Salut! Sunderland’s Mark Twain moment. Not dying but in reanimation as the site lives on

Jake: ‘It’s what we’re about’

Out with the old, in with the new, says Monsieur Salut as he prepares to hand on the Salut! Sunderland baton to the next runner …

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Whatever Mark Twain really wrote and later said, Salut! Sunderland can adopt the spirit of his much-quoted sentiments. Reports of our death – including our own report – have been grossly exaggerated.

My announcement here, on Nov 8, was headlined: The end of an era. Salut! Sunderland’s journey will soon be over.

I explained that after 13 years, often turbulent but never boring, a mirror image of the club we all support, Salut! Sunderland would cease to function from the end of this year. Visible, yes, for a while, but not animate. And I gave the reasons why.

This is how I described what would happen:

Salut! Sunderland will not be regularly updated after Dec 31 2019 and may not be updated at all. Some time is left in the hosting agreement with GoDaddy and the site will still be visible until that ends. A sleeping but doomed beauty is my fanciful description …

That was precisely our position on Nov 8. Today, I am pleased to report that there has been a development. The site is not dying after all but going into reanimation – and the prognosis is good.

If I am honest, I did think someone might be interested in carrying on. It would be another exaggeration to suggest we were engulfed in a fierce bidding war, but there was interest and it came from a Sunderland-supporting website guru, Dean Cruddace, managing director of an internet marketing company based on Wearside. He will be the new owner of this site.

No one in the Salut! Sunderland editorial pool is walking away with a golden handshake.

I will hide behind the footballing cliche that I often deride and say the transfer has been agreed for an undisclosed fee. And I may well go to my grave believing all this work, and with it the fabulous if haphazard archive we have built, has gone for a snip.

But the simple fact is that I failed to make the site any more than a labour of love. My withdrawal symptoms will be hard to bear but I am happy at least that Salut! Sunderland is being placed in what seems like a safe pair of hands. It would be mean-spirited not to wish Dean success on every level.

As readers might expect, the site will change name. That also brings some sadness but is entirely logical since Salut! Sunderland is an offshoot of the Salut! site I created back in 2006 in an attempt to maintain, after redundancy, the blog I had contributed from Paris to The Daily Telegraph‘s website. There is also the folk music site Salut! Live and even a North Eastern nostalgia site Salut North (so stagnant that it hasn’t been updated since last year’s Christmas message). Despite all the wonderful help I have received from talented friends, old and new, making this a decent football site (you can see my thanks to them here), Salut! reflects who I am and what my life has been about.

And as I prepare to step aside, let Dean outline his plans:

* work through all current technical issues [phew: readers’ comments will return – outgoing Ed]

* optimise all content

* longer term plan to introduce a new editor who will both create a content calendar as well as recruit new SAFC writers, all of whom will maintain the current writing standards the site has become known for. While they’ll have different tones and styles they will all have SAFC passion in common. Being a fan of Salut! Sunderland first and now taking ownership is an honour.

* look to my designers to create a new logo/theme for the site. All current content will remain as is. For improved visibility I am looking to run the site for ‘SAFC Blog’, It will take a few months to take the top spot for that but I will get the site there. Within the new ‘about us’ page it will always be made clear that the site was first and foremost ‘Salut! Sunderland‘ and the page will serve a record for the evolution of the site.

In fact, things will happen faster than expected. There will be a short overlap as we approach the Dec 31 deadline.

Dean says he hopes to have the site ready to go – he did say “no pun” but not, thank heavens, “oven-ready” – before the festive season games with the first post from the new editor appearing shortly before.

No, reader, I do not know the identity of that new editor; I do have the embryo of a guess, which I shall not share for fear of getting egg on my face.

Mmm … update: Dean has revealed all at Twitter. And it’s all about Eve Sayers, Eve3206 at Twitter, a home-and-away SAFC pasionaria who posts loads of funny, irreverent tweets and is well known to Wise Men Say podcast folk.

The old: Monsieur Salut with Sixer at Wembley. Me on the right (though we’re both left)

 

The new: Eve with ‘the only Tory I’ll ever like’

Eve will be here to tell you more in due course.

But the Salut! Sunderland team is not quite done. Pete Sixsmith’s series on the 13 managers whose reigns have accompanied our journey is far from complete; my co-editors and contributors may have something to say before the year’s out. Some members may well pop up again in future as the recalibrated site seeks to make its mark.

One comment on this news – the only one we will see unless the readers in question post their thoughts using the e-mail or Facebook links you see at the top of this page – came from ‘Alan J’:

Great news! Although very sorry to see you go, Monsieur, bonne chance, et merci tres beaucoup.

So for now, and from me, let’s leave it at Good Luck Dean and Eve, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone … and Ha’way the Lads.

Colin Randall, aka Monsieur Salut, as once captured by the star cartoonist Matt and enhanced by Jake
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