For the second part of our letter to Santa, we name a few more of the things we’d like to see over the coming months. Come up with the best or funniest alternative wish for any letter – as judged by Salut! Sunderland – and we’ll send a tenner (up to one prize for each of the three parts of the series) ….
J is for Joan’s cafe, named as the venue for a Jedward concert after the nearby Stadium of Light is judged too big considering the likely turnout. Tickets narrowly fail to sell out.
K is for Roy Keane, who leaves Ipswich “by mutual consent” in May as relegation confirmed. When Grant Leadbitter and Carlos Edwards send text messages in commiseration, Keano replies saying: “I refer you both to what I told Dwight Yorke when he sent a similar SMS after I left Sunderland.”
L is for Laurent Blanc. Bordeaux go into freefall, out of the Champions League, sliding down Ligue 1 and costing Blanc his job as manager. Jean-Louis Triaud, the president, sees both his Saint-Julien vineyards go broke. Both blame the distractions caused by widespread disgust at their “not a big club” jibes at Sunderland.
M is for André Marriner, who officiates at the return game against Man Cini and gives us some decisions this time. He still allows two Man Cini offside goals and sends off Lorik Cana for being better looking. Nosworthy and Touré are again the talking points as we win 7-6.
N is for Nine One, the score at St Mike Ashley@StJames’.Park as Newcastle, newly promoted, entertain Sunderland and suffer the joint worst home defeat in English top flight history, having lost by the same score in the same tie in 1908.
O is for O Susannah, which Andy Reid, accompanying himself on banjo, takes to the top of the Irish charts, making his day after Thierry Henry’s first act as manager of the Republic of Ireland player-manager restores Reid to the squad. “Le banjo makes, ‘ow you say, a dreadful racket,” Henry says, “but Giovanni Trapattoni was wrong to exclude him just for that.”
P is for Pete (Sixsmith), who promises in March a “decision within days” on a new job after a bidding war involving The Guardian, The Observer and The Times; Salut! Sunderland admits it “can’t afford” to keep its star writer.
Q is for Niall Quinn, who announces in late January that he has dismissed SAFC officials involved in banning from the Stadium of Light supporters accused, but not convicted, of football-related disorder. “We’ve hit on a great new idea: in future, people will be considered innocent until proved guilty,” he says.
* Image from the Flickr pages of