction: Hull 0-1 Cardiff Score: Hull 1-1 Cardiff [-]
  • Prediction: Stoke 1-3 Man City Score: Stoke 0-0 Man City [-]
  • Prediction: Sunderland 1-0 Arsenal Score: Sunderland 1-3 Arsenal [-]
  • Prediction: Tottenham 3-1 Norwich Score: Tottenham 2-0 Norwich [1]
  • Prediction: Swansea 1-2 Liverpool Score: Swansea 2-2 Liverpool [-]
  • Prediction: Everton 1-0 Chelsea Score: Everton 1-2 Chelsea [-]
  • Prediction: Southampton 1-1 West Ham Score: Southampton 0-0 West Ham [1]

Total Points: 6

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