Sunderland played Aston Villa at home for the first time as a Football League club on Jan 19 1891, home being the Newcastle Road ground.
All of 6,000 souls turned up to watch a 5-1 win, an occasion commemorated in two of Jake’s images. There had been a heavier victory, 7-2, in a friendly the previous season before Sunderland’s admission to the league.
Most Sunderland supporters would settle this weekend for a win of any kind against the same club. For the sake of morale – theirs as well as the players’ – three points are, quite simply, non-negotiable.
But back to the history. That winning side of Victorians included a Campbell, John not Fraizer with the other difference being that goalscoring came easily to the earlier one (136 in 186 league appearance between 1889 and 1897; three of those goals were scored in the 5-1 defeat of Villa, one of the Hannahs of the era getting the other two).
That was the decade of the Team of All Talents, or Team of All the Talents, three times champions between 1892 and 1895. The nickname, which appears on Salut! Sunderland‘s Martin O’Neill mug, derives from a remark by William McGregor, Villa chairman and the league’s founder, who had said of Sunderland after the 7-2 friendly that the team had a talented player in every position. A bit like now.
A roundabout way, you may feel, of introducing thus week’s Guess the Score. Unlike the gloating Boro fan, who posted 0-1 after the final whistle on Tuesday, you should leave a comment here before kickoff telling us the outcome.
No need for patronising truisms about what is needed to lift the team’s overall standards in time to make Saturday a rare winning day. No need for further questions to be raised about the form or commitment of individual players.
Under the temporary rules already outlined on these pages, the first correct entry can either regard it as a moral victory or take possession of not one but two of the aforementioned mugs courtesy of the buy-one, win-one offer.
This may make Guess the Score one of the few competitions in the world in which the winner is asked to dig into his or her pocket. The reason is simple: Salut! Sunderland needs a sponsor to guarantee a weekly prize, and until it obtains one or comes up with a better device, has to reduce the cost of providing one itself. If you think £9.50 is too steep even for two mugs, you may of course enter for fun.
Villa fans are very welcome to join in. If one wins, he or she will be entitled to receive mugs with a suitably modified design reflecting MoN’s connection with both clubs.
‘Villa simply caught my attention more than others, as well as my heart. Claret and Blue may not be the colors for everyone, but they’re my colors’. Read a stonking, Given-adoring, Bent-loving, Hurricane-defying Villa ‘Who are You?’ from across the pond … https://safc.blog/2012/10/safc-v-aston-villa-a-villain-from-the-teeth-of-hurricane-sandy/
Monsieur Salut, just back from France for hibernation and football, narrowly missed the derby, thought too late about a ticket for Stoke and couldn’t get back for Boro. You may feel I didn’t miss much and you’d be right, of course.
But if we believe in keeping the faith, the revival has to start somewhere. It will feel all the better for one of us if that somewhere is the Stadium of Light on Saturday, with M Salut present and only a few places along from the season ticket seat he kept for a decade or more despite living mostly abroad for the last half of it.
Ha’way the Lads.