Our inquest on the Tyne-Wear tragedy is nearly over. Will the verdict be death by misadventure, suicide or unlawful killing? That’s for you, collectively, to judge. We have one more piece to run in our series of articles, by different writers, on the derby fallout. That will appear tomorrow. Meanwhile, what has it all meant for Salut! Sunderland? …
Is there something about a really bad event or setback that makes us all gloom junkies?
Newspapers – as I should know – have always been more to do with bad news than good. Entrepreneurs who tried to launch good-news-only alternatives ended up broke. TV news bulletins are predominantly filled with what is evil, contentious or sad in the world.
And Salut! Sunderland, after one terrible performance by SAFC and a catastrophic result that ends a moderately encouraging start to the season, has never been busier. I was going to say “more popular” but that doesn’t somehow seem the right phrase.
In the 24 hours following the final whistle at St James’ Park, we had something like 11,000 visitors. Traffic has continued to be heavy, driving us up to our best position in the Soccerlinks football site rankings (just in the top 20 for the first time). Numbers are likely to remain high so for a day or so before we all decide it is time to move on.
That will seem small beer to the really big boys; the Arsenal site Gunning Hawk draws in many more thousands than that every day of every week without needing a massive defeat or victory against Spurs to inflate the figures. But it’s certainly a big deal for us.
It would be great to think fans came here in droves knowing the quality of the material they’d find. It is not so simple.
Many of Salut! Sunderland‘s new readers, of course, have been Mags eager to gloat, just as hard as we gloated when they went down the season before last. Though a good few of them did not merely gloat but added perfectly reasonable comments; in return came some approving words from Sunderland supporters about the Newcastle performance.
There was a rare – rare in tribal terms anyway – outbreak of magnanimity among the triumphant, and humility from the defeated. Not everyone, but you know what I mean.
Like John Cleese and the two Ronnies in the famous sketch about the class system, we are under no illusions about our proper station in life.
The hit level will tail off as the Geordies depart these shores and Mackems return to a more sporadic pattern of visits.
Come the next Premier games, smiles and frowns could end up on different faces, the season resuming its inconsistent progress bringing pleasure one week, pain the next, until everything – in January – seems once again to depend on one game of football, SAFC v NUFC at the Stadium of Light.
Naturally, we’d be thrilled if a lot of the people who have been here for the first time decided to stick with us to see what we get up to when times are more orderly.
You might find loads of interest if, for example, you devoted some time to exploring the left and right-hand columns (I know one recently widowed woman who would derive quite a bit of comfort from the knowledge that so many Newcastle fans who have been here have spotted the link from the Salut! Gold list to an appreciation of her NUFC-supporting husband at a non-football site of mine).
On a brighter note, come back on Thursday and see the excellent capture we’ve made among Stoke City fans for our traditional “Who are You?” questionnaire with a supporter of our next opponents. Have another look in the day or two following the Stoke game and see what Pete Sixsmith makes of that one. He’s too down after Sunday to be bothered with the Reserves tonight.
And even if you think you are here for the last time, for a while or for ever, thanks for stopping by.