Who, Me? Yes, You... Get on the plane!
Some of you may recall that around the turn of the year we made some predictions for the rest of the season. Each of us donned a black cloak, gazed into our crystal balls and tried to predict some of the things which might happen to our fair club over the next twelve months.
Because we're all so short-sighted, we made them all things that could happen this season, so now seems an appropriate time to give the predictions a second airing, and seeing who got them right, and who got them wrong...
Dan Williams: Sunderland Will Reach The Semi-Final Of The FA Cup!
Then: Martin O'Neill has a known pedigree for cup competitions. This is just a fact. Anyone that can get an Emile Heskey-led Leicester City to two finals doesn't really need much more evidence. With Sunderland's stuttering league form, and this shaping up to be a frankly disappointing season, expect the Black Cats to make a real push for cup glory, something that we became accustomed to not expect during the Bruce years.
Now: In my defence, this looked like coming good for a fair old while. There I was, virtually lording it over my fellow Roker Reporters on Twitter when we strolled past Peterborough, and then edged past the Boro to set up the Arsenal game. Although it was always going to be tough, I genuinely thought, for arguably the first time in my life, that I was going to get something right. That was until Peter Reid and Wayne 'the Chief' Allison conspired to draw us against Everton, a team that we just plain and simple never beat. I suppose, in the future, I won't go around goading people like Michael Graham, it never ends well for me. But, in summary, I am happy to accept that my prediction was wrong, but we gave it a good old go, and I'll be making the same guess next season. With the League and FA Cup to have a good go at, I'm confident that we can shine, I'll just have my fingers, toes and everything else available crossed in the hope that we avoid those pesky f**king Scousers!
Simon Walsh: James McClean Makes It To Euro 2012!
Then: I'm telling you, this is going to happen. McClean was due to play for Northern Ireland, however recently changed his allegiances, just before signing for the lads. He's clearly a lad with great confidence in his own ability, and he's fully meriting his place in the match-day squad so far. I don't want to get too carried away of course, but I think he gets onto the plane with the Republic squad as a 'wild card' type player.
Now: I think I ws probably more pleased than the man himself upon hearing the news this week that he's on the plane (barring any injuries). It's been a testament to how well he's done since arriving from total obscurity. Not only do I think he'll be at the Euro's, I think he'll make a solid impact, and go on to be a real star of the tournament, cementing his place in the Irish national side for years to come. Others on this site might claim a degree of rightness over their prediction, however I'm proud to be 100% right, again following my tip of Welbeck For England nearly 18 months ago
David Boyle: Sunderland Will Win The Return Leg Of The Derby!
Then: O'Neill's Sunderland will be a different prospect all together next time around and come March the SAFC bandwagon should be well and truly back up and running, ready and willing to finally give Newcastle and game on their patch.
Now: It will probably come as no surprise to you, or especially the Captain, but I was wrong. Luckily I'm used to such things. However I wasn't too far off the mark this time. We certainly gave them a game this year at their place and whilst the FA and Pardew may not have been impressed with the physical nature of the game itself, I loved it. It had all the blood and thunder you want from a proper derby, none of this "friendly derby" nonsense that Liverpool and Everton seem to be embracing. Barring a moment of madness from little Sessegnon we, in my opinion, would have held on for the win, but "you-know-who" had to pop up right and the end to rob Mignolet of a true Thomas Sorensen moment and O'Neill of being able to rub three points in Pardew's smug mush.
Michael Graham: No Major Striking Additions As Sessegnon Is Our Man!
Then: With everyone wondering what striker will be brought to the club to reignite our goal threat, I believe that man is already at the club. In the next few months, I can see Martin O'Neill mold Stephane Sessegnon into a forward of real quality.
Now: I think that history must record that I was pretty much spot on with this one. The transfer window passed without a big-name striker even seemingly close to arriving. From the moment Martin O'Neill was appointed, it was clear that Sessegnon was very much his kind of player. He has always loved a forward who can go past people and inject some pace into attacks so the two were always going to be a good match, and Sessegnon has clearly been installed as the very fulcrum of the Sunderland side since January. The question is really more a case of whether or not he has stepped up to that responsibility, and it would be fair to say that his form has dipped since his red card at St James Park. But, nevertheless, entrusted he has been, and to the level that attacking reinforcements and alternatives were not made a priority in January.
I am claiming this one as a win, but won't indulge in any bragging as I don't really want to flaunt my natural incandescent splendor in the faces of the other lads (Simon excluded) and remind them of what desperately inadequate failures they unquestionably are.
Chris Weatherspoon: We'll Beat Chelsea At Stamford Bridge, Again!
Then: Call me an optimist (or just bloody stupid) but yeah, Sunderland will travel down to West London and, for the second year running, turn the former champions over. AVB's cool initialism will be no match for our very own MON, while balls in behind to a breaking Stephane Sessegnon will cause a bewildered John Terry no end of headaches. It won't be the 3-0 demolition job of last November, but a 2-1 win sealed by the head of Titus Bramble (acquitted of all charges) will see Sunderland's charge up the table gather pace. The season will end with the Black Cats in ninth position, knocked out of the FA Cup at the quarter-final stage, but with optimism and hope fully restored on Wearside once more.
Now: Okay, so we didn't win at Stamford Bridge - but we were pretty close. An early goal from them seemed to jettison my prediction into oblivion pretty early on, but, far from rolling over and dying as we have in many previous years down there, we stuck at it. We were very nearly rewarded too - a couple of glaring misses from us near the end ensured AVB kept his job for just a little while longer.
My ninth-placed finish prediction has sadly not been born out either. At one stage this season that actually looked pessimistic, but our recent poor form has seen tenth the most we can now strive for.
I did, however, get the quarter-final of the Cup thing right. I didn't want to, but I suppose I can go away with some credit now...
Did you make any predictions of your own? And are you brave enough to admit to your mistakes if you failed? Or do you want to gloriously show the world how right you were? Come get involved and leave a comment below, or just laugh at how wrong we are.