Here’s a quick digest of the week now drawing to a close, aimed at any reader who hasn’t time to visit Salut! Sunderland every day …
Years ago, I was told about the annoying habit of a man who was last but one in the job I then held. Each time he was praised for a notable piece of work, he would say “yes but what was wrong with it?” or “I know there’s a but coming”. Arsenal supporters remind me of him.
Not everyone admires Arsène Wenger or the teams he assembles. I do and have said so many times. But each mention of Arsenal at Salut! Sunderland prompts such an ill-humoured outpouring of anger, irritation and general sourness that it makes you wonder what they have to be so touchy about.
Monty and Rupert sounded such jovial characters when their names were broadcast over the Emirates PA system a couple of seasons ago that it seems a shame they’re probably miserable old codgers who spend the evening moaning into their Pimms and pink gins about having to make do with Champions’ League football and a top two Premier place. They should try supporting a team that manages one point in 24.
So this week, Salut! Sunderland had one of its occasional looks at French football. It wold be fair to say this series is as self-indulgent as its title, French Fancies, suggests; it attracts relatively modest hits. This time, Arsenal and Marouane Chamakh were mentioned, fleetingly, and it was enough to unleash a torrent of Gooner traffic, and some embittered comments, in our direction. To say I was taken by surprise would be an understatement.
OK, 13,000 is an exaggeration since we’d have been seen by some of them in any case, but let us say that at least 10,000 of the hits must have been from Arsenal supporters coming here for that item alone. It was a record single day’s hits for this site; we topped their page at newsnow.co.uk as well as our own, and climbed back to 16th place in the Soccerlinks hit list.
Make of it what you will, and of the other things we’ve been up to in a week that began with the horrific collapse at home to West Brom. Each of the items that follows can be seen in full by clicking on the sub-heading:
* French fancies: let’s all laugh at Bordeaux
A gleeful account of goings-on in Ligue 1, where our favourite enemies Bordeaux were held to a drab goalless draw at home by plucky, doomed Alres-Avignon. Plus all those Arsenal moans. Chamakh was barely mentioned; we later discovered he was being criticised by Gooners themselves at one of their own sites.
* Humbled by West Brom – where do we go from here?
Pete Sixsmith reports on a dismal second half at home to WBA. His mood would not have been improved had he seen the Daily Mail fan’s view, where a Baggie talked of being outmuscled in the first half by a “determined, physical but limited” Sunderland side.
* The Niall Quinn inquest on a season gone wrong: prosecution and defence
Two-parter – just click on each highlighted word – in which Jeremy Robson declares his exasperation with Steve Bruce and Richard Halma offers words of encouragement and understanding.
Another lovely sermon from Pete Sixsmith’s Soapbox, this one reporting on a good win for the Reserves over Man City.
* The Birmingham City “Who are You?”
John Baker, a Bluenose out in the US, comes down hard on Steve Bruce, winds up Villa and applauds SuperKev.
If you explore the site, you’ll see more items you may have missed, including Birflatt Boy’s whinge about the number of Sunderland players who are not really Sunderland players at all but on loan, and my own attempt to present a balanced view on the Bruce in, Bruce out debate. Plus Rob Hutchison on a grand afternoon out at a women’s football game.
For the record, if Salut! Sunderland gets its way, Arsenal will overtake Manchester United and win the league. That should provoke a little more “we remember Dan Smith” bile from the Emirates.
And Ha’ way the Lads at St Andrew’s.
* Caricature of Chamakh from our electronic friend and Bordeaux fan Kamini-le-ouf. See his Flickr pages at this link.