Football: Reid sees light in promise of new beginning

First came relegation, then defeat in the play-off finals, but Sunderland's manager cannot wait to begin again.

IT TOOK an enforced four-day break, a telephone call to his mentor and what he termed a disappointing World Cup to do the trick, but Peter Reid's play-off depression of May has been replaced by August anticipation and excitement.

Reid's Sunderland side begin their new league campaign this afternoon at their impressive Stadium of Light home against Queen's Park Rangers and, despite the horrors of losing a promotional play-off final on penalties to Charlton, following last-day relegation from the Premiership the season before, the mood is upbeat.

"It's not a problem for me, or for any of us," Reid insists. "At least not anymore. It doesn't matter how long you've been in football, the start of the season is always a special time, full of hope and expectation, and I can't wait."

In his long career as a player and manager Reid has grown used to the ups and downs of football, but even his powers of motivation were initially stretched after falling to Charlton at Wembley.

"I went away immediately," he admits. "It wasn't a planned break, but I knew, almost as soon as we missed that last penalty, that I just had to get away. I only went for four days, but it didn't half help. When you're away with your family, it helps to place things in perspective."

Reid also picked up the telephone and continued a process he has enjoyed and utilised virtually ever since the day he left Bolton as a player back in the early 1980s. "I spoke to Ian Greaves, my old manager, as I have done for donkey's years," Reid explains.

"He has helped me ever since I left Bolton, and I sought solace from him. I wouldn't say Wembley was my worst-ever experience in football. I recall once being out injured for a year when I was a young player, wondering whether I would ever return. But losing to Charlton in the way we did certainly comes close.

"Anyway, Ian Greaves told me that, for all the changes in football in the past 20 years, the manager's job remains the same. The main fact was that we played great football throughout the season, scored more goals than anyone else, and filled our fantastic stadium every fortnight."

The final factor in the rehabilitation of Peter Reid took place while he spent some of the summer at the World Cup in France. "I honestly thought the World Cup was very poor," he reasons.

Really? "Yes, I felt the refereeing was a joke, and I couldn't stand all the play-acting that went on. Believe it or not, it whetted my appetite for the First Division, and the Premiership. I honestly believe that the football you will see this season in my league will be better than much of what we had to put up with in France. By the end of the World Cup, I couldn't wait to get on with the job at Sunderland."

But what of the players? Have they come to terms with their disappointment less than three months ago? "Definitely," Reid replies. "And I'll tell you why. Most of them are still very young. They don't have much excess baggage to carry on their shoulders, and they just love playing football. Of course it was a blow to them, but it didn't last long. The elder ones, players like Niall Quinn, have seen it all before, so they know how these things tend to even themselves up.

"I can actually see an awful lot of positives coming out of losing to Charlton. I would've taken promotion any day, but it has provided the team with a good, footballing experience. The players can only be better from this. The best people in sport learn from their failures, and it makes success so much sweeter."

What, though, of Michael Gray, the poor, hapless forward who will most likely never forget his crucial penalty miss that cemented Charlton's victory? "Oh, he's alright," comes back the answer, with a chuckle. "He's got long, blonde hair and, if it had been me, I would have gone around wearing a balaclava, but he's not hiding from anyone."

Refreshingly, Reid does not even have any complaints about the manner in which Sunderland failed to reach the Premiership. Despite all the arguments of Sunderland clearly being, on league position, the third-best side in the First Division, the manager accepts the facts with a rueful shrug of his shoulders.

"We never had a divine right to go up, just as Manchester City didn't have a divine right to stay in the division," he argues. "We all know the play-offs are a lottery, but we all knew the rules at the start of the season. Teams that get promoted deserve to go up, and teams that fail don't. It's as simple as that."

So what of this season? After relegation and then last-gasp disappointment, do Sunderland have to gain promotion this time? "Well, I'm not daft," Reid accepts. "Of course we have to get promoted, but there are at least half-a-dozen other clubs in this league who have to get promoted.

"The good thing about this club is that we are all in it together, right the way up to the chairman. I have a brilliant relationship with him, and he lets me just get on with it. We've got a great chance, of course, but I have long learned to aim for just one thing in football."

What's that, then? "We've got to win on Saturday. And after that, we've got to win the following Saturday." He laughs at his own explanation. "Sounds pretty straight-forward, doesn't it?"

News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

EBD Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Science Teacher Greater Manchester

Humanities Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Humanities teacher required for ...

English Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: ENGLISH TEACHER REQUIRED - Humbe...

Chemistry Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: We are looking for a Qualified C...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits