Sunderland 1, Norwich City 0.

"HE'S romancing you and chancing his arm," sang Morrissey in the opening line of his outstanding 1997 hit single 'Roy's Keen', a George Formbyesque ditty about a hapless window cleaner, but with a pun on the former Manchester United skipper's name.

Keane, however, is proving to be something more than the inept anti-hero portrayed in the Stretford born singer's song.

On the contrary, he is currently 'romancing' the Sunderland faithful, while fulfilling a capable role 'chancing his arm' as a manager, after leading the Black Cats to a fifth successive game without defeat following the win over Norwich.

Daryl Murphy's fine turn and finish from 18 yards provided the moment in the 76th minute for the Stadium of Light crowd to burst into song, but it was the only moment of excitement in a largely uninspiring 90 minutes.

The Black Cats' boss, however, was satisfied with the victory. He said: "I think we just about deserved to win. There were never going to be many goals - it was always going to be about who got that first one.

"It was a top finish from Murphy. It was a very, very scrappy game but I don't care.

"It is the happiest I've been after a game since I came to the club, my players showed a lot of character. We were missing one or two players and Liam Miller was in Ireland on Friday at a funeral.

"Liam, in particular, was outstanding. He missed training on Friday and I gave him the chance to have the weekend off but he said he wanted to play. That says a lot about the lad."

The former Celtic and Manchester United midfielder gave arguably his finest performance in a red and white shirt. Miller had previously flattered to deceive prior to Norwich's visit.

This time the playmaker showed why he has been so highly rated. He bossed the middle of the park and was at the creative hub of all the home side's best moves.

But at 25 years of age Miller needs to be more consistent to realise his full potential.

Keane added: "In the first half the fans got a bit edgy because we weren't keeping the ball very well, but I spoke to the players at half-time and told them that this was just one of those games where you have to grind a result out. And we did that, with that one goal and a scrappy win. But you need scrappy wins at times."

Sunderland fans have been witnessing nothing else but 'scrappy' matches such as this at the Stadium of Light for years.

Saturday's teams were full of effort and endeavour, but woefully short on skill or flair.

In Niall Quinn's programme notes he made known the club were looking at ways to increase home attendances in a bid to create an intimidating atmosphere and gain a psychological advantage over visiting teams.

But after years of neglect, under-achievement and under-investment, Black Cats' supporters are still eyeing the club with a suspicious eye.

And while Sunderland appear to be in good hands under Keane and Quinn's Drumaville consortium, the stay-away fans the Black Cats chairman wants to win back need concrete evidence the club means business.

Results have improved over the last month, but the performances which have accompanied them have not been attractive enough to bring the crowds back, although Saturday's clash with the Canaries did see an increase of 2,000 on the previous home fixture with Colchester.

Football is an entertainment business after all and if there is no show what is the attraction to the punters?

But that may not be the only reason the 20,000 missing supporters are staying away.

Sunderland fans would have been more than disconcerted to digest Keane's comments about the lack of funds available in the January transfer window while reading their morning newspaper on Saturday.

The Black Cats may indeed win promotion this term with the current squad, but unless it is considerably strengthened they will quickly return to where they came from.

Wigan and Reading have proved you can win promotion to the Premiership and stay there on a shoe-string budget.

But they have a necessary ingredient to compete in the Premier League sadly lacking in a Sunderland line up for years - blistering pace.

The Sunderland manager confessed his best performers this term have been the players he has inherited.

Yet on last season's top-flight evidence they proved not good enough.

Keane, of course, may be playing games with his managerial counterparts in a bid not to be held to ransom over players next month.

Supporters will hope this is indeed the case and their initial fears prove to be premature and 'Elevation' - the U2 song Sunderland enter the Stadium of Light arena to - is on the cards. Otherwise the 'turnstile will make' Sunderland fans 'hostile' once more - as Morrissey observed.