After abject surrender at QPR, let’s all drink to Lisa

Jake says it all
Jake says it all

Some Sunderland fans have more reason than others to complain.

Jeremy Robson peeps out from his self-imposed wilderness – and how we miss him – to denounce “another dreadful performance and result”. He’s in Canada. So is Bill Taylor, anticipating Martin O’Neill’s post-match e-mail and the dreaded D-word: “Martin, before you say it, we’re ALL disappointed. In fact, some of us are gutted.” Yep, the D-word was there.

Jake, treasure that he is, was watching in Spain. And then there’s me, back in the deep south of France where I cannot even get the toaster to work, with the angriest, gloomiest piece I have written for ESPN since I was introduced to its website in the summer of last year. Back to that later, once I manage to produce something that isn’t either warm bread or a carcinogenic embers.

But you all know who I have in mind.

I followed them on Twitter this morning when I had nothing better to do and they were all heading south on trains, in cars and on buses. Despite the criminal price QPR grubbily levied on attending the game, we’d sold out our section. Hope, scarcely born of experience, was high. And the support it generated was as heartening as the team’s response to their passion and commitment was heartbreakingly flimsy.

Join the Salut! Sunderland Facebook group – click anywhere along this line

And follow us on Twitter: @salutsunderland … click along this line

The older ones among us can say we’ve seen it all before. At least we can enjoy a moment of nostalgia in May and recall when, 40 years earlier, men in red and white stripes did Sunderland, County Durham and football proud at Wembley stadium. Younger fans, not even born when we last enjoyed success that wasn’t just a promotion to follow one relegation or two, have memories of great SuperKev/Niall seasons – if even that isn’t, for them, too far in the past.

Today, we reached a nadir comparable to the 4-0 defeat at Reading on October 4 1997 that forced Peter Reid into a major rethink of who was worth the effort and who wasn’t. I will never forget Barry Emmerson, the friend with whom I attended that game, asking at half time (two down): “Do we want a lucky 2-2 or a 4-0 hiding that puts the fear of God into them?” Or words to that effect. The 4-0 worked; we got to the playoffs, up as champs the season after and then two seventh top finishes.

Martin O’Neill’s predictable apologia makes not the slightest difference to the reality that our wonderful band of away supporters was cheated twice, once by Tony Fernandes and once by their own team. Three times, come to that, if it is true that some were ejected for trying to hoist a flag protesting about QPR’s contemptible £45-a-head, a fiver off for pensioners, ripoff.

I salute every one of the fans who travelled.

But back to my ESPN piece. I ended it:

A post-match tweet from “Lisa” said supporting Sunderland and being teetotal was a tough combination. As it happens, O’Neill had talked in midweek about the welcome decline of football’s drinking culture. He was not quite right; watching Sunderland might drive anyone, in time even Lisa, to drink.

Lisa Dunn: still sober and aiming to salvage her weekend by seeing The Script tonight
Lisa Dunn: still sober and aiming to salvage her weekend by seeing The Script tonight

I have no idea where Lisa Dunn – “I’m just me … SAFC supporter and massive F1 fan — and proud mammy too” – watched the game. But her tweet made me laugh, my ESPN reference chuffed her to bits and I’m pleased to have made her day slightly less grim.

Monsieur Salut, by Matt
Monsieur Salut, by Matt

8 thoughts on “After abject surrender at QPR, let’s all drink to Lisa”

  1. Sorry for the tardy response Eric. Here is the link to the article.

    Just got back after getting up at 4-00am (real body time) to take my son to a football tournament. I’m proud to say that our lads showed a commitment and character that would put most of our overpaid loafers in red and white stripes to complete shame.

  2. There’s one simple reason the players just are not good enough and I am sick to death of these players IE Gardner colback Larson oshea bramble Bardsley and MON telling us now is the time to stand up and be counted by the way you muppets you shud have done this in August 2012, before the season started coz we have been paying your wages since then you lot want to take your heads out of your arses and grow some balls and play with some passion and pride when you pull on the red and white shirt if you can’t do that them pxxs off and don’t look back incase the door hits you on your way out now get out there next week and stuff Norwich and make the fans proud and maybe for the third time this season a smile on there faces when leaving the ground….

  3. Thanks to Lisa for sending the photo (no vanity involved: it was at M Salut’s request). Here’s wishing you a happier Mother’s Day than your Mother’s Eve!

  4. Anything but a win on Sunday must surely be the end of his tenure. Gone are the hugs for substituted players and he seems to stand alone now, cold and aloof.

    I was told a story about MON while he was with Villa, there was a promising youngster from Sunderland who had caught Villa’s eye. MON duly came up and met the youngsters parents and assured them that if they allowed him to come down to Brum that he would protect him like a father. MON’s charm offence paid off and said youngster went south. One day in the corridors of Villa Park the youngster was walking along the hallowed halls when who should turn the corner and walk towards, MON. The youngster said hallo but MON blanked him and in fact never spoke to him again.

    Odd behaviour, but behaviour that seems to be repeating itself at SAFC. Yesterdays performance lacked passion, enthusiasm or any kind of hunger for the game from the whole side. Is this where it is going wrong, that there is no emotional link up between Manager and Players, Players and Club? The phrase ‘lost the dressing room’ springs to mind and this able supported by the body language of both the Manager and the Team.

    iIs time for the elusive something to change, be it luck, hope or more probably just the manager.

  5. ” Do players make their own bad, as well as good, luck?

    Yes undoubtedly.Id say it it also cascades into the entire team over 90 mins.A negative attitude or lack of confidence can make a player hesitate,maybe just even for a milli-second, to win a ball or make a tackle.Collectively all these tiny events cost the team.When looked at in real time it just looks like bad luck,but it isn’t anything to do with luck.,Which is why teams at the bottom never seem to get any and those at the top always seem to get the rub of the green

  6. When O’Neill arrived not much more than a year or so ago, with him he brought the greatest hope that supporters of more than one generation had dared to feel

    When there is an increased sense of hope, which was unprecedented for so many of us, it is gut wrenching and tortuous when the disparity between expectation and reality has been stretched beyond repair. O’Neill was the manager that other clubs would bring in. Adam Johnson was the sort of player that other clubs would sign, but not us. Now that they are on our wage bill, they look precisely like every other manager and player that we have signed since God knows when. O’Neill is the Lawrie McMenemy of the new millennium.

    His reputation has kept him afloat while his results would have sunken virtually any other manager in the dug out. Bruce wasted a lot of money on a lot of players. O’Neill has wasted vast amounts of it on very few. He will need to wring out every last drop of reputation to save his own skin and our grip on the Premiership, but sitting on the bench he could be an alcoholic draining the last drops from his last can of Strongbow. It isn’t a beguiling experience either for him or the fans who are watching.

    George Caulkin’s excellent piece earlier this week about there being something missing at Sunderland was scaringly accurate. Nobody knows what that missing something is, so nobody knows quite where to look to find it. Maybe it’s just the Emperor’s new clothes, after all.

Comments are closed.

Next Post