Poyet changes starting XI, team name, club history at half-time

Gus Poyet made some sweeping changes during Sunderland’s friendly with Hartlepool, Paul Watson reports...

Sunderland manager Gus Poyet took full advantage of the chance to experiment during his side’s 3-0 pre-season win over Hartlepool United.

With his side struggling to break the deadlock, the Uruguayan tactician opted to make wholesale changes just after the hour mark.

Poyet switched his entire starting XI, bringing on his Under-21 players instead - a process that took most of the next half an hour to complete for the hapless fourth official.

As the new men came on, Poyet issued them with a new kit that he had fashioned himself during a first half predominantly spent hunched over a sewing machine.

Pulling on their shirts, players discovered that the team’s name had been changed to Sunderland Wanderers - a club with a rich history that Poyet had created on the bus to the game.

When players questioned Poyet, he revealed that he was no longer answering to that name, having withdrawn many of his letters for the second half.

“Gs Pyt [Gus Poyet] made some big changes but I guess that’s what pre-season is for,” John O’Shea told FourFourTwo before being replaced by George Honeyman.

“It’s up to the gaff[er] to try out every possible combination of the 130 men at his disposal and to see whether we’d do better playing in a hastily produced lime green shirt,” Honeyman asserted.

“I’m just proud to get the chance to play for Wanderers - the same club who famously won the Italian League six times in the 1920s having got lost at sea on the way to Brighton.”

Poyet’s moves succeeded and Wanderers eased to a 3-0 victory that was applauded by Sunderland’s travelling fans, who were replaced after 80 minutes by another group of travelling fans under Poyet’s instructions.

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