Do they mean us? The world reacts to Sunderland’s Great Escape …

Jake slept soundly
Jake slept soundly

Salut! Sunderland was going to run a series called Wembley and Bust. That was then. This is now. It will instead be Wembley and Safe, reviews of one of the most extraordinary if also nerve-wracking seasons in the history of Sunderland AFC.

It will not all make for easy, feelgood reading. There is a plenty of anger out there still, and this is reflected in contributions already received. It does not seem quite the right time to start running negative reviews, but there will be no censorship; people are entitled to be cross about what happened between August, cup runs and derby wins notwithstanding, and April.

Catch Salut! Sunderland on tour at ESPN: The exhilaration of survival as Sunderland breeze past WBA

For now, though, let us wallow in the muddy glory of survival. I have dug out a few quotes. Add your own and I will copy and paste them into the following item.

* Father Marc Lyden-Smith
, priest at St. Mary’s Catholic Cathedral in Newcastle, chaplain to Sunderland AFC was the man who had the wonderful idea of popping over to the Vatican and asking Pope Francis to arrange divine intervention when things looked desperate.

Now Fr Marc tweets

“What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad”. – Psalm 125

* Gus Poyet, quoted in the Daily Mail::

I believe in miracles now. I am absolutely delighted and so proud. I was brought in here to do one job, and that was keep us in the Barclays Premier League. We have done that in a certain style, and it will be remembered for ever. It is historic. People will talk about the season Sunderland did it after being seven points adrift with six games left.

* Gary Smith, Newcastle-supporting journalist, writing at on being happy we stayed up:

‘Before I’m castrated and hung out to dry, let me also state that while I want to see Sunderland stay in the Premier league, I would hate to lose the Tyne/wear derby.

I am a massive Newcastle fan and love the club, city and the people. However, If the derby was taken away from us it would leave a big void in the North East.’

* website
in France:

Sunderland sauvé

* French betting accumulator: win €302 on PSG, Monaco and Sunderland all winning on Wednesday. M Salut is delighted to report that moneybags PSG lost, 2-1 at home to the newly beaten French cup finalists Rennes, while the cup-winners – little Guingamp – drew at moneybags Monaco to keep their own survival hopes alive.

* L’Equipe (after his runs of five goals in three games):
Connor Wickham = Monsieur Miracle

* Kevin Maguire,
Daily Mirror associate editor, SAFC nut, very occasional Salut! Sunderland contributor:

Sunderland up to 14th, could finish 12th. Will look a good season in the history books with Wembley too

* Paul Roberts, SAFC fan, posting to the Blackcats e-mail loop on April 23:

A dreadful season. One embarrassing defeat after another, against the likes of West Ham, Stoke, Swansea and West Brom. Hopeless in front of goal, with a particularly poor goals-for record, and the big-money striker signing, so prolific in other leagues, failing dismally with a paltry two goals. The home record dreadful.

There had been the odd good moment, including surprise wins over the likes of Everton and Man City, but mainly it was all doom and gloom and with Easter approaching the Lads were looking dead and buried, cast adrift at the bottom.

In desperation, the manager, in his first season at the club but rapidly running out of ideas, turned to youth in the form of CW. He had scored regularly at lower levels, but in his limited first-team opportunities hadn’t really looked like achieving much.

It proved to be an inspired move. CW burst onto the scene, full of confidence, and scored the goals which effectively kept us up in a miraculous escape after everyone had written us off.

Sound familiar? Well done to those of you who recognise the references; the season: 1981-82. The manager: Alan Durban. The failing big-money striker: Ally McCoist. The young gun: Colin West.

Courtesy of Karen Turner's Facebook page
Courtesy of Karen Turner’s Facebook page

3 thoughts on “Do they mean us? The world reacts to Sunderland’s Great Escape …”

  1. To be honest, in my heart Gus Poyet turned to Connor Wickham as a preparation for the Championship.
    Even so, the why’s or whetever’s of that decision lay with Gus. But, for sure Connor Wickham turned the season.
    I have always liked Lee Cattermole, and despite his Red Card issues in the past, he has turned in a decent season this time around (despite being ostracised by DiCanio and having to fight his way back from injury). Lee is a North East lad, mainly my reason for supporting him, but also he always puts in a decent shift against Man City “Yey”.
    I think Jack Colback is a Newcastle fan, and would jump at the chance of joining them (hoping he will stay!). We should also keep Adam Johnson, as if we have 3 native North East lads, we have a good basis of a team. They will be able to gel the others into what is expected up here.
    Just my humble thoughts.
    3 weeks ago, I was dejected , now I am planning a few away trips in my local area (currently the Midlands, Derby County won tonight 🙂 )

  2. Let’s have a party on Sunday and leave the recriminations and analysis until afterwards.
    Huge chunks of the season have been shambolic but Gus has been firefighting since he walked in the door after the madness of Di Canio and last summer’s shambolically organised transfer dealings courtesy of the unknown Di Fanti, who with the majority of players he signed, has faded [expensively] away into obscurity.
    Ellis Short needs to inform us all of his ambitions for the club, apologise for the wrongs of last summer, and move us forward to become the decent, competitive, proud outfit that we always should be.
    Anyway beers and frolicks on Sunday as a month ago we were seemingly dead and buried. Cheers all!

    • Totally agree Tom. This weekend is a “We are staying up party”. With a little, if we win against Swansea, we get 5 wins in a row, and I await the last time we did that from the pundits.
      There is no pressure. My only worry, is Gus Poyet got our relatively modest team playing football, and is free to walk away with reports that Spurs want him. I hate Spurs with a passion, as they are (in my eyes) the biggest crooks in the game. Buy low, sell high, steal here there and everywhere possible. We need to hold on to Gus.

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