There is something very special to Monsieur Salut about the first of the three games in the headline. It will be his debut for the season so far at a Sunderland game.
The long journey back to the UK, from the jellyfish we saw a lot of this summer on Mediterranean shores to the false widow spiders French TV news tells me are currently infesting Britain, begins on Wednesday. There’s a stop-off in Troyes, where Eric Roy briefly plied his trade after leaving SAFC and where – despite Mick Goulding’s abhorrence – the local delicacy, andouillettes, will be eaten. Home will be reached late on Thursday, South Wales by kickoff on Saturday.
By then England will have played Poland at Wembley, a win – if it happens – having secured passage to Brazil 2014, while Wales will have had only pride at stake in their match away to Belgium, already qualified.
And come Saturday evening, we’ll know whether a new face in the away end – this season – was enough to make the slightest difference to Sunderland’s wretched Premier League start. Tough but winnable is how optimists like to see it. Two-one to Swansea, says our Welsh “Who are You?” interviewee, Peter Thomas, whose Q+A will appear here by Wednesday afternoon.
The move provides an ideal opportunity to go early again with Guess the Score. And the internationals add a little spice.
Accordingly, M Salut will dig much deeper than usual and offer a £50 prize to anyone who correctly predicts all three results, ie the scorelines at the end of play in each game. It’s a tall order – and common sense tells me I could have made it £1,000 and still felt fairly safe – but have a go all the same. If someone does win – by being the first to post the three scores here before the England game kicks off – the prize will be found from the fees paid to Salut! Sunderland for a couple of sponsored postings published in recent months.
But the competition does not end with the outcome of England’s game. A Salut! Sunderland mug will still be won by the first entrant to post the correct Swans-SAFC result between now and kickoff at the Liberty Stadium.
A Swansea-supporting winner would receive the same mug but with suitably amended design. Don’t worry if your entry is held for moderation, which happens when someone posts for the first time or uses a new or different terminal; the chronological order of entries will be clear from a look beneath Salut!’s bonnet.
Ha’way the Lads. The performance they’ve been saving themselves for surely looms. Bring those pills, doctor.
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