Since Salut! Sunderland burst into action in Jan 2007, Pete Sixsmith has delivered a seven-word verdict – known collectively as Sixer's Sevens – on each match, in relatively few cases games not actually attended by him. Looked at over a season, these judgements reveal a mixture of hope and despondency, wit and wisdom. In the concluding chapter of our book of end-of-term reports, Pete maintains the theme of seven for a sharp appraisal of a second successive – and ultimately successful, if that's the correct word – relegation dogfight. Salut! Sunderland is open to other Sunderland fans who may wish to reopen the series; they should offer their own end-of-term reports using the e-mail link (above left) …
An interesting and eventful season for those of the red and white striped persuasion.
As seven is my keynote number, it seemed an idea – good or not is a matter for you, the readers, to decide – to look at seven highlights and seven low points of 2008-2009. No prizes for guessing which of the two took the longest to think of.
*** GOOD … in bold, BAD in italics ***
Beating the Mags at home. It was the first time since Stan Cummins saw them off, in the days when my hair came over my ears and Colin was chasing Jeremy Thorpe, Norman Scott and Rinka the dog. Kieran’s goal was spectacular and led to much hilarity and gloating later on. Little did we know in October that the gloat-o-meter would go through the roof in May.
Howard Webb’s ludicrous penalty award at SJP to deny us a first double since I was in the Lower Sixth at school and Colin was filing copy on Evenwood Women Institute’s Spring Bonnet contest. It looked bad enough from up in the gods, but TV viewing left me speechless. Still, he made up for it when they played Fulham.
Athlone. Despite a six hour bus trip with a serious hangover, we found a delightful town full of friendly people (and one plastic Mag). Football gives you the chance to visit places like this.
Middlesbrough. Everything that Athlone wasn’t. Unfriendly, covered in smog and heading for the Championship. We should have won there as well.
Losing Keane. It was clear that there were problems with him and it could be argued that he left at the right time, allowing us the opportunity to bring in a new man before the whole affair turned sour. It wasn’t his fault that we made what could have been a disastrous decision.
Losing Keane. Had he stayed and sorted out his differences with the (then) prospective owner, he may well have sorted out the mess he had got us into and pushed us up the league. I do believe that he has the potential to be a very good manager