Sunderland vs Charlton Athletic at Wembley: let’s get it right this time

Jake: ‘make the Mackem army happy, Lads’

Charlton finished the League One season in style
and ended up two places ahead of us, writes Monsieur Salut. Until that poor return of four points from three successive home games, I was confident we would go up in an automatic top two place.

It wasn’t to be. We did not end the season in style and and now we start the playoff final at Wembley, after gritty semi-final displays against Portsmouth saw us through, technically as underdogs.

Before I invite readers to predict the outcome of Sunday’s Wembley encounter, I shall reflect on the 1998 version of this momentous tie in May 1998. That was for the greater prize of Premier League and we had, of course, finished above Charlton only to fail to overcome them in the playoff final.

For some of us, Sunday’s second visit of the season to Wembley is not just a question of seeing us reverse that outcome (and indeed the outcome of the Checkatrade final). It is a matter of craving a Sunderland victory of any kind at Wembley. No one under the age of 46, and in practice needing to be older unless they attended as babes in arms, can have been there that last occasion in May 1973. I am comfortably old enough but couldn’t get a ticket.

This will be my sixth attempt to see Sunderland win there (I also missed the Swindon playoff though those of ours supporters who were present will say I missed nothing).

What will happen on Sunday? You tell us. Be first to predict the final score, after 90 minutes or extra time, and you’ll win a Salut! Sunderland mug. If it goes to penalties and you are first with both the AET scoreline and the outcome of a shootout (no need to forecast the actual score in penalties), I will dig deeper.

Charlton fans are welcome to enter. A winner from their ranks would win something more suitable than this …

Something like this – you choose the names. But the design might change if we win on Sunday

Have a go in the very last prize or non-prize version of the series this season.

And Ha’way the Lads, Our Lads.

PS: a reminder of my anecdote from the 1998 playoff final, as published here a few years ago and recalled ion a column I wrote for the SAFC matchday programme this season … let us have your Wembley stories …

In the early evening of Monday May 25 1998, the space occupied by two cars, one in front of the other on the quayside at Dover, was a sad place to be. I had delayed a holiday in France to be at the Charlton playoff final (my wife was already there) and Roy Sandbach was heading to his home in Brussels, where he was then living and working.

We’d never met but there was immediate rapport: he was wearing the gold away top our lot had worn when losing that heartstopping decider on penalties, and my 1937 replica was lying along the back shelf of my car. We swapped tales of woe over taste-free burgers on the crossing to Calais. I told him of my plan to stop somewhere on my way south, get very drunk and sleep it off before proceeding; in the event, I was so angry that I just kept going through the night, replaying over and over in my mind the missed sitters, the folly of Perez’s charge out of goal for their final equaliser and the Mickey Gray penalty.

Roy and I have kept in touch ever since … most recently on Twitter the other day:

24 thoughts on “Sunderland vs Charlton Athletic at Wembley: let’s get it right this time”

  1. The Lads to win 5-2, yeah I know a bit unlikely, but have to get a score in to round off a really good season,whatever the outcome.

  2. I put my 1-0 vote in 2 days ago and also suggested Ian Mole did the team talk.

    I would demand a second referendum but, hey, thanks to all Salut contributors for a magnificent series.

  3. Good morning, best of luck to Sunderland AFC on Sunday from a Leeds United fan!

    I chanced upon this site before the game at Elland Road last April, was impressed with what I read, well written articles, supportive of the team and club without being overly partisan, yet thankfully lacking the vitriol and nastiness you often encounter on some sites.

    Having had a bit of a soft spot for Barnsley this past decade, I have followed your site throughout the season to see what you made of the battle for promotion, have enjoyed the honesty in the match reports. Went to the Barnsley v Suinderland night match, an exciting goalless draw spoiled by the wind, scoreline at the end was a fair one..Probably Barnsley’s best gate of the season, 18250 or thereabouts, 4500 from Sunderland I believe, a great turnout for a midweek night match, and they made themselves heard..A cracking atmosphere, took me back to my boyhood, going to watch Leeds play under the flood lights from proper pylons.

    Have never been to your new ground, bur lived up in the North East from 1982-88, and visited the atmospheric Roker Park three times. The first was January 11th 1986, my 29th birthday, went with a good mate up there, stood in the Fulwell End, keeping my own counsel, and we got a bit of a stuffing 4-2, think a lad called Nick Pickering got a hat-trick for you.

    Second occasion was May 1987, a fairly turgid 1-1 draw, and last visit was Christmas 1990 when we were both back in the First Division. By then I was living back in the broad acres, but again went with an old mate I had worked with up there, he kindly didn’t expose me as a Leeds fan even though we did sneak. a 0-1 win after Sunderland had a man sent off.

    Will just close with a humorous true story. In January 1989, I stayed overnight en route to working a week in Scotland with a couple who lived near The Chesters pub.

    We went out for a bite to eat at a pub (think it was in Hastings Hill) and I thought I recognised the owner who was dashing around as being Bobby Kerr. Lewis whom I was with called him over and said ” Bobby, there’s a blokey here thinks he recognises you, he’s from Leeds” Much mirth and laughter all round, even adjoining tables joined in! I took it in good part being the well balanced Yorkshireman I am, with a chip on each shoulder.

    As for my own men, I knew that the ball was over the wall at Easter, expected us to fail in the play-offs, that’s now 5 straight failures since 1987. Sadly, money has destroyed football, I haven’t been to a great many games since I turned in my season ticket in May 2000. Still, you always carry a piece of your hometown club in your heart, nobody can ever take away from me my boyhood memories of that great side from 1965-75.

    Very best of luck on Sunday, I think it will be a cagey game which you will win by a single goal in 90 mins, – intend to go to local clubski to watch it. Steve.

  4. 1 1 but we win the penalty shoot out 19 18. McLaughlin scores the decider after Morgan and Taylor miss their first efforts before sudden death kicks in. Grigg misses one but so do the Addicks. Everyone else scores twice until Charlton keeper Phillips sees Mighty Mac save his second effort to send us up.

    • Hope you are right, Christine, but you wouldn’t be the first – someone else beat you to that scoreline earlier in case you want to offer another score

  5. The eternal optimist says that there will be no extra time and a sound fower nowt to the lads we’ve had our poor spell so good end to the season and push on to the championship

  6. 4-3 to The Lads finally happens – after extra time AND we win on penalties AND the Pink Floyd inflatable pig flies over Wembley. WOO HOO!!

  7. Not sure how unpopular I’m going to be. I just can’t see a victory of any sort. I will not make any prediction.

  8. 2-1 to Sunderland after 90 minutes.

    No need for the nervousness of extra time or penalties. A win at Wembley!

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