Salut!’s week: relief at Bolton, revenge for Chamakh, respect for Wolves

Salut! Sunderland looks forward in all senses to the last home game of the season, when we expect no slacking despite our affection for Wolverhampton Wanderers and our desire for them to stay up (though 5-2 again would be rubbing it in; 1-0 will do). And we look back over a week that started well. This is the weekly digest of Salut! Sunderland‘s efforts to inform, amuse and inspire …

For once – well, twice or three times in the past four months – we began the week in happy frame of mind.

The last-gasp winner at Bolton was exactly what the doctor ordered and given Sunderland’s appalling run not only of form but of luck, we need apologise to no one about the merits or otherwise, as described by Owen Coyne, of those three priceless points.

There was plenty to read here about that match. And there was, as usual, more to get stuck into as the week went on. Click on the sub-heading for any item that appeals if you want to read more or read again.

* 4001 reasons to be cheerful

It is not often we draw attention too heavily to Steve Bruce’s post-match e-mails. I’m sure many Salut! Sunderland readers get them anyway, through their own status as season ticket holders, and they have hardly made compelling reading of late. This one did, for all the right reasons.

* How I missed the winner and rediscovered Stuart Hall

No, Pete Sixsmith has not been watching re-runs of It’s a Knock Out. But having delivered his quick verdict and players’ marks out of 10 to The Observer, he then owned up to a salient detail of his ability to report the game: he left after the equaliser, resigned to a possible late defeat or, at best, a fortunate draw. Sixer’s Soapbox was a riveting read, all the same.

* Why are Arsenal fans so easy to wind up?

It is an odd thing about Gooners. Salut! Sunderland readers know I admire Wenger and like the club, and so by now do loads of Arsenal supporters. The piece about the curse of Chamakh wasn’t even about Arsenal, but about Bordeaux, his former club.

Yet the criticism of les Girondins is somehow taken by some Gooners as reflected criticism of them, Wenger or their club. Either that or they haven’t a sense of humour; if it was just a case of not sharing mine, they wouldn’t bother to leave their hurt little comments.

And in case anyone else thought it was time to grow up and forget our spat with Bordeaux, let me add that they have lost yet again, 1-0 at Lens, and that this was another result that gave great pleasure to this site. I no longer care about Marouane Chamakh, but continue to deplore Bordeaux’s insulting behaviour when SAFC did care. As for Laurent Blanc, he got off – as I hoped he would – in the race quotas row.

* Backing the North-eastern club at Wembley

Hardly had he had time to catch Match of the Day on his return from Bolton than Pete Sixsmith was off down to London and a spot of Wembley glory for Whitley Bay. they beat Coalville Town 3-2 to win the FA Vase. A great pal of Pete and Salut!’s, Malcolm Dawson, was also there and, despite living in Coalville territory, rooting for the NE team. Malcolm’s fabulous article capped some great coverage of non-league football and Salut! Sunderland was proud to have published both pieces.


1700 Whitley’s skipper Damon Robson lifts the Vase yet again. Ian Chandler has now won it three times as a manager and once as a player. Is he a future Sunderland manager? The Coalville players look absolutely drained. They won’t be back as they have been promoted to the Evo-Stik League; Bay finished third in the Northern League, so no promotion for them and a chance to make it four in a row – unless Shildon can do for them next year.

– from Pete’s diary of the day

In the end I thought Bay had just about shaded it and were worthy winners. Sportingly, after celebrating in front of their own fans they came down and applauded the Coalville supporters who responded well. It was a great game of football preceding more beer and curry.

– from Malcolm’s report

* Sulley Muntari: I’m the greatest

Well if he is, it wasn’t enough to persuade Bruce and Quinn to keep him. Phil Johnson had found an imaginary pair of interviews with the Ghanaian midfielder on an Inter Milan website and shared them with us. Two days later Muntari was out of the door. Cause and effect?

* And so to Wolves and the world’s ultimate trophy wife

Jo Nicholls is the Mackemoiselle (word invented at Salut!) wife of Andy, a moderator at the Wolves fan site Molineux Mix. Andy’s a past award-winner for his Who are You? contributions, is back on the shortlist for the 2010-11 honours and would doubtless have obliged yet again if asked. Instead, we asked Jo and she produced some great responses.

. Then we repeated some terrific banter from Andy’s site; the mutual respect between our two sets of supporters is exemplary.

Sample from Jo’s interview:

Q: Loads of links in recent years: Alex Rae, Mick McCarthy, Neil Collins and others – fill in the ones I’ve inevitably missed – including, of course, Jody Craddock, who kindly answered questions before the same fixture a year ago. Any special favourites, or stories about or thoughts on, these people?

A: Jody is as much of a legend in the midlands (maybe even more so) as he is in Sunderland – When he plays he does seem to offer the stability that has been lacking in previous games. One you missed out was Mickey Gray – he only had a few seasons at Wolves but I seem to recall that a lot of the fans liked the way he played the game. My son was a mascot at Watford v Wolves a few seasons a go – he has flowing locks like Mickey and the Wolves players were fantastic with him calling him Mickey and calling Mickey Will – really good natured – Mickey ended up walking out with Will which was great!

And then was the reproduction of an old tribute to David Graves, a Wolves-supporting friend who died tragically nine years ago. Lovely responses here, at Molineux Mix and, historically, at the place – Salut! proper – where the item first appeared.


Enjoy the journey if you decide to follow ay of those links. And don’t forget to vote for Salut! Sunderland in the EPL Talk Club Blog awards. Click above – on the text, not the image – or here to do so.

Monsieur Salut

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