The weekend brought many extra readers to Salut! Sunderland, thanks to a rare win and Rob Hutchison’s fine piece on past transfer calamities. This led us closer still to that magical milestone of three million hits since the site was created in the new year of 2007.
To mark this achievement, Salut! Sunderland – or rather our friends at Classic Football Shirts – can offer a prize worth £50 in our 3M Competition. Back in November we invited thoughts on why readership levels had been, shall we say, sluggish since the last milestone – two million was reached rather more quickly – and the response was excellent. Monsieur Salut will choose a winner from those comments and any further received by the end of this week, say midnight on Friday UK time, and he or she will have the £50 to spend on or towards Classic Football Shirts products …
If you look at the column to the right when you visit Salut! Sunderland, you may have had an idea this was coming.
That little mention of the number of the visits the site has received is on the point of passing a thoroughly gratifying milestone. As I finish writing this, it stands at 2,996,238. It will rise higher this morning. Some time soon, maybe as early as this week, the three millionth hit will be recorded.
Monsieur Salut does not doubt that the traffic experienced by porn sites, the Daily Mail and Guardian‘s online presences and cat-lovers’ forums would make our figures look negligible. But for a tinpot fan site that began life eight years ago as a bit of a hobby, an offshoot of my dabblings at Salut! in all matters Anglo-French, it hasn’t done badly. I am, very often, proud of it.
There are reasons aplenty. It is still more hobby than anything, barely making enough money in advertising to cover outgoings. But what a rewarding pursuit it has been in so many other ways.
In fact, it was never a one-man operation. My great pal Pete Sixsmith was in on it from the outset and you all know or should know how valuable his contributions have been. I put his writing on a par with the best Britain’s top sportswriters can offer. They get paid a lot for their trouble; Sixer gets occasional beer money and there’s been little of that for a while.
In those early days, there was terrific input behind the scenes from Joan Dawson, back in the North East after a long spell down south during which she served brilliantly as editorial coordinator of 5573, later renamed Wear Down South, the newsletter of the London and SE branch of the SAFC Supporters’ Association. Another friend, Craig McGinty, a Man City fan who studied in Sunderland, came up with the original design and essential technical help. Sam, a Hammer, conjured up the nifty design you see today (though he as so far been unable to get rid of that ugly error message at the top of the page).
Along the way, Joan stood aside because of work commitments and her brother Malcolm jumped on board as deputy editor. John McCormick was another great addition to the team, with his tireless work on editing, moderating and those fascinating “dodgy number” statistical pieces only he could concoct.
Then look at the contributors: Jake the illustrator. Ken Gambles, Jeremy Robson, “Wrinkly” Peter Lynn, Rob Hutchison, John Penman, Bob Chapman, Keir Bradwell, Nic Wiseman, Lars Knutsen, Paul “Sobs” Dobson and many more I will regret having missed out. It is a labour of love but one shared by many hands.
I wish the figures were higher. I wish we could find more advertisers and sponsors. But our collective passion for Sunderland AFC means that these are secondary issues. Salut! Sunderland is happy to offer a voice that is, by turns, reasoned and incisive, witty and whimsical. Long may that continue.
Thank you all who come to this site or help it in any way.