Welcome to Salut! Sunderland, a new blog giving news and views about Sunderland AFC from a supporter living far from the Stadium of Light in the south of France.
The site is an offshoot of Salut!, a personal blog I created after being made redundant – amid just a little controversy – as The Daily Telegraph’s Paris correspondent.
Since its launch last October, Salut! has attracted more than 26,000 visits. It concerns itself mainly with things French and Anglo-French, though it has been known to stray into unrelated territory, not least football territory.
With Salut! Sunderland, I am not trying to set myself up as a rival to the Sunderland Echo, Ready To Go, A Love Supreme or any other print or electronic part of the media as a whole.
I may be a season ticket holder, and I may even have a press card, but I am too far from the North East of my childhood to pretend to be a SAFC news service or commentary box.
But I will offer assorted features, recollections and bits and bobs that I hope will be of interest to fellow supporters and perhaps of passing interest to anyone fond of football.
Who knows who might turn up here? Even Lilian Laslandes and Eric Roy, two of our French former players, could take a look inside from time to time……(Monsieur Roy, introduced as l’ancien chat noir (ex-Black Cat) was the studio summariser when French TV screened Boro v Sunderland, our first of precious few victories during the last relegation season).
Please be patient. Development of the site may be slow – even after a year and a bit, what I know about blogging still fits, with space to spare, on the back of an old bus ticket.
There will be trial and error, with the emphasis on error. The scope and nature of coverage will be dictated by my need to earn a living.
After 29 years on the DT, the last two-and-a-half of them in Paris, I have moved to the south – roughly halfway between those well known footballing hotbeds of St Tropez and Toulon – and plan, for now, to work from here as a freelance journalist.
More about me, but especially about Salut! Sunderland, later. Feel free to post thoughts, suggestions, criticisms to which I will reply if response is needed.
And I conclude with the modest hope that Salut! Sunderland grows in tandem with the gradual progress being made by the new-look squad assembled under Niall Quinn and Roy Keane.
* The picture represents Salut! Sunderland’s first piece of innocent mischief. It was taken by Stephen Davies because his best friend is Tommy Miller. And Tommy Miller was then in our squad. But Stephen doesn’t support SAFC; he favours an unmentionable team elsewhere in the North East and probably claims to have forgotten the Gary Rowell hat trick, 2-1 in the teeming rain and 2-1 when another Tommy saved Shearer’s penalty.