Three days to go for the first match. And only three hours or so to go for our first Who Are They? questionnaire – minus, to the relief of Gooners and dive enthusiasts everywhere, a certain question …
The dawn of a new season brings the usual mix of excitement, hope and fear. And the return of one of Salut! Sunderland‘s most popular features.
Each matchday is preceded here by a question-and-answer exercise involving a fan of the team Sunderland are about to face. Sometimes we struggle to find anyone – Stoke City have been notorious in that respect, and we did once fail to locate anyone willing to do it – but more often we have more than one contender. The policy is that if someone has been good enough to respond, their words should appear.
Later today, we kick off with Kevin Ball, who mars having a great name by being a lifelong supporter not of Sunderland AFC but Saturday’s opponents, Birmingham City.
For West Brom away, we have lined up a prominent fan with a gift for attracting unlikely people to the Baggies’ cause. And Man City at home sees the return of two past contributors: one based in City’s new heartland, Abu Dhabi, and the other living so close to the Stadium of Light that he should really be supporting us (or a certain other North-eastern mob).
If you follow a club other than Sunderland, or know someone else (preferably warm, witty or wise) who fits the bill, let me know and we’ll see if we can get some new blood for the series. Leave a comment or e-mail me using the link near the top of the left-hand column.
And good news for ultra-sensitive Arsenal fans and poor Eduardo. We still care as passionately as ever about cheating: the whole gamut from diving, feigning injury and badgering refs to book opponents to shirt-pulling, corner kick obstruction and the rest. And no, we are not big fans of career-threatening challenges either, whether made by our players or others.
So we are giving Mr Eduardo, a past victim of one of the worst such challenge in recent years, a rest. No longer will we put a question named in his (dis)honour and asking whether our interviewee would accept gladly of guiltily a crucial victory by the sort of theatrics that brought Arsenal a penalty against Celtic a year ago.
As the season wore on, the Eduardo Question could so easily have become the Rooney Question, the Gerrard Question or, best of all, the N’Gog Question.
He was just unlucky in providing the earliest slice of drama. Happily, the lively debate brought loads of Gooners to this site and one of them will do the Who Are You? honours before one of our Arsenal games.