New Year Greetings: Spurs have dived off, Guess the Score at Liverpool

'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

Happy New Year from Salut! Sunderland

They cannot all read and write as well as Michael Gove would like, but it was good to have so many Tottenham fans coming here to respond to Pete Sixsmith’s dangerously provocative comments.

Consider these samples taken from the offending march report:

“Spurs played well, looked a potential top four side” … “they had a little bit too much for us” … Lloris “had an outstanding last half hour, his punching the ball a great lesson for any aspiring keeper”.

I’ve had a word with Pete about his future conduct.

But in case none of those extracts persuaded you there was any need for a Tottenham supporter to raise the least protest, go to to see what else the fuss might have been about. If I say Arise Sir Gareth and Sir Jermain (OK, they didn’t go so far as to defend Defoe’s dive), you’ll get the drift.

Jake: 'Ha'way the Lads at Anfield - with or without beachball'
Jake: ‘Ha’way the Lads at Anfield – with or without beachball’

But now it is on to Anfield. Another big, big game. I’ve seen a few draws there and the odd unlucky defeat but never a Sunderland win. Wednesday night would be a good time to show those with short memories we can actually visit the city of Liverpool and come away with three points. Even one point would be a decent effort.

And here’s your chance yet again to Guess the Score. No buy two/win two nonsense for a change. This time it is a straightforward case of win the competition, get a Martin O’Neill mug free. I beg you not to win if you live outside the UK as that means I don’t benefit from free postage. But Liverpool fans are as welcome as ours to enter; I’ll modify the mug design if one of them wins. Just have a go for fun if the mugs don’t interest you.

The Salut! Sunderland MoN mug: 'Team of all Talents - work in progress'
The Salut! Sunderland MoN mug: ‘Team of all Talents – work in progress’

Talking of diving and other forms of cheating, which by implication we were, look at this extract from the Liverpool “Who are You?”. See it in full here: It’s an interview with Neil Atkinson, presenter of

Q: Salut! Sunderland: Suarez finally got a penalty and it was as clearcut as any but he has a dreadful reputation for diving which may well have cost you points. For all that, has the time come to accept cheating as part of the modern game?

A: ‘Cheating’ has always been part of football. We all ‘cheat’ when we play football all the time. We always have. You appeal for things that aren’t yours, you commit fouls, you go down easily. This is at park level. The idea that there is good ‘cheating’ and bad ‘cheating’ is intellectually weak. Lance Armstrong is a cheat. Luis Suarez is someone looking for an advantage in an equal contest against an opponent with a neutral referee. English football twisting itself into overly masculinised knots and turning the virtue of cleverness into a vice to be suspicious of has long been a symptom of a wider illness within the national game. I also think that most match going supporters are aware that their players all ‘cheat’. It is the neutral Super Sunday crowd that place a moral aspect on the game that simply isn’t there. No one accuses bowlers who ask for LBW when it clearly wasn’t of ‘cheating’.

A brave new world looms.

Happy New Year to all, even those who feel being against cheating is just for softies, and Ha’way the Lads. Liverpool away is a game in which we need to do well …

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

42 thoughts on “New Year Greetings: Spurs have dived off, Guess the Score at Liverpool”

  1. I do not think this is the case but I would like to dispel some possible notions about Spurs’ team.

    1.We get away with diving.
    Have not had a single penalty awarded all season and most dive/no dive call has gone against us. Ex: Bale runs straight at Pool’s defense is grabbed from behind by Allen and Skrtl trips him up but Bale is booked anyway. I know Defoe’s was a shameful dive but it was really an innocuous one. You could see the hopeless expression on Defoe’s face after it. It was never a foul and Defoe deserved a caution but it was not a controversial case I would say as there was no way Sunderland would have been penalized for that. Bale’s was controversial because it left him out against Reading and it was inside the box. It is all the more controversial because Bale’s reputation has been on the line recently and he is decidedly losing the battle. His last 3 cautions were more than borderline fouls and I am afraid that they would never have been called dives were it not for Bale’s name..

    2.Bale’s speed is not an excuse.

    This is tricky, I think speed played a partial role in the last dispute. Knee to knee is enough to make anyone stumble when sprinting but it does seem also that Bale almost hesitates for a moment in his stride to entice Gardner into the contact and is thusly fouled. It is clever on Bale’s part of course but not the nasty clever used to con referees, rather it was used to con Gardner into the challenge. Anyway, Bale has a legitimate excuse to fall when he anticipates contact. See Adam’s challenge that broke his ankle a year and a half ago. If you watch Spurs frequently you will notice that this type of challenge happens at least once a game simply because he is too fast for most of the Prem’s fullbacks. Martifn Skrtl is a serial offender. The latest example was Delph’s foul against Villa.

    3. Bale is the same “type” of diver as Suarez

    This is a small point but should be considered as well because it really does affect opinions on players. When Bale goes down, he never rolls in agony or pleads to the ref. He only pleads when he is about to be booked for a controversial decision, see his last 3 cautions. Suarez, however, is very cynical, he first closes his squinty eyes and shouts in faux-pain than rolls on the ground usually grabbing his ankle. Bale’s is a face forward slide on his stomach with his arms out, its way more practical and has legitimately used to defend himself. Liverpool game 4-1 at home a year ago is a good example of this where he narrowly avoided crunching tackles from Agger and Skrtl by going down before contact, I think it would be ridicuous to ask him to wait for the contact in those scenarios with a career very much on the line.

    I do believe this last dive is debatable and I am pleased to hear some reasoned arguments on both sides. For me, though, it is very harsh to caution Bale in that instance. If Atkinson does not think it is penalty that is somewhat fine but I think he made the “easier” of the possible decisions by booking Bale. It plays to the recent diving attitudes within the league and the public, particularly with Bale who is now labeled as a diver on the same level of Suarez and Young by most non-Spurs fans despite all of his latest “dives” being very disputable. Also, with his missed call against Defoe and the match being played in front of outraged Sunderland fans, it was made simple for him to book Bale. Atkinson, in my experience, is not a bad observer of the action but is one of the most timid refs in the Prem and always seems to give in to home protestration as least once in a match.

    Anyway, I hope my Bale fanboyism may have enlightened a few although it will probably anger more.

      • Decent enough points and well argued Nathan. I shan’t respond in detail as I have said more than enough on this and you can find them elsewhere, but my last word is that I don’t think it was a penalty and that the booking probably wouldn’t have been had it been a lot of other players.

  2. Liverpool 1 Sunderland 2
    Fletch and AJ scoring for us.

    The thought of Suarez vs Kilgallon does not fill me with confidence though. He did a real number on Clint Hill last week.

    I will be encouraged if Tim Cahill comes in. We need an agressive, positive, dynamic midfielder. OK, he’s getting on a bit, but I think it will be a good loan.

    Behind the scenes the club should be working like monkeys on orange juice to get a couple of right signings in. Another midfielder and a right back/centre back.

  3. Stoney, you really are a prize a***. Sunderland have won nothing worthwhile for 40 years, but can still draw crowds in excess of 37,000 for the majority of home games. even in the Championship, 34,000 was the norm.
    Maybe we can’t sell out every seat, but to call the stadium a white elephant shows how little you understand about our fan base and our region.
    I can think of few clubs with such a poor record who would continue to attract fans in such numbers. Maybe you could suggest some?
    Spurs play good football but fans like you and some of the others who have contributed recently reinforce my negative view of Spurs fans.

    • Peter, relax. I didn’t call your stadium a white elephant directly. It was an analogy. I know you have thousands of wonderful fans who go there every week. Allow me to explain. I referred to it as such in respects to Matt F’s inference that you don’t have the fans to fill it. I was suggesting the money men would be mad to sanction such a construction if they knew there were not the people prepared to come along, hence the red and white elephant. Read between the lines a little, apply the appropriate context and chill the f**k out man. I’m not going to apologise for any offence you may have taken as none was intended. It was just your interpretation. As for you calling me a prize a**e. I’m not too proud to turn down any award. I’ll take it as a compliment. Happy New Year.

      • 46’000 av attendance the first season the stadium was extended. And we finished fourth from bottom that year. Economic downturn to blame unfortunately, but the proof is there that it’s a realistic size in comparison to the club. The fall in crowds – though still healthier than most – is reflective of the region’s struggles at present.

        The modern football fan prefers to fill from the back rather than the front, so it often looks like a poor turnout on telly when, in fact, it looks very healthy from within the stadium. I agree it looks poor and I wish the club would address it.

  4. Matt F
    Apologise for my absence. If a comparison of attendances cannot be made then why would salutsunderland belittle our stadium. My ones bigger than your one etc. Surely the two have to be linked. Supply and demand. It’s the absolute basis of economic theory. Why would someone commission and pay for a stadium that they knew they could not fill? That’s financial suicide. Are you admitting your stadium is too big for you to fill and that the money men of sunderland have bought too many foldy down plastic seats? Or is it that you have a raft of fickle fans that if, as and when you reach the rarified air near the summit of the premiership, will all come flooding back through the turnstiles? Your stadium holds 49,000 when full and I’m sure you’ve filled it on occasion. Did all these 49,000 live within a stone’s throw of the ground? I doubt it. Perhaps some where even satellite commuters. Now, if you genuinely haven’t got the fans to fill it, which is the point you seem to be making, I’d have a very serious word with the fool who spent all your hard earned money that you paid out for your tickets on that red and white elephant. I’d be absolutely fuming if it was my club. Don’t be scared, he won’t shoot you, when he bought his gun he probably didn’t think to buy any bullets.
    Oh yeah, one more thing, geographically the Olympic stadium is much further away from the main Spurs’ fan base so east London would be an even greater logistical nightmare than getting in and out of Tottenham could ever be. But if getting home quickly and easily is your priority then you should stay at home, one more empty seat at the stadium of light won’t worry those financially astute brain boxes you have at the helm and the diehard fans who’s priorities lie with what happens inside the stadium and not outside of it won’t miss you either. Spurious, no, I’m furious, and it’s all for you.

  5. Not feeling good about this one. Suarez is on fire.I fear for Titus.

    3 – 1 Liverpool. (third conceded whilst chasing an equaliser).

  6. I’m going for 1-2 to us. It may be already up there but I can’t find it.

    Too much talk, too few predictions.

  7. If I was penalised every time I touched a forward going past me, I would literally be redundant as a (crap) footballer.

    Using the speed thing with Bale is weak, all it does is highlight how fast the game is and how easy it is to con the ref (and me at the time).

    To suggest that a slight touch of the arm is enough to throw over a strapping 6ft lad -because he’s a fast runner – is beyond laughable.

  8. “No one accuses bowlers who ask for LBW when it clearly wasn’t of ‘cheating’” but they do criticise fielders who have caught the ball on the half volley and don’t own up, batsmen who don’t walk when they have nicked it, fielders who appeal for LBW after an inside edge etc. DRS is now widely used to support the on-field umpires in an attempt to get to the correct decision but those decisions are clear cut within the laws of the game. We may well get something similar in football for offsides, goal line decisions, corners and whether or not a foul was committed inside or outside the penalty area, but there will be less consistency on issues such as the Bale booking.

    There was some slight contact between Bale’s and Gardner’s knees but this was two players running at full speed. Who initiated the contact or was it accidental? Was Bale already on the way down? Would it have been deemed a foul in midfield? These are all subjective questions any replay official would have to consider.

    The earlier contact was Gardner’s arm across Bale’s chest which I maintain could be deemed obstruction and worthy of at most an indirect free kick. Would a video ref have agreed? We see players ballroom dancing and rugby tackling at corners and free kicks and referees allowing play to continue.

    American Football uses video booths for on and off field officials to determine whether fouls have been committed. The coaches have the right to appeal decisions they think are wrong, limited so as to discourage flippant appeals, but NFL is a completely different game to “soccer”

    As for Stoney’s point I’m not sure we would be bleating if Sessegnon for example had gone down in similar circumstances. I’d challenge him to go through all of Sixer’s past match reports and find an example where we bleat on about a decision as debatable as this one.

  9. As an aside and nothing to do with the Liverpool game I noted Danny Rose’s comments, as reported in The Echo, which make interesting reading.

    Rose said: “I spoke to the manager (Villas-Boas) on Saturday and asked him what was happening because I wanted to know myself.

    “I’m very happy up north. I’m close to my family and playing every week.

    “I love the staff, players and management here and I’m not looking to go back south and not play.

    “I’m settled here so I wanted to know what was going on.

    “He told me the plan was to stay for the full season and whatever happens after that is out of my hands. THEN IT’S BETWEEN SUNDERLAND & SPURS”. (my capitals)!

    Seems as though it is not as “cut and dried” as suggested!!

    • AVB has already said no chance for permanent transfer, or “impossible”. Talking the price up is all methinks.

  10. I’ve a feeling that this fixture could produce a positive result (for us) and I’ll, therefore go for 1-0.

  11. Liverpool 1 ; Suarez (pen. of dubious origin); Sunderland 2 (Fletcher, Bramble).
    And a Happy New Year to all our readers.

  12. Gardner fouled Bale. It should have been a penalty. Had it been the other way round you would be bleating that you were denied the chance to make it 2-2 and would have gone on to win the game. All the sky and MOTD pundits think it was a penalty and I respect their opinion far much more than your biased one. Get over it. By the way, fergie thinks Newcastle is a ‘wee club in the north east’. What does that make Sunderland?

    • And Graham Poll, who knows more about the laws of the game than all your Sky and MOTD pundits put together, disagrees. “Looking at replays, there is contact but only after Bale’s leg is crumbling. I understand that Andre Marriner had a meeting at Tottenhan’s training ground to discuss this recurring problem with Bale … but this meeting does not appear to have had the desired effect.”

      Not everyone rated Poll. I quarrelled with his decisions sometimes, and he made that terrible blunder at the end of his international career, but overall I respected him as a referee of the highest quality.

      The point is not that he is necessarily 100 per cent right on Bale but that his perfectly sensible contribution shows it to be a fine debating point, not the cast-in-stone certainty you suggest.

      I believe Bale dived, you insist he did not but only Bale knows the truth. As stated elsewhere he dived, he was fouled or he was neither fouled nor dived. That possibly makes the card slightly harsh, but Atkinson felt otherwise on his one view and Bale has only himself, and any disreputable coaches who have filled his head with such thoughts, to blame if his serial offending has saddled him with a reputation as a cheat.

      And if Bale seriosuly believes in his “entitlement” to fall over as spectacularly as he wishes at the least contact, especially in the penalty area, then the world of top-class football has become a sad place.

      As for wee clubs, I am sure you’re content to be North London’s second biggest and am therefore happy for you.

      • You put forward graham poll as your proof of a bale dive then recall his 3 card trick. You say it’s not as cast in stone as I say it is yet you call it a dive. I find your argument full of contradictions. And if you knew your history you’d know arsenal are a south London club.

      • I think, sir, that you must be older than Methuselah if you experienced that first hand – I do appreciate that you referred to history.

        Switching to the present, it would appear that Spurs would aspire to be an East London club, so what price North London loyalty?

        Surely, that would must leave Arsenal as the only club, worth talking about, who see their home as being in North London?

      • Levy, the smartest chairman in football, used the Olympic stadium as leverage to get what he wanted from Haringey council with regards to the N17 project. The development of our new ground is well underway and right next door to our current stadium. We are not leaving north London, were never going to, and never will. You are just another one who fell for it.
        PS your picture is in the post.

      • Barnet are a north London club? But they are proposing to move out of the Borough into Harrow which is NW London. By Stoney’s logic MK Dons are still a South London Club too.

      • I assume you have a picture of Levy on your bathroom wall then Stoney or have I misunderstood the term sycophantic?

      • I’m sure you understand the word sycophant, you’re just applying it wrongly. I don’t seek anything personally from Daniel Levy. I’m pretty damn sure he doesn’t even know who I am. I can live with that. Just keep doing what he’s doing is good enough for me. If you were to read any Tottenham blog that makes reference to Daniel levy 99.9% of them are highly complimentary of the him, and many opposition fans post envious remarks of his stewardship. I’m far from being alone in my praise of him and I certainly won’t be apologising for it.

      • You must be easily confused. No contradiction whatever in expressing a belief while acknowledging doubt and even less in presenting someone as an authority, not “proof” as you wrongly state, while recalling that he, too, has made mistakes at work. History? It is 100 years since Arsenal ceased to be a south London club. They moved the year Sunderland achieved a fifth top-flight league title. And before you say it, I am aware we have won only once since and even that was 77 years ago – still enough to make us champions three times more often than Spurs.

        Incidentally, I have always been fond of your little ground and would be sad to see you leave. I also think Bale will graduate from very good to great once he matures.

      • At least we can fill our little ground and we will fill our big ground too… Unlike yourselves with thousands of empty seats. Condescend all you like, the empty seats speak volumes more than those fans who sit next to them.
        And you make reference to silverware. I’m sure you already know this but I’ll post it for those who may not. Your last piece… 1988 division 3 championship trophy. Whoo Hoo!

      • I take it you don’t actually live in N17 – Stoney as if you did, you’d probably resent all those Home Counties interlopers drowning Tottenham High Road every other Saturday.

        Now, with the prospect of an extra 15,000 of them struggling to leave the area on its appalling transport links, the lost east London option looks all the more appealing.

        Also, don’t be so silly as to make comparisons between the attendances of a London club – bloated with all those satellite commuters – with those of a provincial city, whose population really reflect the fortunes of their club. Spurious nonsense.

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