Salut! Sunderland snaps at Murdoch’s heels

Russia, someone told me not long ago, offically decrees that a blogger becomes a media organisation if he or she registers 1,000 “hits” a day.

If that is true, Salut! Sunderland is now a media organisation, maybe not quite ready to send shock waves through Murdoch Towers – though we’re rapidly closing on them – but potentially a worry for whatever Conrad Black is publishing these days from his prison cell.

Alas, it was a media organisation for only one day.

Wednesday was when we posted Gordon Watts’s fascinating tale of shame as the Houghton-le-Spring lad, son of a lifelong Sunderland fan, who turned into a Hammers nut.

Just another interesting addition to our Who Are They? series written by fans of opposing teams? Yes, but also one that happened to draw in 1,025 hits to this site.

P1060086Among these were 750+ “unique visitors; if that’s way short of 1,000, we remain a media org if you count hundreds more hits on Wednesday to our sister sites Salut!, Salut! North, Salut! Live and Salut! Salam).

If truth be told, however, many of the people coming here were not SAFC fans, who by and large give loyal but hardly massive support to Salut! Sunderland, but Gordon’s fellow Hammers.

A link placed at his favourite West Ham site, Knees Up Mother Brown, has been viewed nearly 1,000 times, inducing waves of supporters to pause from blowing their bubbles long enough to pop over to this site for a look.

One Hammer went straight back and posted a thoroughly libellous comment about Gordon. Another quarrelled with his description of Sunderland having charm, claiming the city made Baghdad look like St Tropez (though he later toned this down, changing his remark to praise Gordon for “not a bad read”).

All in all, as I have mentioned at the West Ham site, my long-held conviction is unchanged: proper fans, proper club.

It is also fair to say that visitor rates have since returned to more modest levels. Who Are They? is clearly what brings new readers in, especially if I am able to alert rival fan sites, but these readers have partisan motives and most are highly unlikely to keep coming back.

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Salut! Sunderland will soldier on, mightily chuffed however long it lasts, to have soared 30 places or more to number 76 in the Soccerlinks chart for all football blogs. With more time, those of us involved in the site could almost certainly drum up a lot more hits, and come up with commercial ideas for turning a labour of love into something more viable, but for now we are content with the small splash we have made in the ocean of SAFC support.

I am off on Sunday – flying to Egypt, I’m afraid, during the game at the SoL which I’d otherwise have been able to watch live in Abu Dhabi – for a cruise on the Nile.

The place is being left in good hands: Sixer’s Sevens, Soapbox and a Bolton Wanderers Who Are They? (or two) will all appear, courtesy of the steady hand of Joan Dawson, acting editor. Ha’way the Lads (and lasses) in my absence…..

Colin Randall

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