We kept looking, and have now found fans from Holland and Spain to preview their countries’ appearance in the South Africa 2010 World Cup final. Always look on the bright side, we say: helps to fill a hole we might otherwise have devoted to plugging the new Sunderland replica kits if the only way of doing so hadn’t been with the sportswear equivalent of a wine “blind tasting” …
Well, Salut! Sunderland has signed up a Dutch fan and a Spanish supporter to answer our questions ahead of Sunday’s World Cup final. So thanks to our own Luke Harvey for putting us in touch with Edgar _ Eddie G – Meyer, a devoted follower of both Feyenoord and the Netherlands, and to the Spanish diplomatic service for nobly ensuring balance is preserved.
The first piece will run tomorrow, the second on Saturday morning.
It would have been nice to write about the brand new home and away strips of Sunderland AFC, given this site’s fairly obvious allegiance and its desire for the club to succeed on all levels.
As it happens, I quite like both kits and would have happily directed Salut! Sunderland readers to the SAFC official club shop to place orders for them. I would have added that I had no wish to see the away top, appealing as it is, in any match except where a clash of colours made it impossible for our players to wear the red and white stripes of Sunderland AFC, but that is another issue.
And I reckoned without the slightly perverse love-hate relationship that exists between football clubs and independent supporters’ groups, fanzines and the like.
It’s not just Sunderland – a club that actually gets a lot of things dead right, and relatively few things hopelessly wrong, in its relations with supporters – but part of the poison afflicting the game’s higher reaches. Corporate football, I am sorry to say, sometimes shows a face only a mother could love (and that mother is not mummy, but money).
In any event, YES I could run an article, even have one supplied by the club, and link merrily to the club shop. But in text only. NO, emphatically, I could not publish a single picture of either the home or away strip, even as part of the process of directing traffic, and therefore potential customers, to the official website.
Sunderland AFC, I suspect, fully sees the absurdity that I pointed out to it. On the one hand, they are inviting a site like this to report on something that, as any moderately bright child would confirm, needs to be seen to give the article the remotest point; on the other, they say it must on no account be accompanied by the only illustration that would be relevant. In mitigation, the club explains that there are good reasons for imposing a blanket ban, draconian (their word; mine would be deplorable) as it seems.
So no link from here to there (just one to Philosophy Football, one of whose T-shirts is shown).
People will buy the tops anyway, and they’ll be seen and photographed in circumstances that will be reproduced in countless places, whatever club solicitors and the Football Data Company think about it. And the fans who value a supportive but independent voice – usually AS WELL as appreciating official news from the Stadium of Light – will go on giving their loyal support, with any luck to both.
For those with short memories, I have written about similar issues in the past, most recently when Salut! Sunderland was forced to drop the small image of the SAFC badge from the spot where you now see, in the banner, a proud blank space.
I described relations between club and site in this way:
The history of Salut! Sunderland’s relations with SAFC contains no trace of animosity of which I am aware. There is certainly no cosiness; we expect no favours. Ellis Short is not about to invite us into the boardroom for tea, and he is not in the running for our editorship.
It doesn’t tell the full story, but fairly sums up how I see things.
To see the full article, go to the following link: