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Byline: Gary Johnson

BONJOUR, bienvenue a la lumiere, une nouvelle colonne qui mettra l'accent sur tout ce qui Sunderland AFC.

Sorry, I wanted to try to and appeal to a wider range of multicultural supporters but since this is my first column I will stick to good old Queen's English, apologies if it is hard to understand if you're of the Newcastle persuasion.

It has been a strange but memorable past few weeks, after being selected to contribute to The Journal each week, writing for Seventy3 Magazine, a retro Sunderland-based magazine and attending two very different games over the weekend.

I was honoured to be invited to The Hawthorns to watch the Sunderland game in corporate hospitality and also make it down to London to soak up the League Cup Final atmosphere among the Bradford and Swansea City supporters.

The entire occasion was incredible to see Swansea demolish Bradford City.

The 5-0 victory for Laudrup's men raises the controversial question of whether a Welsh team should represent England in a European competition. Frankly, they completely deserve to be there on their own merits and strengths.

Sadly, Sunderland never turned up on Saturday until the second half; seems like that is the story of our season so far. O'Neill decided to be less stubborn and go for two strikers playing together, but it made little impact to the final result. The turning point was when we hit the post in the first half and then failed to capitalise on the pressure which we were creating.

A few moments later West Brom broke up the other end and won a penalty.

As soon as Lukaku slotted home past Mignolet the familiar feeling engulfed the travelling support - another loss on the road.

Hopefully, Martin O'Neill watched the final yesterday and thought to himself: 'why did Sunderland not make a bigger effort this year?' It is the 40th anniversary of the last time Sunderland won a major trophy, surely that is all that needed to be said in the team talk against Bolton Wanderers.

There is no doubt how important the next three games are for our Irish gaffer as we try to avoid, yet again, being sucked back into a relegation scrap.

I trust the manager and fully back our squad to get us over the line with a few more victories.

Rendez-vous la semaine prochaine! (See you next week).
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 25, 2013
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