One week ago, we were worried that our depleted team we might be embarrassed at Upton Park, leaving us a place worse off than this time last season at lowly 14th. The 3-0 win made us eat our words, and very tasty they were too, at the start of a frantic week in which we ran three end-of-season reports, previewed the “Who are You?” awards and intruded on the higher ground of the Champions’ League. If you missed anything or want a reminder, read on …
The unmagical figure of £46 at one point raised the possibility that our final game of the season would be played out in the absence of the magical figure of Pete Sixsmith.
He swallowed his pride, overcame his anger with Sullivan and Gold and forgot pre-retirement impoverishment to opt for the day out anyway. And had a jolly good time. Click here to see his account of a good win which may have been against a thoroughly bad, demoralised side but lifted us to 10th place, two above Newcastle United (though the end-of-season reviews – see below – put that in perpective).
What else did we dream up in the hope of entertaining or stimulating supporters of Sunderland AFC – and the many others who stray in here because, well, because they do?
Let’s start with the end-of-season reports. A mixed bag so far, with one broadly positive analysis – mine – followed by two gloomier reviews of the 2010-2011 season. Click on any sub-heading to see the full item …
* Jeremy Robson: still looked a mess to me
Jeremy attributes our dreadful decline the second half of the season to a decision, still defended now by Bruce, to let Bent go without goalscoring cover in place.
With any luck, we will be producing a few more contributions on the theme, and there should be some more upbeat words to serve as a counterbalance to what has already appeared. Constructive criticism does no harm, however, and those who have found one or more of the reviews so far to be churlish need only make contact if they wish to offer an opposing view.
Jeremy Robson came up with the story from the Sunderland Echo of two pals, Andy White, a committed Mag, and Josh Dyer, a Sunderland supporter. They had a bet that whoever’s team finished lower would have to go and buy his rival’s strip from that club’s shop. Cue smiles from Josh, grimaces from Andy as he took his forfeit, not on the chin, but on the back.
A very tight contest is quietly in progress for the first three places in this year’s awards for the best questionnaires with opposing supporters. We were delighted to be able to announce a second sponsor for the prizes, Cassell Illustrated’s parent group, Octopus Publishing, offering the great football book you see photographed to add to the prizes already promised by the much more than half-decent When Saturday Comes magazine. Winners will be announced once the judging – a protracted process because of the high quality of entires – is complete.
We could hardly let the Champions’ League final pass without mention. So we got Scott the Red, from Republik of Mancunia, to preview it from a United point of view and found a Barca fan in London, Neil Watson, to provide his own comments. But Neil had other things on his mind: which parts of London to scour with his “Ticket Wanted” placard.
Salut! Sunderland invites you to explore further. Only a selection of the week’s highlight are flagged here. The weekly digest will probably appear more intermittently until the new season is upon us. Now, then, would be a great time to come forward with any ideas of your own for articles to appear on these pages. E-mail me at email@example.com