M Salut flew back to Heathrow from Bali yesterday, having been well fuelled by Air Malaysia throughout the 7,810-mile slog. Blame that (the fuelling) or the jetlag for any aberrations in this latest backward glance, for the busy or technology-defeated reader of Salut! Sunderland, at our recent coverage of …
What has been going on around these parts with M Salut’s back turned?
The site crashed for much of one day and was disrupted for parts of at least one more – all, I hope, in a good cause since it was linked to work behind the scenes on matters including the forthcoming, long overdue redesign. But apologies all the same, not least because it happened again this morning so that no one could come here for hours on end.
When the site was accessible, plenty of people whinged about yet more dropped points, this time against Fulham, and about Steve Bruce. Others whinged about the whingers.
But some things matter more. In the build-up to today’s rather important game against Wigan Athletic, there was also an article that Salut! Sunderland felt proud to present, Bernard Ramsdale’s heartwarming account of living with – and striving to mitigate – the tragedy of his son’s permanent brain damage, sustained in a road accident. Not mawkish, not sympathy-seeking, just an honest family story told with dignity and hope.
This didn’t silence the whingeing elsewhere and nor, as Bernard would be first to agree, should it. But it did make people reflect on true priorities. Headlined “Sunderland v Wigan ‘Who are You?’: (1) when life means more”, the article can be seen by clicking here.
Bernard, as staunch a Latics fan as you will ever come across, also dealt with some footballing questions. See the results here: even writing from the bottom of the Premier, he felt Roberto Martinez had done a better job for Wigan than Steve Bruce.
Our own latest failure, against Fulham, generated a lot more anti-Bruce sentiment, piling additional pressure on him and his team ahead of the Wigan game. The manager himself admitted – see Bruce’s Banter – that a draw was probably fair while pointing to a spot of bad luck, the woodwork twice stopping us going ahead.
Look back on what Pete Sixsmith made of the match: he feared the dropped points had ushered in the dreaded R word. Read Sixer here – his superb analysis brought in shedloads of responses from readers, much of them of the Bolshie Bruce Out variety.
The hostility to Bruce’s reign will not be affected by today’s result, however good or bad, but Salut! Sunderland has entered its customary immediate pre-match mode of wholehearted supported for the team.
My deep thanks to Joan Dawson for holding the fort admirably as I gallivanted around Bali, not least because she had to do so in the face of irritating techie hitches. And apologies again for any frustration experienced by readers who found it hard or impossible to visit the site.
More on the new look will follow soon, but for now: Ha’way the Lads against Wigan. Others may see things differently but rest assured that Salut! Sunderland will never, repeat never, wish defeat on SAFC in the hope that this would force the club’s hand on managerial issues, however important.