Who are you? The winners, that is, in Salut! Sunderland‘s grand Who Are You? competition. Could it be Fatima al Shamsi (pictured with reading matter prescribed by us to cure her of supporting Arsenal)? Or the others shown below? The results won’t be known until the season ends. Read on to see if your contribution – or your club if you don’t support Sunderland – made our awards shortlist …
Judging has now begun. The famously half-decent football magazine When Saturday Comes is on board among prize donors. And some time soon, just after the end of the Premier League season, we will announce who has been chosen in first, second and third places for the wit, warmth or wisdom of their replies to the questionnaires we present to at least one opposing fan before each Sunderland game.
Prizes will include goods worth $200 from soccerpro.com, an American company that markets what it calls soccer jerseys and appropriately, with St George flags already appearing on cars ahead of summer events in South Africa, World Cup soccer jerseys . We have worked out that 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. Our thanks to soccerpro.com.
The prizes will also include a full year’s subscriptiopn to When Saturday Comes, an association Salut! Sunderland is proud to disclose.
After a number of arbitrary exclusions – full-time journalists are ineligible, for example – we have whittled down the candidates to a shortlist of nine.
Even this was a tough process. There were loads of other brilliant sets of responses; don’t forget we often run two or even three Q&As when the feedback to our appeals for volunteers has been especially strong. The judges have been told they can go outside the editor’s list if they recall reading something better.
But the working list (in alphabetical order by name of club) is:
ARSENAL: Fatima al Shamsi
To be honest I thought you guys would fare better this season, but there’s still hope, call me an optimist but I don’t think it will end all that tragically for Sunderland.
ASTON VILLA: Gary Gleeson
I don’t want to tempt fate by predicting Villa for a top four finish. As for Sunderland, I think a top 10 finish would be a respectable achievement.
HULL CITY: Alan Fulcher
Newcastle, who I congratulate on their return to the top flight, have shown that the game of football is as much about what happens in the dressing room and beyond, than it is purely about 90 minutes on the pitch. Our affairs are still complex and hard to determine, so I do not see an immediate return, but, instead, a rebuild and reinvestment and then another hard slog – if we go down!
LIVERPOOL: Gerry Ormond
Our American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have been a complete and utter disaster and the sooner they piss off the better. It’s difficult to be brief on a subject that I could write a book about but suffice to say, it’s very clear we were sold down the river by the previous club chairman David Moores and chief exec Rick Parry when they did business with this pair.
MANCHESTER CITY: Martin Haworth
If people ask me what’s the most exciting game you’ve ever seen, I usually plump for one I saw at Roker Park. It was the play-off game against Gillingham. I know it wasn’t the result you wanted, but as a neutral, they game had everything.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (continues here): Bernie Kingsley
While I think you are probably a middle to lower order side, you have enough good players to stay out of the mix at the bottom. I suspect your problem is that your manager is a bottom half man who thinks he’s another Ferguson
WEST HAM UNITED, (continues here): Gordon Thrower
I believe it is traditional for me to mention a certain day in October 1968 at this point. Not that I like to go on about it at every opportunity. Much. However, it’s not every week you see your team beat somebody 8-0 with goals from Hurst (6) Moore and Brooking. However, as I get older, my memory is going and I’m damned if I can remember who our opponents were that day.
WIGAN ATHLETIC: Bernard Ramsdale
I actually do love the club and I treat it as I would a religion as well. Some people will say that it is just blind loyalty and faith in my club, if this is so it has been justified hasn’t it? Non league to Premier League during that time is something that fans of any other club in the top flight have never seen. A 1-9 tonking will have no effect whatsoever on my future support of a great little club, of which I am extremely proud.
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS: Andy Nichols
I don’t have any outstanding memories of Wolves v Sunderland games. What I do remember though is the great respect that both sets of fans have always seemed to have for each other. The last time we played at the Stadium of Light, both sets of supporters clapped each other at the end of the game – great stuff. Having lived in Sunderland for a few years I have great memories of Roker Park; I used to love the pies from Roker Pie Shop.
* 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.