John McCormick writes: I started to put this up not long after Pete Sixsmith sent it, then had to switch off and do other stuff before I could add an introduction. In between I put some music on, courtesy of a USB stick I think my brother-in-law Ed must have left behind.
First up came The Small Faces and “Sha La La La Lala Lee”, which was released in 1966 and echoed round our World Cup venue in honour of the goalkeeper who had helped us gain promotion and who would go on to help us win the cup. Ed, currently a season-ticket holder in the North Stand, Pete, Jake, Malcolm and Colin will no doubt fondly remember those days, as do I and probably many of our readers.
Second up on Ed’s playlist came something from 1982. We were still a first division club then, and would shortly revisit Wembley before enduring a single season in the Third Division. But endure we did.
Now, perhaps, that song is more appropriate. The name of the group -The Jam. The title of the song – “The bitterest pill (I ever had to swallow)”. Step forward one last time, Pete.
Monsieur Salut writes: even in these grim times for Sunderland AFC, it is always a pleasure to be able to present the writing of Pete Sixsmith to a wider audience. In the dying days of Salut! Sunderland in its present form, we have lost our newsnow link, severely curtailing our reach and readership. That appears to be an unintended by-product of the transition to safc.blog so this piece from Sixer may attract a smaller audiece than in the past. It deserves better, as do all SAFC fans..
For however many still see it, here are Pete’s gloomy thoughts from the last home game he will cover for our site …
THE LAST POST
Well, that’s it. Twelve years of writing about Sunderland AFC [nearer 13 – Ed] which have included ups, downs and okays and, for my last game, I get an absolute shocker.
This was a game between two clubs that have had far, far better days and that both seem in permanent decline, never to reach the top echelon of the game while I am still on this mortal coil.
John McCormick writes: if anyone asked what my worst Sunderland game ever was I’d have to say it was the 1-0 loss at Bolton when we were last in the championship.
Pete Sixsmith was there, so he’ll know how bad it was, but judging from a text sent just before the ed of today’s game he appears to have found this one even worse, although we did manage to keep a clean sheet this time. In his judgement today’s game was “undoubtedly the worst game of the decade”
That wasn’t his final word, though. Pete looks forward just as much as he looks backward and his post match seven words send a January message to our owners, our new directors and our rapidly-ageing manager.
Monsieur Salut adds: listening to Barnes and Benno describe what seems to have been an apology for a football match, it was impossible to miss the loud and edgy singing of songs about Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn. This was not because Super Phil Parkinson doesn’t scan very well however you compress the syllables.
I used to love attending Boxing Day games. Ones like the debacle at Bramall Lane two years ago, which I watched with Sixer, and today’s, to which I effortlessly gave a miss, make me grateful Dec 26 offers options. Salut! Sunderland‘s days are numbered as we prepare to hand over to the new regime on New Year’s Day. We’d rather hoped the last Sixer’s Seven from the Stadium of Light would not coincide with SAFC’s descent to another low point in the 140-history of the club: an unthinkable 15th place in the third tier …
John McCormick writes: outside the clouds have rolled in and the rain is sheeting down. It’s a grey day. Inside only the heating system is keeping the cold out. Normally an e-mail from Pete Sixsmith would mean a post bringing cheer and warmth, good feeling and heartiness. So the one that arrived but a few minutes ago was more than welcome.
Alas, some times it’s better to travel than to arrive:
Forget the headline instantly, says its author, Monsieur Salut. Whatever you think of the song, it’s a seriously bad film. Or is it? Is Salut! Sunderland any better as an independent fan site?
All these things are matters of personal taste and judgement.
Doubtless loads of cinema-goers have loved Last Christmas. Some people, I know, will say Salut! Sunderland has been consistently half-decent, sometimes decent.
We’ve made mistakes, backed wrong horses and been generally lousy at technology, even worse at making the site viable. But those involved with it since the beginnings at the very start of 2007, and those who have come aboard since, have had lots of good times presenting their thoughts and (Jake) illustrations about the football club we all love.
It’s almost time to go. The successor safc.blog is already out there, the new owner Dean Cruddace having cloned Salut! Sunderland to preserve the massive 13-year archive as he prepares to launch on New Year’s Day. Eve Sayers replaces Monsieur Salut as editor. Both carry our hearty good wishes.
There’ll be more farewells in the few days that remain of Salut!. But for now, let us just wish all readers, contributors and occasional sponsors and advertisers a very merry Christmas and a happy new year, preferably with wins replacing draws and defeats for Sunderland AFC.
John McCormick writes: for me, this piece by Pete Sixsmith brings back many memories. I was at Goodison when we lost, and at Spurs when Kirchhoff came on and a young keeper who would go on to play for England couldn’t hold back the tide. I saw us come back to snatch that point at Anfield as well. But the game that sticks out, of all the ones below, is one I never got to. The 1-0 win against the Mags. I was intending to go but stayed in Liverpool. My daughter gave birth that day, two weeks late. I have a print of Defoe’s goal ready to give to my granddaughter when she’s old enough to appreciate what she made me miss…
Pete Sixsmith produced this masterpiece of an appreciation on hearing news of the death of Billy Hughes, aged just 70. He was one of . Pete’s all-time favourite players and one of Monsieur Salut’s, too. Many poeople saw the tribute. Sadly, the piece was blocked from wider public view because of the prudishness of an ‘aggregator’ site on which Salut! Sunderland relies for a lot of its traffic. Why? A relatively minor wear word which Sixer even disguised by using asterisks after the first letter. Let;’s have another try …
As Sunderland settle in the lowest position of our 140-year history, 13th in the third tier, Pete Sixsmith continues his ramblings through the snow in his daytime job and his rambling through his memory in his spare time. But when it comes to his writing does he ramble? No, most certainly not. He does, however, have a fondness for a ’conspicuous repetition of identical initial consonant sounds in successive or closely associated syllables within a group of words, even those spelled differently´ (thank you, Wikipedia). So be prepared for a stirring story, a heartwarming helping, an intelligent interlude, a… … let’s just let the man himself do the business.