We want England to beat Germany – but this is more interesting

Salut! Sunderland
is indebted to the fruitful grapevine that is the Blackcats e-mail loop for an alert to this fascinating documentary charting a century in the life of Sunderland, the town and later city and its people.

It is an ideal way to spend an hour or so – or alternatively to dip in and watch extracts – during the break from football.

Yes, I know there are matches on tonight and it would be great to see England beat Germany, whatever people want to happen in France vs Ukraine (les Bleus must overturn a 2-0 playoff deficit to reach Brazil 2014 and I hope, without pretending any huge enthusiasm, they manage it). I certainly want Seb Larsson to help Sweden make it in another of the second legs, against Portugal. But real football, as we know it, is off until the weekend.

Bravo Emanuele Giaccherini, all the same, for equalising – “smashing home” the ball as the Mail put it – in Italy’s 2-2 draw with Nigeria in last night’s friendlies …Newc***le’s Shola Ameobi made one and scored one for Nigeria

... is the revolutionary cry of our Jake
… is the revolutionary cry of our Jake

Football is covered in the film posted at YouTube by Ron Booth, but it is naturally much more than a look at Sunderland AFC through the 1900s. As the title – Sunderland: 20th Century Remembered – suggests, it is more a social history with digestible commentary but, best of all, great stills and footage.

The film, by Video by Design, was apparently shot at the end of the 1990s as a new century loomed although it seems to have been posted in recent days and has been viewed at YouTube, as I write, by only 100 or so people.

The narrator – I could see no mention in the credits though the writers and researchers were Alton and Rosalind Pickersgill – talks, plummily, of sharing through the reflections of ordinary Sunderland people the “tragedy, war and peace, hardship and good times” of the 19th century, with all its changes in social, educational, housing and industrial aspects of life.

A grey-haired Richie Pitt is shown talking about the passion and glory of the 1973 FA Cup win for SAFC, telling the camera the level and commitment of supporters entitles them to top three football (just now, we’d settle for the Not Bottom Three variety).

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Ron Booth, who may well be the same chap who pops up on Google searches as IT tutor at the Northeast Disabilities Research Centre, has also posted a shorter filmed history of Sunderland …

Strictly football chat resumes tomorrow with the Stoke City vs Sunderland AFC “Who are You?”.

But on a final historical note, if you are called Morris and come from or live in or around Sunderland, there is at least a chance you’re related, however distantly, to Monsieur Salut, especially if you can trace a link to the Peter Morris who ran the Ryhope Co-op in the early part of the 20th century. Or so says my sister, Sandra, who is the family’s own genealogist.

Monsieur Salut in Paris days, as seen by Matt
Monsieur Salut in Paris days, as seen by Matt

3 thoughts on “We want England to beat Germany – but this is more interesting”

  1. Yes Colin, I’m the Ron Booth you mention in your well written article, much better than I could have done. Thanks for posting a link on your site, hopefully it will help more people to access this rare footage of our town.

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