Monsieur Salut writes: by the time you read this, I’ll be on holiday and trying very hard not to think about football …
We have an oddly anonymous Reading Who are You? still to come – maybe they’re all recluses in the Thames Valley – and the result, as I write before the Leeds game, is unlikely to matter a huge amount to us.
But presumably we’ll at least aim to see out a lamentable season with a sense of pride. And there has never been a Sunderland game, or Sunderland reserves or ladies’ game for that matter, that I didn’t want us to win.
Since I am rattling away in the dark, I shall simply invite Salut! Sunderland readers to apply whatever blind faith, realism or past-caring resignation to the outcome of the visit to Reading.
This is a game that always brings back memories on 1997-98 when Barry Emmerson, seated next to me at Elm Park, said at half time, when we were 2-0 down and awful: “Do we want to scramble a draw and have things go on as they are? Or lose 4-0 so Reidy has to do something?” Or something to that effect.
We lost 4-0. Reidy then started playing young ‘uns, Kevin Phillips was back after injury – he’d come on as a sub at Elm Park and at least had a go, as did a Sunderland fan who ran on the pitch and netted – and the season took off. Sadly, it was to end with the famous failure against Charlton in the playoff final, but we were set up for the riproaring title-winning promotion a year later.
Have a go. Four-nowt to them, another too-little-too-late win for us, a point-winning but otherwise pointless draw? Be first with the correct scoreline, post it before kickoff and have a UK delivery address. Then you’ll win a mug – and yes, Reading fans may enter, too.
Ha’way the Lads.