Who makes our Football League teams of the season for 2018-19?


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We select an XI from the Championship and Leagues One and Two, plus a manager for each

Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson (Sheffield United) The Manchester United loanee is on Gareth Southgate’s radar after a league-high 21 clean sheets. Another outstanding season away from his parent club after shining at Shrewsbury.

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Charlton Athletic 2-1 Sunderland: League One play-off final – as it happened


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Patrick Bauer’s late, late winner shattered Sunderland and secure promotion for Charlton, who fought back in style after a hideous start at Wembley

Ben Fisher has filed his match report from Wembley, so I’ll leave you with that. Thanks for your company on another day of ludicrous drama in the play-offs. Goodnight!

Related: Charlton return to Championship after Patrick Bauer scores last-gasp winner

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“Great for a club that always seems to get a bad deal,” says Peter Harding,. “Now we need to find an owner who will appreciate what a good club we are and what a good manager Lee Bowyer is. Give him a contract before someone else comes along.”

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Charlton return to Championship after Patrick Bauer scores last-gasp winner


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Lee Bowyer was the last man standing in the Charlton technical area as his backroom staff and substitutes bench emptied on to the pitch, fleeing down the touchline to join the pile-on after Patrick Bauer snatched victory to seal promotion deep into four minutes of second-half stoppage time. They had recovered from an early dreadful mistake by Dillon Phillips, their goalkeeper, to return to the Championship.

For Sunderland, whose players crashed to the floor at the final whistle, this proved another heart-breaking and haunting trip to the national stadium, having not won on any of their past seven visits here. Jack Ross, the Sunderland manager, made it clear that the outcome of this game would define their season. The chilling words “the league just turned into a cup” greeted thousands of supporters above the underpass on Wembley Way, a message that both sets of players felt to full effect at Continue reading “Charlton return to Championship after Patrick Bauer scores last-gasp winner”

Portsmouth’s Oliver Hawkins sinks Sunderland to seal Checkatrade Trophy


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• Portsmouth 2-2 Sunderland aet (Portsmouth win 5-4 on pens)
• Hawkins keeps cool from the spot after McGeady doubleAs if Portsmouth supporters had not suffered enough in recent years, they were put through the torment of a penalty shootout before they were crowned Checkatrade Trophy champions, with Oliver Hawkins sweeping home the winning spot-kick in front of a baying sea of supporters. Sunderland may have painted Trafalgar Square red and white but Portsmouth left this stadium a shade of blue.

Jack Ross’s side took a seesawing game to penalties after Aiden McGeady angled home his second goal with a minute of extra time left on the clock, but Lee Cattermole’s miss from 12 yards ultimately proved costly. Portsmouth will hope this is just the start of a successful season, while Sunderland’s immediate focus will return to the league campaign after painfully falling short.

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Will Grigg fired by Wembley ambition before Sunderland face Portsmouth


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


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The striker wants to make memories for the club’s fans at the Checkatrade Trophy final, even if the Black Cats have bigger aimsWill Grigg appreciates the potential conflict of interests. He fully understands the tension between short- and longer-term ambitions. Yet there is nothing remotely bittersweet about his anticipation of a first Wembley appearance. “It’s no secret that promotion’s our aim, but football’s about giving fans great days and memories of being at big games,” says Sunderland’s Northern Ireland striker as he prepares for Sunday’s Checkatrade Trophy final against Portsmouth.

“I understand there are circumstances where people have to sacrifice cups for the league, but these finals are the things you remember throughout your career, and your life. We’ve got 40,000 fans going to Wembley. Different generations of the same families will all be walking down Wembley Way together and we want it to be one of those landmark Continue reading “Will Grigg fired by Wembley ambition before Sunderland face Portsmouth”

Portsmouth and Sunderland – the ups and many downs of two famous clubs | Louise Taylor


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After surviving a decade of turmoil the two sides meet in Checkatrade Trophy final on Sunday as promotion rivals in League One

Much has happened to Portsmouth and Sunderland since February 2010 when the pair drew 1-1 at Fratton Park in their last Premier League meeting – little of it good.

Punctuated by debts and defeats, arrests and administration, relegation and regrets, the intervening years have not been kind to the Checkatrade Trophy finalists and League One promotion rivals.

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Portsmouth and Sunderland – the ups and many downs of two famous clubs | Louise Taylor


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


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After surviving a decade of turmoil the two sides meet in Checkatrade Trophy final on Sunday as promotion rivals in League One

Much has happened to Portsmouth and Sunderland since February 2010 when the pair drew 1-1 at Fratton Park in their last Premier League meeting – little of it good.

Punctuated by debts and defeats, arrests and administration, relegation and regrets, the intervening years have not been kind to the Checkatrade Trophy finalists and League One promotion rivals.

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Sunderland ’Til I Die, and the plight of the merely-very-good football player | Andrew Anthony


This post is by Andrew Anthony from Football | The Guardian


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The Netflix series is fascinating for many reasons, but primarily for the insight it gives into the plight of players who have fallen just below the standards of the game’s elite

Among the many joys of the eight-part Netflix series Sunderland ’Til I Die is a glimpse of football that is seldom seen, and little discussed in the media. Not the behind-the-scenes problems faced by managers with limited budgets and a distant owner looking to sell. That’s all fascinating stuff, though not quite as warts-and-all gripping as Premier Passions, the 1998 fly-on-the-dressing-room-wall account of Sunderland’s relegation, in which Peter Reid’s team talks would have made a stevedore blush.

No, what was most revealing was the plight of professional sportsmen a rung or, as it would turn out, two down from the elite. Sunderland, who in the documentary had been relegated to the Championship and were on their way to League Continue reading “Sunderland ’Til I Die, and the plight of the merely-very-good football player | Andrew Anthony”

Sunderland employee arrested on suspicion of sexual grooming of boy


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• Man, 60, released under investigation by police
• Club reported allegations and has suspended individual

An employee of Sunderland AFC has been arrested on suspicion of the sexual grooming of a boy but released under investigation pending further inquiries.

A spokesman for Northumbria police said: “Police have arrested a 60-year-old man on suspicion of meeting a male under the age of 16 following sexual grooming.”

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Jonny Williams: ‘People said it’s nice to see some honesty from a footballer’


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The midfielder on being in the Sunderland ’Til I Die documentary, starting afresh at Charlton and his desire to play for Wales again“I didn’t get a dog. But I’m still thinking about it,” confides Jonny Williams. “I want a cute one that isn’t going to give me too many problems.”

It has been a fortnight since the Wales international and reluctant star of the Sunderland ’Til I Die documentary took the hardest decision of his career so far. After five loan spells that culminated in his ill-fated sojourn on Wearside, Williams finally left Crystal Palace for Charlton on a permanent deal.

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Josh Maja rejects Sunderland contract extension amid Premier League interest


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• Striker has interest from Palace, Huddersfield and Man City
• Stewart Donald says he is determined to keep MajaJosh Maja could leave Sunderland this month after rejecting the offer of a new contract, with the 20-year-old striker wanted by a host of Premier League clubs including Crystal Palace, Huddersfield and Manchester City.

Maja, who has scored 14 goals in League One this season from 23 appearances, is out of contract in the summer but is understood to have told Sunderland he is unwilling to sign a new longterm deal worth significantly more than his current salary. That has alerted the likes of Palace and Huddersfield, who are both desperate to recruit attacking options this month, while it is understood that clubs in Germany are also interested given that Maja is now free to agree personal terms with overseas clubs. City, where he spent time as a youth player, Continue reading “Josh Maja rejects Sunderland contract extension amid Premier League interest”

Sunderland ‘Til I Die shows all that is right and wrong in English football | Barry Glendenning


This post is by Barry Glendenning from Football | The Guardian


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A sense of loss is all-pervading in a Netflix series chronicling Sunderland’s relegation into League One but, throughout, a sense of optimism shines out from most fansIt’s the hope that kills them, Sunderland fans can handle the despair. And it is a prevailing sense of hope that percolates throughout all eight episodes of a behind-the-scenes documentary chronicling the club’s relegation to the third tier of English football last season. Throughout a preposterously chaotic campaign, even by the standards of a club long considered utterly dysfunctional, Sunderland’s fans remain surprisingly upbeat, despite having grown wearily accustomed to coping with apparently bottomless levels of crushing disappointment.

Related: Sunderland’s hall of shame: club’s (mostly bad) signings under Short

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Sunderland ‘Til I Die: Netflix series charts pain, prayers and passion for the club – trailer


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Netflix has released a trailer for Sunderland ‘Til I Die, a new docu-series following the club’s first season back in the Championship after the team crashed out of the Premier League in 2017.

The fly-on-the-wall style series, following the 2017-18 season as the club suffered a second consecutive relegation, features interviews with the club’s manager, players and dedicated fans.

All eight episodes of the Netflix series will be released globally on 14 December.

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Jordan Pickford takes positives from England’s World Cup frustration


This post is by Paul Wilson from Football | The Guardian


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• Everton goalkeeper cites previous toils of France and Germany
• ‘Disappointment can spur you on and so can a bit of success’

Jordan Pickford admits his life has changed since reaching a World Cup semi-final with England in the summer, but only for the better. “The first thing I noticed was my followers on social media went through the roof, which I was very happy about,” the Everton goalkeeper says. “The other thing is that you get a lot more people recognising you in the street, but mostly they just want to say hello and well done, so I don’t mind that. It’s quite touching really.”

The former Sunderland player has established himself as England’s No 1 at the unusually young age of 24 and a relatively early stage of his career. “I was always taught that if you see a chance you should take it. Sometimes you Continue reading “Jordan Pickford takes positives from England’s World Cup frustration”

Sunderland’s Jack Ross: ‘I’ll never regret accepting this job, whatever happens’


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


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The manager and children’s author discusses the challenges at Sunderland, how his MA in economics helps him and why he hopes the goats – as well as the goals – keep coming

The question was clever and testing but Jack Ross’s answer proved unequivocal. “Do you love football or are you actually in love with it?” inquired a fellow executive at the Professional Footballers’ Association in Scotland.

Ross’s response changed his life and, four years on, has led him to a spacious, fairly minimalist office offering magnificent views over the pristine pitches of Sunderland’s training ground.

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Sunderland sack Didier Ndong, saying he breached contract by going awol


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• Club say he gave no reason for ‘failure to report and absence’
• Sunderland want compensation if record signing joins new clubSunderland have served Didier Ndong notice that they intend to terminate his contract, saying their record signing went awol in the wake of relegation to League One.

The club have also indicated their readiness to take legal action to recoup the Gabon midfielder’s value should he join another club.

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Sunderland sack Papy Djilobodji for alleged breaches of contract


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


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• Defender said by Sunderland to have returned late to training
• Player then ‘comprehensively failed fitness test’, club say

Sunderland have terminated Papy Djilobodji’s contract after they say the Senegal centre-half waited until this month before reporting back for “pre-season” training and then failed a fitness test.

By sacking the 29-year-old former Chelsea defender, who cost £8m two years ago, the League One club will be unable to recoup a transfer fee but Stewart Donald, Sunderland’s chairman, has said he is taking legal advice about the possibility of the club potentially suing Djilobodji and Didier Ndong on the alleged grounds of “deliberately devaluing themselves”. It is understood that the decision to tear up the former’s contract does not preclude such a potential move.

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Sunderland ponder suing stayaway duo Didier Ndong and Papy Djilobodji


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


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• £13.6m Didier Ndong still to show his face on Wearside
• I would probably have beaten Djilobodji’s stats, adds chairman

Sunderland’s chairman, Stewart Donald, has said the club’s record £13.6m signing Didier Ndong remains awol and revealed lawyers are examining whether it is possible to sue Ndong and his team-mate Papy Djilobodji for allegedly deliberately devaluing themselves.

Djilobodji, an £8m former Chelsea midfielder, had permission to miss pre-season training in July but the 29-year-old failed to clock on in August and only returned last week, when tests indicated his fitness levels were significantly sub-standard.

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Sunderland’s Josh Maja rescues point against Joey Barton’s Fleetwood


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Joey Barton had issued Newcastle fans with an open invitation to come and cheer his new team on but although 29,367 people turned up, the vast majority booed Fleetwood’s manager to the rafters.

Sunderland supporters have never been exactly mad about the one time Newcastle midfielder and Barton’s pre-match suggestion that Fleetwood were “better in every position” than Jack Ross’s XI only intensified the hostility. If such provocative comments made the game’s one time enfant terrible seem a little wet behind the ears, Wearsiders were disconcerted to see that, tactically at least, Barton appears far from a naive novice.

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Carabao Cup second-round draw: Joey Barton’s Fleetwood to visit Leicester


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