Sunderland 1 Newcastle United 0. Two unsung winners: Billy Jones, Bill Cowell

Jake: hats off to a great showing
Jake: hats off to you for a great game

Yes, everyone will remember Jermain Defoe’s goal-of-the-season contender. Tim Krul will especially remember it, having been rubbished by an infantile lynch mob led by Jamie Carragher for his sportsmanlike gesture of congratulation in the tunnel at half time.

But spare some thoughts, too, for Billy Jones and William Cowell.

Jones has had a difficult season after his arrival from West Brom, injuries and unconvincing returns from them taking their toll.

So one of the many great pleasures of yesterday’s confidence-boosting, hope-raising win was his own excellent display.

Two difficult judges concurred:

Pete Sixsmith in his superb matchday account:

The whole team looked happier and far more settled. I groaned slightly when I saw Billy Jones was playing. His last appearance at Valley Parade was awful – slow, plodding and bereft of ideas. None of these applied as he pushed forward well, tackled brilliantly and read the game with consummate ease.

[Pete did then spoil it a little by adding: “Mind you, I could defend against the likes of show ponies like Caballere and Ameobi, two of the worst players I have ever seen in a Newcastle strip – and I go back to the likes of Kit Napier and Andy Penman.”]

And Dick Advocaat in his post-match e-mail to Monsieur Salut and others:

It’s the first time I’ve seen Billy Jones play and I take my hat off to him after that performance today.

Take a bow, Billy, and just keep playing that way for the rest of the season. Sunderland supporters have always loved players of the “used to be sh***, now he’s all right” variety ….

And Bill, Billy or William Cowell, OBE? A winner, too, and not for the first time. Check out and you will see what I mean.

Bill, a supporter since the 1940s, didn’t get the OBE for that extraordinary feat of stamina and endurance.

This paragraph from that link quoted above explains more fully how the honour came about:

I was in the Army for three years, and subsequently trained as a psychiatric nurse, working in Surrey, Somerset and Kent. I became an NHS manager, and received an OBE in 1999 for services to mental health care. I later managed a charity which provided care for severely disabled adults, and later worked as a special projects manager for a community care company. I retired in 2003.

And now Bill adds one more prize to the mugs he has already won in Guess the Score, having correctly plumped for 1-0.

He wins this …

The correct version
From our Guess the Score sponsor, Personalised Football Gifts

Bravo, Bill. No one minds you collecting the prize when it’s for predicting a Sunderland win …

M Salut, drawn by Matt, colouring by Jake
M Salut, drawn by Matt, colouring by Jake
own Bill Cowell, too.

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