Monsieur Salut says: when the new regime took hold, one of its early observations was that the SAFC matchday programme was, frankly, an embarrassment.
That may well have had something to do with the decision, taken as our not-much-missed but highly remunerated then CEO, Martin Bain, penny-pinched his way through the operation, to sideline Rob Mason, whose editorship of the programme had been a rare success story in the recent history of SAFC.
Rob remains club historian and has nothing to do with the perceived decline in the programme’s standards. That needs to be pointed out and I pass no comment on the way his award-winning publication went on to be handled when contracted out.
But now, there is a serious change of approach to report. Many readers will have seen the minor stir on social media about the revamped Red and White, with a strong emphasis on fan input. Salut! Sunderland was involved in the first example of this new approach as anyone buying a programme before the opening game against Charlton Athletic will see, but plaudits are due to the content editor Oscar Chamblerlain …
As I was saying a few days ago at Twitter, where a lot of supporters were reacting to news of the relaunched version, buying a programme has been part of my matchday experience since boyhood.
But as we all know, fewer and fewer people buy printed publications. That’s bad news for old-fashioned print journalists (no names) but is a fact of life.
At Sunderland AFC, serious efforts have been made to transform the programme, make it something even younger fans, to whom print is a mystery, want to hold, look at and – maybe – read.
For the fans, by the fans. That’s how the new-look programme is being presented a new generation of fans.
And meanwhile, Salut! Sunderland‘s build-up to the opening game of the season has been, if I am allowed to say so, simply wonderful. I shall list what some may have missed below*.
There’s a lot of excitement about the start of the season. Lots more, you could say, than the club deserves based on most of the past 10 years – I could get very controversial here and mention not only the exhilarating escapes from relegation (PDC, Poyet, DVA and Big Sam) but also Steve Bruce’s 10th top finish – but about right considering what has happened since the ownership change .
See these items:
* The SAFC vs Sunderland Guess the Score: http://www.salutnorth.com/2008/02/programmed-to-f.html
* The Charlton Athletic ‘Who are You?’
And also, the the joint failure of Monsieur Salut and Pete Sixsmith to turnn football programmes into useful pocket money: http://www.salutnorth.com/2008/02/programmed-to-f.html