Stéphane Sessegnon had not long joined Sunderland from Paris Saint-Germain when Monsieur Salut first sent him greetings from the home of his club before PSG, Le Mans.
I am back in my city-in-law and the surrounding countryside of la Sarthe for Christmas. Sess will be pleased to hear the town is bustling with a Christmas market complete with big wheel dominating the Place de la République, work underway on extending the tram network and new theatre and soft lighting illuminating the superb cathedral to make it even more striking at night than it already is by day.
Perhaps we should overlook football. Sess probably thinks he left Le Mans in perfectly good order; they’re now in some trouble near the foot of the second tier.
I’d love to think people here were rooting for him as he prepares to face Man City after the welcome win at Southampton. Unfortunately, everyday French interest in the Premier tends to end after the top four even if I did once have an inexplicably Stoke-supporting fan on the phone from the Orange customer service centre.
But my granddaughter, all of four years old, is one quarter French and she seems to be thinking of Sunderland whenever we’re in the car (she demands to hear the SuperKev song and Ready to Go, from the Mackem Music CD and sings along heartily).
Sess may for all we know look out still for Le Mans results – he says he enjoyed his stay here – but will know more about the present state of play at PSG. The logic of money threatens to prevail but they still cannot pull clear at the top of Ligue 1. They’re top but only on goal difference, on the same number of points as Steed’s Lyon and the new British ambassador Joey Barton’s Marseille.
His mind should, of course, be focused on beating City tomorrow. The wins against Reading and Southampton were priceless but the real morale-booster would be three points against high flyers. We did it against City last season, and nearly did it again at their place; it is undoubtedly a tall order but the message from those of us in Le Mans who care is clear: allez Sess et les Mecs.
Once again, Salut! Sunderland wishes all readers and contributors a very happy Christmas. The same applies to Martin O’Neill, Ellis Short and every one of the players and SAFC workforce. We may seem grumpy at times but that doesn’t affect our love for the club and respect for those associated with it.
If you cannot face the Christmas TV fare, go to the Salut! Sunderland home page by clicking anywhere on this paragraph and see just how hard those contributors have been toiling to keep you amused, informed and thinking.
The offerings include an excellent Manchester City “Who are You?”: https://safc.blog/2012/12/the-manchester-city-who-are-you/
A bientot …