Before each Sunderland game, a fan of the opposing side previews the match. Sometimes it is an uphill struggle to find one supporter willing to do it; other weeks we end up with two or three and feel dutybound to use them all. Now for the limited payback: our annual awards for the best of them (and read on if you want to take part in the 2010-11 season) …
Salut! Sunderland announces its second annual Who Are You? competition, in which we honour fans of other clubs who have contributed the best answers to the questions we set ahead of each game.
Last season, the first prize went to Bernard Ramsdale, landlord – gaffer- of Ye Olde Tree and Crown, the brilliant Wigan Athletic fan site.
Bernard won a copy of the customised Wigan Athletic book, kindly donated by Getting Personal and shown above.
Our runner-up was Julian Boodell, a lifelong supporter of Stoke City and in third place came Mark Collar, the only shortlisted candidate from outside the Premier League (he previewed a league cup game at Nottingham Forest).
A special additional prize went to Danny Warbrick, a Bolton Wanderers fan who was only 16 when he wrote for Salut! Sunderland and demonstrated what we described as “exceptional maturity”.
There has been no decline in quality this season. Although we no longer invite each contributor to write an introductory article, the answers to our questions have frequently shown wit, wisdom and passion in generous measures.
Having said when originally posting this article that the exact nature of the prizes had yet to be determined, I can reveal already that they will include $200 to spend with soccerpro.com, an American company that markets what it calls soccer jerseys and appropriately, since thoughts will soon be turning to South Africa, World Cup soccer jerseys .
We think they mean football tops. And they’ll undoubtedly have other things to choose from and are hugely welcome to our little group of competition sponsors.
The names of our judges will also appear here soon. We now have two games left and of these, only one will qualify for consideration in the competition (a Manchester United fan’s look at our final home game a week on Sunday).
The season finishes for us at Wolves but the man answering our questions before that game will be ineligible for inclusion in the awards – for a reason to be disclosed in due course – as will any previous contributor who works predominantly or extensively as a writer (apologies, then, to Alastair Campbell, who already has to bear the cross of supporting Burnley; one of our Spurs previewers, my colleague David Sapsted, and anyone else I have overlooked).
Watch this space for further news. And if any non-Sunderland fan has strayed here and feels like offering to take part in next season’s Who are You? features, please make yourself known in the comments field or by contacting me at the e-mail link to your left.
* NB: a recent deluge of spam means comments from people who have not been this way and posted before will have to await moderation. Sorry.