Guess the Score at Bolton as Sunderland’s ruby anniversary cup run begins

'At last the tight git is giving one away with no strings', says Jake
‘At last the tight git is giving one away with no strings’, says Jake

This is a posting that could not decide whether to be one of those occasional Salut! Sunderland reviews of the week just gone, a simple Guess the Score competition or a second bite at the “Who are You?” cherry.

Monsieur Salut thought of rolling them all into one but finally accepted the rebuke of Terry McLoughlin who, while boldly offering a scoreline forecast of Liverpool 1 SAFC 2, questioned the device of mixing up Guess the Score and further debate on the Tottenham Hotspur post-Olympics diving squad. “Too much talk, too few predictions,” Terry thundered.

Maybe Jake also sees the start of a 40th anniversary Wembley final
Maybe Jake also sees the start of a 40th anniversary Wembley final

So let us restrict this to the simple question of how the FA Cup Third Round tie at Bolton Wanderers will go. We have sold out our 5,000 allocation, a grand day out beckons for the travelling army and, this being Sunderland, no one can be sure what mood the troops will be in for the return journey.

But if the outcome is about as certain as a politician’s promise, we can be sure of one thing: the FA Cup has a stirring ingredient – or should that be tasty stir-in ingredient? – for Sunderland supporters this year.

From an old birthday card sent to M Salut
From an old birthday card sent to M Salut

Promotions apart, the last proper trophy was, of course, 40 years ago this coming May 5. Back in 1973 (I once wrote about it only for a Daily Telegraph sub-editor to change it to 1974), we beat Leeds United in the final remembered by all British football fans old enough and known about by the rest.

We have been at Wembley four times since, for two losing promotion play-offs, one losing Milk Cup final and one losing FA Cup final.

Not a great honours record for four decades despite those promotions, the plurality sadly meaning there have been relegations, too.

Our Tottenham sparring partner Stoney – already signed up for a future Who are You? so you haven’t heard the last of him – mistakenly claimed our last trophy was the 1988 Third Division title in 1988 whereas every schoolboy should know we have also risen to the Premier no fewer than four times since as champions.

Click anywhere on this paragraph to see the Bolton Wanderers ‘Who are You?’ feature. Sample: I remember going to my first Bolton game when I was about 5 or 6 years old. That game was coincidently against Sunderland, a 1-1 draw with Michael Gray’s opener cancelled out by a comic own goal from Phil Babb.

Are we about to stage a barnstorming run in honour of honour the ruby anniversary of an event none of our players was alive to witness or even sleep through in nappies? Can we go all the way to Wembley? Will we even put out a competitive enough side at the Reebok, given how much more important Premier survival will be seen by Martin O’Neill and Ellis Short.

The usual rules apply. The winner is the first to post the correct result. I will carry forward the prize offered for the Liverpool game, none of the pre-Anfield entries coming from anyone who could bring themselves to believe Sunderland would produce such an inept display. A Martin O’Neill “Team of All Talents – work in progress” mug goes to the winner and will be modified if a Wandering opposition fan posts the first correct prediciton.

Ha’way the Lads. I fancy a decent cup run …

See also: Monsieur Salut talks all things Sunderland at ESPN FC:

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Click anywhere on this sentence for a glance at the home page – and highlights of all the most recent articles …

Don’t wait to win Guess the Score: click here for the Martin O’Neill ‘Team of all Talents’ mug: £9.50, post-free for UK buyers, from the Salut! Sunderland Shop

Happy new year! Monsieur Salut, by Matt
Happy new year! Monsieur Salut, by Matt


20 thoughts on “Guess the Score at Bolton as Sunderland’s ruby anniversary cup run begins”

  1. Only 6 on the bench? Haven’t we got a kid that could get splinters in his arse for 90 mins? Unprofessional Martin O’Neill.

  2. “Saw the Man City replay BBC highlights in black and white in the NAAFI TV room after avoiding the score all evening.”

    That was the only game I did not attend – I only learnt that the tickets had gone on sale an hour after they had, when the Sunday papers were delivered so, living in Leeds I had NO chance of getting one.

    I was though, as yourself, able to watch the game where I was working (Peterborough) and had NO idea of the score until those memorable B&W images finished flickering across the screen!

    Happy days!

    • I should have added that my guess at the score has, already, been taken (3-1 to us) so I’ll have to go (totally) mad and increase the scoreline to 4-1!

  3. Eric’s travails were better than the classic Likely Lads avoiding-the-score episode…did Brian Glover play the part of the Duty Officer?

    • Neil, avoiding the score was easy in them days. You just didn’t put the radio on. No t’internet, computers, tablets, twatter, facething etc. Although I did have to sneak into the NAAFI covertly in case some well meaning soul gave it the big “GET INNNNNNNNNNN!”

  4. I agree with Ian; 1-1 a la Notts County 40 years ago, with Mignolet making a breathtaking save from Davies in the 80th minute as Monty did from Les Bradd and then Fletch grabbing an equaliser in the 86th setting up a replay which we will win 2-0.
    I’ll share the mugs with you, Ian.

    • Is it really 40 years? Only attended the Reading replay (not too far from my Marlow RAF base) in the company of three Gunners – no Gooners in 1973. Saw the Man City replay BBC highlights in black and white in the NAAFI TV room after avoiding the score all evening. Listened to SF until half time only as I had to go to the mess to get fed. Locked up in the guardroom on May 5 for a minor transgression of RAF law, but the kindly Duty Officer allowed me out to watch on the NAAFI’s new colour TV. I had one of the WRAF girls stitch SAFC on to a red shirt I owned, then a couple of celebratory pints saw me given another week in aforementioned guardroom. Ace!!

  5. This is our chance for a trophy, but I would like to see our main players rested so we can do well in the Prem to be honest. Survival is more important than a cup which has less esteem compared to ten years ago.
    I say rest Mignolet and give Westwood a chance. Rest Fletch and give Wickham a go. Put Vaughn in somewhere etc etc.

    Score prediction: Bolton 1 Sunderland 1

  6. I am working on the theory that if I predict Opposition 0 – Sunderland 5 every game I’ll win a mug eventually so my prediction is Bolton 0 Sunderland 5

  7. OK since the interest in the cup is so high, I’ll wade in with a Bolton 2 SAFC 4 prediction. If anyone else wants that scoreline, mine won’t count if it comes true

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