Football writer of the year?

Soapbox

Forget Louise Taylor, Paul Wilson, the lads with the difficult balance to achieve at the Sunderland Echo, and the rest. Good as many of them are, the class act is arguably Pete Sixsmith of Salut! Sunderland.
A bold claim? Of course, and Pete wouldn’t make it for himself. But if you want humour, knowledge, an ability to read the game – and people – plus heaps of originality, then week after week you get it from Pete. Here, from today’s Observer*, is his midterm report (and a predicted 14th place finish); bear in mind, this was written a week or more ago and he has changed his mind about Blackburn since Allardyce was signed up…..

SUNDERLAND 14th

PETE SIXSMITH
SalutSunderland.com

We peaked in October when we beat our Dear Friends From Up The Road at home for the first time since Jim Callaghan was PM, taking us into the comfort zone of page one of Teletext. Then it all fell apart as we were bullied at Stoke, thrashed at Chelsea and humiliated by Bolton, leading to the loss of the most iconic manager in our history. Life’s never dull at Sunderland. 6/10

Where will you finish? Top four (on page two of Teletext).

Star man and biggest underperformer? Steed Malbranque beavers away, Cissé is never dull and Kenwyne is almost back to fitness. Diouf hasn’t endeared himself.

What is Keane’s legacy? We’re in the top flight, Quinny’s sifting through applications from top coaches from all over the world as his replacement, and we’ve signed players like Cissé, Ferdinand and Malbranque. The last time we went up we signed Tommy Miller, Andy Gray and Kelvin Davies. Says it all!

CHAMPIONS Manchester United
GOING DOWN West Brom, Blackburn, Portsmouth

* Note that while this is naturally a partisan site, Pete also rose above tribal babyishness in his predictions. In The Observer’s midterm report from fans of each club, Sunderland were chosen as one of the teams to be relegated by only two contributors: Rob Hobson from http://CFCnet.co.uk, who had good reason to nominate us after our performance at the Bridge, and Newcastle’s “Holmes family”.

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