Salut! Sunderland’s week: from Millwall and Everton to Billy Hughes

Courtesy: A Love Supreme

The latest of our occasional looks back at the week just gone, with links in case you missed items the first time round and want to explore further. Click on the titles to see the postings in full …

* Whatever happened to the FA Cup?

Pete Sixsmith was less taken than most with Crawley Town’s status as romantic heroes. He also offered some thoughts on the Niall Quinn vs Stayaway Fans debate, and the role played by the decline of the once-glorious FA Cup, and spoke in glowing terms about two other competitions starting with FA.


… the idea of there being a regular 3pm kick off on alternate Saturdays has been destroyed by the paymasters at Isleworth. The FA and Premier League have helped them by drawing up an FA Cup schedule that is so ludicrous that you would have thought that they were trying to kill off the competition …
… The frustrating thing is that whereas the FA Cup is like a much-loved old pet that is nearing the end of its days as it begins to throw up on the carpet, the two (relatively) new arrivals on the FA scene are in rude health and are really well organised.
The FA Trophy and FA Vase replaced the FA Amateur Cup in the 1970s and both competitions are major talking points in the North East.

No one likes them

M Salut’s reflections on a story with a familiar ring: trouble at Millwall. Some Lions fans were complaining that a few missiles at the New Den ensured a public flogging for them whereas similar bad behaviour elsewhere went relatively unnoticed. We tried to keep a sense of proportion, and the posting attracted one or two excellent comments …


… the outbreaks of appalling behaviour that still pollute football are not confined to the New Den. Think back to the Birmingham derby or even our own derbies. Every football club has a yob element to its support.
It is also true that as a club, Millwall has tried hard to minimise the problem. And no excuses will ever be found on my lips for the Sun reporter who once based a hostile piece on a repeated chant he took to be Sieg Heil from Millwall neo-Nazis but was in fact Seagulls (from Brighton fans).
That said, there does seem to be something exceptional about Millwall and it has never in my long memory been a pleasant experience to go there as an away supporter.

* Win tickets for Wigan at home

Tombola, Sunderland kit sponsors, invited us to take part in a free ticket promotion. The snag? We don’t get the tickets to dish out; you have to go to their site to take part in a draw. Still, it gave us a chance to reminisce about a previous SAFC v Wigan game, when one Sunderland fan’s insistence on seeing live coverage had a bunch of Welsh rugby fans fuming.


… someone from the bar staff sprang bravely to my aid. He reminded the rugby fans that he had taken care to explain the house rules, that the television would have to be switched to football should anyone ask for it …
… I tried pointing out that several other screens around the place were tuned to rugby. It was half time in the Six Nations so there was time for people to rearrange themselves. But that cut little ice, and it was plain that I was not in the company of people who would be inviting me to dinner in the foreseeable future.

* The Everton “Who are You?”: – or see the full interview here

Frank Gallagher, a top musician and producer from Northern Ireland, explained his weakness for Toffees, Salut! Sunderland reminded him of amorous conquests in the Gulf and the quote of the week came from his mum (though it was uttered on May 5 1973).


… I met Frank when he was in the band of the fabulous Irish singer Mary Black. He was also the youngest member of the band when they took me on a quick trip to Bahrain, where they played in a cavernous hotel ballroom for a largely expat Irish audience. I have a vivid memory of the nurses who had flocked to the event from Saudi forming an orderly queue for the Derry musician’s attention; or something like that, anyway …

Question: …. which Everton-Sunderland links, or games, do you remember?
Answer … I remember the ’73 final of course. I was 10 so I was the perfect age for all that wonder…the Stokoe hat, the Montgomery double save, the Kerr moustache … I also remember Billy Hughes being interviewed on Match of The Day that evening at the team party in their hotel and my mother commenting that he was “as full as a Lord”.

* Steve Bruce’s new contract

Salut! Sunderland welcomed the new deal extending Bruce’s stay to 2014, but pointed out that work remained to be done.


… the SAFC decision to offer him a new contract, and his acceptance of it, should be welcomed by supporters.
It is not all rosy. Some gloom merchants have even suggested that a bad run, which the next few games could easily extend, could put us in danger of relegation. In our present position, that is surely nonsense.
Bruce has brought in some good players, plus one or two duds. The performances are unrecognisably better this season that last.
Yet he needs to get the team winning again, playing with greater discipline and consistency and showing an ability to defend or build on winning starts (witness our collapses too often this season, including the present losing streak of three games).

There has been more over the past seven days, including some non-SAFC material. But we hope the above samples and links are of use or interest to those of you who don’t see the site every day. And now, on to another week, starting at Goodison.

* Join the new Salut! Sunderland Facebook group by clicking here

Colin Randall

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