Hail the return of Guess the Score in prize format – Monsieur Salut is in a slightly better mood this week despite the defeat at Burton Albion – and all readers, Rochdale fans included, are invited to take part.
A Sunderland-supporting winner, that is to say a SAFC fan correctly predicting the result of Saturday’s game, will receive a mug that looks a little like this …
You can guess by looking at the photo how it works even if, unlike some of our faithful readers, you haven’t already got a cupboard full of the mugs.
Five names appear and you choose what you want them to be. You can ask for yours and your loved ones’ names, even your dog’s, to adorn the shirts. Or you may want to select Sunderland stars of the past or present. One winner, Chris Boyle, mischievously asked for a mug containing a rogues’ gallery: Short, Bain, Moyes, Byrne and De Fanti. I hate to think what he pours into it.
The lower the league we play in, the more complicated it gets if an opposing supporter wins, but he or she would receive a suitable alternative. Rules are simple: be first to be right and have a UK delivery address. No one I can think of – not even my fellow toilers at Salut! Sunderland – is ineligible.
Can the mini-slump, as I have seen it described, end on Saturday? Rochdale at home is what would once have been called a banker. But will we gift them the usual dream start every visitor to the SoL has come to expect? Will we fail to keep Ian Henderson quiet (his three goals against Gillingham at the weekend included the League One “goal of the week” in a report I saw)?
This is a big test of all that early hope. Another bad result, even a draw, could turn the distant jingle of alarm bells into a thunderous cacophony though it is worth noting that we remain in fourth place despite dropping seven points in three games.
My Pompey-supporting pal in Paris, Peter Allen, still reckons the title will be decided when we play his team in the penultimate game of the season but since Portsmouth are top, he can afford to be kind.
Have a go. Guess the Score. And Ha’way the Lads.