Champions and daughters


It was a weekend for champions: the Champions’ League final, the Championship playoff final, a fitting finale for southern-based Sunderland supporters who won their own league – and even some reflected glory for Salut! Sunderland …

Chelsea’s Florent Malouda popped up on the French TV news yesterday, beaming as he rejoined Raymond Domenech’s Wolrd Cup squad at their training camp in the Alps – are we expecting snow in South Africa? – after a quick return to London for the birth of his fourth child.

A girl, like the others. He was delighted, of course, but if he is beginning to think he cannot make boys, I know the feeling.

But girls and football are not always mutually exclusive.

nathalie1My younger daughter, Nathalie, topped helping the first team of her club, Old Actonian Ladies, to promotion (with a player-of-the-match award) by being named player of the season and manager’s player of the season in the reserves after the final game, a 7-1 victory in which she scored. Almost enough to make me forgive her belatedly for waving her Liverpool flag in my face at Wembley in 1992, though no claims for backpayment of suspended pocket money will be entertained.

Her sister, Christelle, christellehas always been a different kettle of fish. Once, when Nathalie was away and I had tickets for Spurs v Liverpool, she volunteered to be a surrogate Liverpool supporter, but proceeded to drool over Jamie Redknapp before cheering a Tottenham goal by mistake. And during her year out in Italy from a Manchester Uni languages course, she horrified fellow students at a Serie A game by exclaiming, soon after the second half got under way: “Hey look, they’re all running the other way now.”

Now she’s found herself a football-loving Italian boyfriend and was with him in Rome at the weekend as everyone in Italy who doesn’t hate Inter Milan feted the Champions’ League victory. The text messages suggested Christelle had suddenly become an expert as she heaped lavish praise on Mourinho’s tactics (or did she just fancy him, too?) .

I don’t know whether the London and Southern England branch of the SAFC Supporters’ Association includes enough fit (old-fashioned sense) lasses to muster a useful women’s team, but the Lads have done us proud,

Yes, I know that was a terrible link between unrelated jottings. But the season’s as over as it’s going to be this year, so allowances have to be made.

So, further to our recent item about the Lads’ achievements (champions in the second division of the league for London and SE teams whose members belong to exile supporters’ associations), here is the impressive season-end record following yesterday’s last game, a 2-0 win against Plymouth Argyle. Can there be as many as 11 Argyle fans in London?

Played 20 W17 D3 L0 F76 A10 – 54 PTS.

Mark Hay, the manager, reports:

“My thanks today to everyone who made it to the match vs. Plymouth Argyle. It was great to see so many family members and friends turn up to watch the last game of the season to cheer the lads to a 2-0 victory plus everyone there making it to the pub afterwards as well.

So the 2009/10 season has now ended. We managed to go 20 league games unbeaten, scoring 76 goals and only conceding 10 goals in the league, some achievement it has to be said and full credit to everyone who played a part in the squad. Its been a great season and a pleasure to play football with you all. Hopefully we can carry the that standard through into Div 1 next year. Enjoy the World Cup and the summer and pre-season will begin in August.”

For branch members, and other Sunderland fans in and around the capital, the end of season awards and social is planned for Urban Golf – a different one than first announced – in the arcade of Kensington High Street Tube station on the afternoon of May 31 (Bank Holiday Monday). You need to check availability with Mark Hay at

Colin Randall

* With thanks to Mark Hay and Lesley Jones for the SAFCSA team photos.

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