Interview with Site Editor
VitalSunderland editor Gaz Johnson is doing a grand job building the website in to one of the top fan wesbites around. Tonight we ask him a few questions on SAFC & the site itself.
1) How long have you supported SAFC and what was your first match?
It is fair to say I have supported them since the seed was planted by my Father. I visited Roker Park as a very young child so it is hard to remember the exact game I went to but it would have been the 87/88 season. I remember being packed into the Fulwell end and perched on the barrier with my special chair that we took to every game. The ball hit the back of the net in the opening moments and I was swilled with both alcohol and Bovril, wish my memory could tell me which game that was but I will never know!
2) What has been the highlight of your time supporting the Lads?
There has been a few good memories, many decent away days with the lads that I will never forget but for a highlight that symbolises what it means to be a Sunderland supporter it would be when we beat Newcastle 2-1 in the rain in 1999. I could not get a ticket due to the demand but I watched it on the beamback live at the Stadium of Light. I walked home in the absolute pissing down rain in total glee. It normally takes 15 minutes to get back to my house but on that night I got in about 4 hours later like a drowned rat! This was the moment that stuck as to why it is beautiful to support Sunderland when surrounded by so many Newcastle fans in my life.
3) And the lowlight?
Charlton in the play-off final was the best game I have ever seen with my own eyes but the worst I have ever felt at the end of a game. I was devastated on the way back to Sunderland in the car with my family and to this day will never forgive Clive Mendonca for his part that day.
4) Are you pleased with our new signings so far? And who else would you buy if you were boss?
I am happy with the signings, although some are unproven in the top flight we seem to be trying to cover every position on the field. We need a new left back, centre back, centre midfielder and winger and I am sure we will get the players who Quinn and Bruce are targetting.
5) How do you think we'll do in the coming season?
It is hard to tell at the moment as not many teams similar to Sunderland have made any progress in the trasfer window but if we get the players we are linked to we have to aim for top 10. I believe Europe is still many years away but if we can continue to make a name in the league and climb higher it should be something to aim for under Bruce.
6) Are you looking forward to the return of the derby games?
I cannot wait for the derby games again, it will be class at work and with mates as the games approach. I feel we have the best chance ever of doing the double over them this time with a stronger squad and steady board. If we can go into the games with belief we should be able to get the points we need.
7) And finally...how are you hoping to make this website bigger and better?
We are only in the early stages of getting people to click on to the site but in the last few months things really have started to take off. We are interviewing some big names and ex players to grab more hits from our members and newcomers and currently in production of a flyer campaign. The posters and flyers and business cards should be out before the season and this will be handed out at the games and around local pubs and clubs. The more people we can get away from the 'lockdown' sites such as Ready To Go and the official page will also be a bonus to this growing site.