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.

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7 thoughts on “Ha’way the Lads…from France”

  1. I once saw Hayes beat Enfield at home in the Athenian league. Or was it Perivale ?
    And predicted that England winning the 1966 World Cup was so much media hype.

  2. Good luck with this blog, Colin. Nothing less than the white heat of technology, either – Typepad, I see – so let’s see if the Black Cats can live up such unheard of creative wizardry this season.
    Meanwhile, I shall add “Ha’way” to my list of alternative translations of ‘Salut’.
    And I certainly won’t remind you of West Ham’s victory over Sunderland on the famous evening in my youth when Geoff Hurst scored six.
    Otherwise, of course, you would be more than entitled to mention Reading. Even if they didn’t quite make it 8-0. Not this time, at least.
    Vive les chats noirs !

  3. If anyone spotted the brief appearance of a new post and wonders where it went, it has returned to the dressing rooms for a much-needed wash-and-brush-up………slowly does it.

  4. Colin,
    Welcome and good luck to the new-born Salut! Sunderland.
    Look out for my soon-to-be-unveiled blog, Au Revoir! Leeds.

  5. Have to confess that I don’t know much about Sunderland FC. I can recall that they got promoted as Champions of Division 2 in 1976 with my beloved Bristol City as runners-up. Nottingham Forest were 3rd. Now 21 years later, City are playing Forest in the the old 3rd Divsion and if they both get promoted all three teams will be together again for the first time since the 76-77 season.
    Hope this blog is a success and that the comments will be more enthralling than this one!

  6. It’s not that they were ever close, except as children in Houghton-le-Spring, but my mother and the late Reg Vardy (whose name is as ubiquitous on Sunderland shirts as “Shop at Binns” used to be on the front of north-eastern double-deck buses) were cousins. He was a very religious man but that didn’t stop him amassing a fortune in the motor trade. (I went to look at a used Cortina there once and, in spite of the family connection, he wouldn’t give me a discount.) I believe his son was knighted, though whether for his services to soccer or automotive retail I’m not sure.

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