Welcome to Salut! Sunderland en fête, on the day – or, at worst, the day before – it finally clocks up its two millionth visit. Cast your eyes to the right where you find the heading “The Salut! Sunderland Readership Count” and you will see the little figure beneath it. Fewer than 900 further visits to the site today and we’re there. If you happen to spot that you are the reader making that milestone visit, try to photograph or screengrab the vital statistic and send it to Monsieur Salut at email@example.com. If I receive one such e-mail, and it appears genuine, a commemorative mug will be on its way (soon). If I receive two or more, I’ll know it can be fixed and all entries, sadly, may have to be disqualified unless I find a way of verifying the true winner. And don’t forget the Two Million Hits competition; closing date is June 30 (https://safc.blog/2013/06/salut-sunderlands-two-million-hit-party-even-newcastle-are-invited/)
Now read what the Daily Mirror, Sky, BBC and LBC journalist Kevin Maguire* has to say about a site devoted to his lifelong footballing passion …
It’s the hope we can’t stand as Sunderland supporter and it is a hope never extinguished, although I admit losing 3-2 at Aldershot in the old Division Three during 1988 was a personal low point. I felt little hope motoring up the M3 in a Mini Metro after the defeat.
In football a club is part of your life. Part of your identify, a constant presence playing with emotions. Win and you’re happy; delirious when it’s the Mags or the traditional 1-0 at home against Manchester City. Lose and you’re, well, gutted. Which is why I am the Number One fan of Sixer, Peter Sixsmith.
Sixer captures regularly how I feel and expresses it wonderfully, intelligent writing one of the reasons why Salut! Sunderland is a Premiership football site.
Wry humour, self-deprecation, spot-on insights and a generous appreciation of opposing players and teams is far more engaging than wearing red and white blinkers to insist blindly that Sunderland is the greatest team in the world when the truth is most of us would settle for winning the FA Cup again. Sixer feels my pain and I share his passion for football, sport generally and the North East of England.
My other favourite corner on Salut! Sunderland is the “Who are you?” slot with a fan from whoever we’re playing.
Ground segregation has reduced the banter on match days unless you come across a decent group in a pub but the chosen rival supporters are always good value for money.
To see how they see us can be an eye-opener or add to a frustration. The Spurs supporter before last December’s match(we lost 2-1 at the Stadium of Light) picked out Connor Wickham as a player of enormous potential. He is and I fear it is unfulfilled potential.
The hidden gem on Salut! Sunderland is the SAFC stats link down at the bottom of the site. I like to put on my anorak and check results and players. I saw most of Bob Lee’s 33 goals in the 1970s, a forward I liked watching while mates called him a carthorse.
Study the tables and next season, our seventh successive in the Premiership, is Sunderland’s longest spell in the top division since the club’s first relegation in 1958.
We’ve never had it so good and are living in a golden period? Not until Sixer pronounces it so, and I suspect that is one column I’m unlikely to read in the near future.
The rise of Salut! Sunderland, created by Sunderland fans for Sunderland fans, has established the site as part of supporting our team.
We chat and argue between ourselves and followers of rival clubs. We read newspaper sports pages, listen to football on the radio and watch games on TV. And we get news, information and opinions on this and other good sites.
The British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee may not have had Salut! Sunderland in mind when he invented the internet but I bet he’d be heartened.
So happy two-millionth milestone, Salut! Sunderland. Onwards and upwards!
* Long before Kevin Maguire took to the airwaves, that resonant South Shields accent booming from our radios and TV sets on all matters political, long before he was associate editor of the Daily Mirror, he was the sort of journalist The Daily Telegraph employed as if to show you didn’t have to be Simon Heffer or Boris Johnson thinkalikes to work there.
Kevin let on he was also a fanatical Sunderland supporter and he and Monsieur Salut, also working there, became firm friends, attending London matches together or meeting up to watch televised games.
As a lad, Kevin had been a Fulwell Ender. The story of his first visit to the Roker End, but only to see what the Fulwell looked like from there, cropped up in Salut’s ‘Famous on the Fulwell’ article for A Love Supreme many years ago. I originally remembered this anecdote the wrong way round (and added £100 to the next one) …
When SAFC reached the 1992 FA Cup Final, he set himself on principle against paying over the odds for a ticket. That was when they could be had for £90. By the eve of the match, he was desperate enough to hand over £325 (which a kindly senior colleague covered by commissioning some in-house freelance work). He has yet to see Sunderland win at Wembley. Thanks Kevin for helping to mark our little achievement.
** COMPETITION TIME:
Enter the great Salut! Sunderland Two Million hits competition. Read about the prizes – £200 towards a holiday from Sunderland-based Hays Travel and great clobber from Philosophy Football at https://safc.blog/2013/06/attention-safc-newcastle-middlesbrough-even-scarborough-supporters-2m-hits-competition-prize-announced/ BUT POST YOUR ENTRY IN THE COMMENTS SECTION ONLY AT https://safc.blog/2013/06/salut-sunderlands-two-million-hit-party-even-newcastle-are-invited/