RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Wednesday, February 15

25-Man Metaphysical Roster: Sunderland A.F.C.

(Sunderland supporter; "FTM" stands for
"fuck the Mags" in honor of their hatred
of all things Newcastle United)

[25-Man Metaphysical Roster is a football dork methodology meant to establish a listing of players who have been most active for English Premier League teams in their past 100 non-friendly matches. Essentially, it is calculated by minutes played, but weighted towards most recent games. The end result is a listing of the 25 players in a team’s recent history who have had the largest hand on their metaphysical sporting trajectory. The English Premier League was chosen because it is the highest level of football played in an English speaking country, and I speak English. Also, it is what comes on TV here in the USA, where I fucking live. Should I not fail in maintaining my unpaid deadline, a new 25-Man Metaphysical Roster will appear on the 1st and 15th of every month.]

Sunderland has perpetually been involved in relegation dogfight for as long as I’ve followed EPL the past few years. They seriously have been entirely on the verge of destruction the entire time, and yet somehow continually just barely survive. They have been the fucking cockroaches of top-flight English football, except maybe this season might finally be their end. Of course it is too early to say, because these fuckers might do it again. When I first started paying attention, they were managed by Paolo Di Canio, so I’ve always vaguely associated them with Nazis. Oddly though, the internet tells me their supporters sing “Red Flag” and are among the most left-leaning in English football. Who the fuck knows? (It is apparently some app that listed them as left-leaning, and I’m not sure I trust apps, nor do I trust the internet, nor do I trust the political leanings of shaved head English drunkards. Trust nothing. Ever.)
It is also interesting to note the managerial chain of Sunderland recently. Sam Allardyce was heading things last season, only to leave a barely not-relegated team to go coach the English National team, which lasted about two months before he was run off by flaming pitchforks for corruption allegations from the past. (At least it wasn’t child molestation.) Now he’s at Crystal Palace, perhaps barely avoiding relegation again. Maybe that’s his niche now. But David Moyes is in charge at Sunderland now, and it’s hard to believe it was only a few years ago Moyes was hand-picked as Alex Ferguson’s chosen successor at ManU, which of course ended without success (meaning they weren’t contending for championships), although both of the more higher profile people to follow Moyes have also failed with regards to this endeaver at ManU. So now Moyes is attempting to keep Sunderland afloat, even though he’s never really done that outstanding at any managerial appointment thus far (outside of his first job at Preston North End in the Football League). Currently, Sunderland is taking a training trip to “culturally educate” themselves (according to Moyes) and try to build some team unity. They are doing so in New York, because ya know America is hotbed of footballing superiority. Kinda stupid to brand market a potentially dying brand.
Nonetheless, here are the 25 men who through their minutes played in the past 100 Sunderland non-friendly matches, find themselves on this metaphysical roster…
#1: PATRICK VAN AANHOLT – van Aanholt had been the anchor on Sunderland’s survivalism defense for a while, but recently switched relegation-ready clubs in this past transfer window, moving to Crystal Palace. It is always somewhat sad to see long-time players from teams in that relegation zone get moved between clubs, because there’s always this feeling they’re dumping off dead weight.
#2: JERMAIN DEFOE – Defoe is an aging English striker who seems to have been playing for a thousand years. He was good enough (sarcasm) to even spend a season in MLS playing for Toronto FC.
#3: JOHN O’SHEA – Team captain for Sunderland, and old Irish dirtdog of the defensive back field, O’Shea was shaped by a decade in the elevated expectational zone of Manchester United, bouncing in and out of first-team form, constantly harassed by media and fans, but learning a fluidity on the field that even saw him playing as a striker at times. All this shaped him into the seen-it-all shithead holding down Sunderland’s cohesiveness as their pitch self-police.
#4: LAMINE KONE – Kone came to Sunderland January of 2016 transfer window, and was expected to hold down defense (and is considered metaphysical replacement for van Aanholt), except there were legal issues with his arrival from FC Lorient. Then he wanted to leave in August, but somehow decided to stay (meaning nobody else wanted him likely). Currently he is catching shit from Sunderland supporters because after their 4-0 loss last weekend, Kone tweeted how the result wasn’t that bad because other matches went in their favor.
#5: BILLY JONES – Is there nothing more English than median-appearance footballer born in total BBC3 sounding place of Shrewsbury, Shropshire, playing back line defense for Sunderland? Yes, there is… his name is the completely anonymizing Billy Jones. This guy has complete Anglo cultural camouflage going on.
#6: VITO MANNONE – Starting GK for Sunderland, an Italian dude.
#7: FABIO BORINI – Another Italian dude, but on the opposite end of the footballing spectrum, attacking dude named Fabio, who – like all great Italian players – looks domestically abusive.
#8: JACK RODWELL – The young Rodwell joined Everton youth academy at age 7 (what the fuck?) and was their youngest ever player in European competition when he subbed in at age 16 and like ¾ years. He moved onto Manchester City, upward trajectory continuing, but something went wrong though and now he is at Sunderland. The pall of doom now stains his entire character to where he will never again excel, but due to vast expanse of footballing networks, could probably half-heartedly be competent for lesser teams in ever-diminishing levels for another decade.
#9: PAPY DJILOBODJI – Senegalese dudes named Papy always good in my book. My ol’ lady travelled to Senegal years ago, and picked up a little Wolof while there. We have always used the term “si si” for bad, so our children actually say that shit when something is naughty. The global ferment of metamodern existence is kinda fucked, no? I mean, it’s greatly entertaining though, and I much prefer that to the fear-mongering white nationalism that little dicks seem to take to in response. I’d rather live next door to immigrants, to be honest.
#10: YANN M’VILA – My man Yann spent 2015-16 season with Sunderland on loan from Rubin Kazan in Russia, believing he was gonna get a permanent move. Russian league is one of the worst on earth for black dudes to play in, because the alt-right neo-nazi shit we’re seeing in America has taken root there for 20 years. (Make no mistake about it – Bruce Arena/Landon Donovan loving USMNT “American Outlaws” are prime demographic for Richard B Spencer-izing.) Sunderland supporters loved my man Yann too, as he led the team’s survival from relegation. But then the team never offered a permanent deal, so Yann got mad, supporters got mad, and Yann is back in fucking Russia, living hell.
#11: JORDAN PICKFORD – Pickford is their young back-up GK who has spent stints starting between the posts, but probably still not quite ready to hold down that role without question. But my man is ready for any and all League and FA Cup starting XIs.
#12: LEE CATTERMOLE – A Beatrix Potter character come to life through northeast England dark wizard’s ancient arts, making this changeling a persistent presence with the Black Cats.
#13: SEBASTIAN LARSSON – Aging Swede who has been Sunderland midfielding mainstay for more than half a decade.
#14: DUNCAN WATMORE – Full name: Duncan Ian Watmore. Born: Manchester. Verdict: Anglo Level 1000.
#15: DIDIER IBRAHIM N’DONG – Gabonese dude who came to Sunderland this past August transfer window for club-record transfer fee of 13.6 mil euros. I don’t have a euro sign that I know of on my work computer because this is America motherfucker. We not gonna make America great with foreign ass wealth ampersands all over the place. Anyways, the African presence on Sunderland is stronger than most English Premier League teams, thus I hope they survive again because I enjoy the bleached hair highlighting techniques of strong African footballers.
#16: JASON DENAYER – Denayer is one of those guys that seems like he should be amazing and a star, but he’s buried in the Manchester City depth charts, so the only way he really gets to shine is on long-term loans like he is experiencing right now with Sunderland. This follows loans to Galatasaray (in Turkey, last season) and Celtic (in Scotland, season before last), both very amazing clubs. It’s gotta suck to go places like that, get called back to Manchester City in the off-season, and know there’s no way you’ll crack that line-up because they just signed five new dudes for a bazillion euros.
#17: ADNAN JANUZAJ – Real life Januzaj takes a back seat to fake world Januzaj, because I won a number of Polish Cups and Ekstraklasa titles in the 2020s with Januzaj as part of my Balkan Pride theme for Wisla Plock. We were crushing fuckers, and Januzaj was a big part of that. I don’t know shit about him in real life football, but I have to assume he’s a great young talent, being I know how great he’ll be in the future.
#18: WAHBI KHAZRI – Khazri is Tunisian at international level (though born in France) and I tend to favor North African footballers to be honest. Khazri started climbing into the starting XI more often last season, and had a strong foot in them avoiding relegation at the end of last year, but has been mostly in only as a sub this season, and not as often.
#19: DEANDRE YEDLIN – Perhaps a sign of how Sunderland is not the highest of English clubs is the fact an American used to feature prominently for them. To Yedlin’s credit, he’s still in England, at Championship level with shitty fucking Newcastle United, but at least he’s honing his game there instead of shitty ass MLS. Of course that likely means Bruce Arena’s corny Make USMNT Great Again ass probably gonna hold it against Yedlin.
#20: JAN KIRCHHOFF – Kirchhoff been with Sunderland just over a full year, mostly filling in gaps rather than full-time starter. He had come up through German national youth team system, with caps at U-18, U-19, and U-21 level, but never cracking top national team.
#21: YOUNES KABOUL – Paired up with Kone last season to anchor defense under Allardyce, but now is gone to Watford.
#22: COSTEL PANTILIMON – Romanian GK who used to start for Sunderland but has been gone to Watford for over a year now, where he occupies space on the sidelines, unless it is the FA Cup. Looks like he did come in for Watford during a game against Liverpool last November, which ended as a 6-1 loss, so uh, probably back to the bench with his Romanian ass.
#23: JAVI MANQUILLO – Spanish defender who technically been part of Atletico Madrid team since he went adult pro in 2011, but has been on extended full-season loans at Liverpool (2014-15), Marseille (2015-16), and now Sunderland (since August). Other than short injury spell, tends to play full 90.
#24: SEBASTIAN COATES – Coates played for number of seasons with Sunderland, but got shipped off to Sporting CP January 2016 so Sam Allardyce could make their money right. Loan was extended, until he made official “permanent” move two weeks ago. Permanent moves in football are never permanent.
#25: ADAM JOHNSON – Alternative twitter journalist extraordinaire. All the popular young progressive socialists follow and RT him regularly.

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