The season ends tomorrow, a milestone some of us feel cannot be reached a moment too soon. Here, then, is what may be the last weekly digest before the new season (though that will depend on how busy our contributors keep us during the summer break) …
Someone invited to explore a Millwall supporters’ forum might steel himself for a form of expression that struggles to get past four-letter bluster. Let it be said, then, that if Salut! Sunderland were to award a comment-of-the-week prize for humour and even eloquence, this week’s would go to one Lord Kitchener from the House of Fun site.
This is not the start of a Millwall-Mackem love-in. The comment appeared between plenty more that were neither witty not eloquent, though they did at least betray a sensitivity that, perhaps unjustly, we never expected from this source.
Lord K made his contribution in response to anecdotal suggestions, passed on here to Sunderland fans planning to be at the West Ham game tomorrow, that some Millwall supporters were also intending to turn up. Not for the football, of course, but to taunt the Hammers in their time of grief. No apologies for using a Sunderland site to forewarn Sunderland supporters of the risk, however small, of being caught up in someone else’s tribal conflict.
This was seen by some Millwall supporters, and I respect their views even if I consider them to be wrong, to be badly sourced and irresponsible.
But Lord Kitchener’s satirical creativity was stirred and, for those who missed it, he wrote these words:
At exactly 12 noon 14 viking longboats hired especially for Saturday will make their way over the river from South London.
We will disembark on the East Side of the River and make a pilgrimage to our ancestral home on the Isle of Dogs before rampaging and pillageing the east end. (They’ll be no rape as all the woman are far too ugly)
We will finish up by destroying all the seafood stalls and closing all the front door that are left open in case the neighbours want to pop in, and dirtying up the front steps that mum has spent all morning polishing.
We will then give slap to all the lying ***** who’s “Dad used to drink with the Krays” before taking the longboat back to the South side …
Bravo Lord K. No prize, but thanks for lending some levity to a tedious exchange. Click here if you must.
What else have we been up to this week? Click on any sub-heading if you wish to read more.
Still on the subject, loosely, of tomorrow’s game, that was the question raised by our Hammers previewer, Iain Dale, who – like many West ham supporters – fondly remembers George McCartney’s time at Upton Park, and cannot believe what went wrong for him back at our place.
* Sixer’s Soabox: start with the post-match look at the defeat to Wolves but otherwise take your pick
An unhappy report from the Stadium of Light, following yet another failure to turn up for the second half. The occasion probably called for a spot of just-escaped-the-gallows humour, and that is what Pete brought to it.
On the way back to the car, I overheard a conversation between two fans bemoaning another woeful second half. Springing to our defence, I said “Come on, there are some positives we can take from this”. “Aye”, said one of them, “we don’t have to come back here until August.” As they used to say in Punch magazine, collapse of stout party.
But Pete had a busy week on other topics, too. He wrote about the FA’s meek surrender to the demands of television in scheduling the final as if it were just another part of a typical league programme.
There they are, trying to boost the image of the FA Cup and there they are making the final game in the competition inaccessible to half the football-watching population.
I have no desire to go back to “It’s An FA Cup Final Knockout” or to watching Jackie ”Mr TV” Pallo take on Mick McManus, but I do think the competition should be treated with a little more respect and restored to its rightful place as the final meaningful game of the season.
And he looked at an intriguing and none too comforting Guardian special on football finance.
Better not talk her up too much or she’ll start demanding Sixsmith-level remuneration, but Tash threatens to corner the market for long, engrossing essays on her Mackem passion. Her dedication to Sunderland AFC is all the more impressive because she lives so far away, so far that she’d drop into the Western Approaches if she went much farther south. After her vivid earlier description of a first visit to the SoL, this was a highly readable account of time spent not seeing the Lads but following them mostly from afar.
And amid all the gloom of an awful last third of the season, we saluted Phil Bardsley on winning his second player-of-the-season award. Let us hope his deserved success inspires teammates to a special performance at Upton Park to retore a little pride and take us higher than a bitterly disappointing finish in 14th place.
More to explore, but that is up to you and your navigation of the sidebar links. For the last time this season, Ha’way the Lads.