Let’s hear it for the lad/s and lass/es of the Sunderland corporate publicity machine.
Those are not words that trip lightly off the Salut! Sunderland laptop. We’ve had our ups and downs and it’s fair to say the ups must have faded from memory.
But credit where it’s due. This sentence, from the Shields Gazette, quoting the SAFC press office after it was asked about Ellis Short, the club owner, wearing an FTM badge when meeting the President of Tanzania, sent my estimation of Louise Wanless and her team rocketing:
Sunderland AFC declined to comment.
Why on earth should anyone have expected them to be willing to dignify, with any kind of comment, such a minor media storm over such an unimportant matter?
Just imagine the PR team toiling over an appropriate response: “Hey Louise, does this work? ‘Mr Short sincerely believed the letters stood for Follow the Mackems, was mortified to learn there was a blunter and perhaps more commonly understood alternative and unreservedly apologises to anyone of a delicate disposition who may have taken offence’.”
Someone needs to get a life. You can bet the Tanzanian leader, Dr Jakaya Kikwete, survived his visit to the Stadium of Light with his sensibilities intact despite the incidental manifestation of tribal rivalry. He’ll have been more keen to hear details of how SAFC proposes to help with the development of an academy to be built in his country.
Short is said to have obtained the pin badges from A Love Supreme‘s shop close to the ground. An ALS employee, Chris Thompson, is quoted as saying he refused payment when the boss took out his wallet: “I wasn’t prepared to accept the money. ‘You’ve just spent over £20m on Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson,’ I told him. I think we could spare him a few badges.”
Martyn McFadden, the ALS editor, pointed out that the acronym was meant in a jovial way. He realises, as I do, how seriously certain folk take the Wear-Tyne banter but also knows that censoring fairly harmless examples of it would be at best meaningless, at worst counter-productive.
Even Steve Wraith, editor of a NUFC fanzine, No 9, seemed unwilling to be drawn into manufactured controversy. “I think it would be wrong for Newcastle fans to criticise Sunderland over it,” he told the Gazette. “We’ve got a clown in charge who’s done much worse things than that … I think it needs to be taken tongue-in-cheek. There’s enough bad spirit between the teams drummed up while the football season is in full flow.”
Two cheers for that and before I forget – without banging on again about football clubs’ disrespectful treatment of fanzines and fan sites – let me mention that the other thing I very much liked about all this was the fact that Short had walked into the ALS shop with the intention of saying hello and buying something. That earns him and the club my third cheer, and it’s a loud one he’ll hear from the sunny south of France.
Enter the great Salut! Sunderland Two Million hits competition. Read about the first prize – £200 towards a holiday from Sunderland-based Hays Travel at https://safc.blog/2013/06/attention-safc-newcastle-middlesbrough-even-scarborough-supporters-2m-hits-competition-prize-announced/ BUT POST YOUR ENTRY IN THE COMMENTS SECTION ONLY AT https://safc.blog/2013/06/salut-sunderlands-two-million-hit-party-even-newcastle-are-invited/
See all Salut! Sunderland’s articles recalling May 5 1973 and the run that took SAFC to FA Cup glory: https://safc.blog/category/fa-cup/may-5-1973/