Stan Collymore, well-known Villa fan and – in Monsieur Salut’s humble opinion – not a bad radio pundit, had a golden opportunity to reach out to both sets of supporters ahead of this Saturday’s crucial relegation battle between Sunderland and Aston Villa.
He didn’t reply to the invitation, though we must allow for the possibility, remote as I believe it to be, that it was not forwarded to him. Instead, we had a marvellous set of responses from a free-thinking lifelong Villa fan, and a director of the club’s Supporters’ Trust, Howard Hodgson, and these will appear at Salut! Sunderland tomorrow (see footnote* for a sample).
But let us go early again with Guess the Score. A mug awaits the winner who will be the first to post the correct scoreline, before kickoff of course, in the Comments section below. The design will alter in the event of a Villa winner – Stan is warmly invited to enter – but a Sunderland winner would receive this:
Or, according to taste, the Salut! Sunderland mug as modified by our competition sponsors, Personalised Football Gifts …
M Salut is leaving the country before this game happens. That’s not because I can no longer bear the tension – 50+ years of support concentrates the mind – but because I do this flit to France once a year about this time.
Barnes and Benno, plus whatever internet streams can be found, will keep me abreast of how the Lads are doing. From my French bolthole, helped back home by Sixer and the inimitable Salut! Sunderland editorial team, I’ll make sure this particular ball is kept rolling.
Le Grand Départ – cat, cases, files, kitchen sink, SAFC reference books and all – is set for Thursday, first thing. After one overnight stop in Burgundy, arrival at the seaside is scheduled for some time on Friday.
See French Connexion: so long Blighty – la rentrée arrive if you can bear to read more about what I will and will not miss for the next few months.
In my absence, it is time for Sunderland’s players, and Gus Poyet with his approach and selection, for once to reward the loyalty, enthusiasm and devotion of some of football’s best supporters. There has been precious little to shout about this season and the need to deliver has rarely been more pressing.
No need to say more about the importance of the game. Just get cracking with your predictions …
* Extract from the SAFC vs Villa ‘Who are You?’ (to be published tomorrow) …
Salut! Sunderland: Any memories good, bad or amusing of past SAFC v AVFC encounters home or away?
Howard Hodgson, a directof the Aston Villa Supporters’ Trust: Obviously the best recent one was winning 6-1 at Villa Park when you had Di Canio as manager. Both sides, like now, were in deep trouble. We hoped we would win, but no one imagined that sort of scoreline! I remember meeting Paul Collingwood at a game at Stadium of Light. He was a charming fella. He said Sunderland would win 1-0 and that’s exactly what bloody happened [it can only have been that David Bellion game – Ed]!