Everyone except John McCormick has been too busy to write for Salut! Sunderland and no one has even had time to post John’s piece (that will be rectified tomorrow).
For now you will have to make do with – and treat as an excuse for posting comments on anything Sunderland-related under the sun – this extract from Monsieur Salut’s latest offering to ESPN, which can be viewed here in full:
Andre Marriner’s mother is said to have telephoned with a maternal rebuke when he made the harsh decision to show a straight red to Michael Turner, then a Sunderland player, in Mark Hughes’s last game in charge of Manchester City.
We must assume the entire family, indeed every Marriner in the land, has by now called him to ask why on earth he allowed Luis Suarez to get away with a respectable impression of a basketball player as he controlled the ball with his raised hand before kicking it – sheepishly I thought – into the net at Mansfield.
Sunderland corners of Twitterland were awash with choice abuse of Suarez for some time after this refereeing howler effectively ended the home side’s valiant hopes that an exhilaratingly plucky second half would at least take Liverpool back to Anfield for a replay.
… But surrounded by anti-Suarez tweets from Sunderland supporters was a beacon of commonsense, a fan pointing out the self-evident truth that no professional footballer would have owned up in such circumstances. The theme was repeated elsewhere, not least in Gordon Strachan’s comment that if you get away with parking illegally, you do not ring the council to say you owe them £85.
… If the 2-0 lead into which Bolton Wanderers sailed on Saturday presented one stiff obstacle to realisation of the cup dream, overcome by the Connor Wickham poke and Craig Gardner rocket, the draw for Fourth Round brings another.
It is fair to say Everton have become a bogey team for Sunderland. A rare avoidance of defeat at Goodison, in the FA Cup last season, brought hope that the mould could be broken; Everton had other ideas and swept aside the home team at the Stadium of Light in such imperious fashion that Sunderland’s season never really recovered.
… It would be a huge shame if Sunderland completed the job against Bolton only to fail yet again to emerge from a game against Everton without a win.
Avoiding defeat at Bolton was reward for the players’ resilience. It was an even more deserved outcome for the 5,000 travelling supporters. Sadly, that impressive figure meant only 7,204 Bolton fans bothered to attend a supposedly attractive game against Premier League opponents. Now, the town of Bolton has suffered no more grievously from economic woes than Sunderland and its County Durham catchment area.
I do not suppose for a second that the replay will produce a bumper gate. It will still be a lot higher than 12,204 and no more than a few hundred of them, at most, are likely to be Wanderers supporters. Is it reasonable to say that with such a feeble home turn-out, Bolton does not deserve a cup run, let alone renewed top-flight status. If the replay goes to script, Sunderland can then get on with worrying about Everton – and praying not to meet Suarez, hands or feet, in subsequent rounds.