Presenting Sixer’s Sevens

Just to show Salut! Sunderland can also be brief: Sixer’s Sevens will be one-line match verdicts from my great friend and Sunderland supporter par excellence Pete Sixsmith.

Each will stretch to seven words or fewer. My technical adviser – a Man City fan who studied in Sunderland – will improve the presentation once he gets a chance to look under the bonnet, as he likes to describe it. We’ll even get round to finding a better mugshot of Pete.

One of his better if more depressing summaries from recent history condensed Sunderland vs Everton last season to this: "0-1. Cahill. 92 mins."

I quoted it in a piece I wrote for The Daily Telegraph sports pages when we later played Chelsea.

His first for Salut! Sunderland: SAFC 1 Ipswich 0, Jan 13 2007: Spoiled by wind. New boys all impressed.

Look out for the new posting.

Stars and (red and white) stripes

Photographs: Lucas* .

Let me introduce a feature of Salut! Sunderland that should come under the heading of recent history.

A few years ago, Joan Dawson – also known as the Angel of the North, but that’s another story – asked if I would write for the newsletter of the London branch of the SAFC Supporters’ Association.

The publication is, or was then, called 5573 – as in May 5, 1973, if that isn’t rubbing it in for Jules (see comment number four to my welcome post). I vaguely offered to dig out some celebrity supporters, hoping that Joan would regard this as such a cliched idea that she’d go away.

Not so. And for the next two years or so, I scoured the world in search of people who supported Sunderland and were famous or rich or notorious.

Joan was an inspired and encouraging commissioning editor and it turned out to be good fun, taking 5573 readers to Coronation Street, international athletics, pop and folk music, children’s literature, the BBC News, the House of Lords and many places besides.

There was one criminal and one agony aunt, and there were stars who for one reason or another eluded us.

My plan is to reproduce some or all of the resulting articles here.

They will become better organised, but the next posting will be a taster.

For now, I have made no attempt to update, though obviously ages and other details have changed, beyond – for the first of the series at least – adding a recent photograph.

But that may develop, too, each article eventually including a catch-up on the individual concerned.

Oh, and 5573 cleverly became Wear Down South.

*The photographs are among several SAFC-related pictures posted to Flickr by Lucas from Portland, Oregon who, unkindly on himself, chooses the nom de plume (nom d’image?) of totalnerd.

Ha’way the Lads…from France

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.

Photograph: Stephen Davies*

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.