Yesterday, Salut! Sunderland attracted more than 6,000 hits. That is an astonishing volume of traffic for a piddling little site but what a shame it takes a crisis to draw in such numbers. There was plenty of good writing to greet those arriving here for the first time, or so we like to think, but not much of it was upbeat. Can Dick Advocaat and his team at last repay the strength of support they get (er, until things go wrong)? Guess the Score in Sunderland vs Swansea City ….
No sooner had we dispensed with the Crystal Palace site HLTCO’s absurd suggestion that Sunderland supporters have some monopoly on showing displeasure with the efforts of their team than the Swansea blog Planet Swans wades in with some choice words of its own.
See the miserable piece in full at
http://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/swanseacity/news/39845/? but here are some samples:
* … probably isn’t a better time to play Sunderland than this weekend with the club seemingly in turmoil both on and off the pitch and being ripped into by the media and former players alike
* … massive gulf between the two clubs with the Swans having pulled together a squad that can compete very strongly this season whilst Sunderland are already being written off as relegation certainties just two games into the new season
* [quoting Micky Gray] …the shirt is too big for them. They are frightened to play at the Stadium of Light
And the worst thing about those three points is that they contain nothing most of us haven’t thought ourselves.
So what better time than Saturday for our Lads to get out there and show they can play without fear, without giving the impression of being novices or representing a club in turmoil and without an inferiority complex when comparing themselves with other Premier sides?
I will admit I almost choked on my croissant when I spotted the speculation linking us with Kieran Richardson. I appreciated his efforts for the club, as it happens, and I also realise that even if the gossip is true, it would not amount to the entirety of Sunderland’s attempts to strengthen the squad before the window shuts tight. But Kieran was not and is not at the cutting edge of Premier talent, is probably no better than what we already have and it is difficult to see how a return to Sunderland could really be seen as the way forward for him or for us.
We can but guess at what Advocaat will do with his squad for the Swansea game. He may or may not have reached the same conclusion as many supporters that Kaboul and Coates do not form a central defence partnership to inspire the least confidence. He may or may not feel neither of his full backs for the Norwich game, van Aanholt and Jones, earned another chance this Saturday. And he may still be resistant to the generally held idea that Duncan Watmore would deserve more playing time for his commitment and enthusiasm alone.
Now over to the Salut! Sunderland jury. Guess the Score is still sponsorless but Monsieur Salut does have special one-off prize to offer thanks to the kindness of Kathy Pitcher, whose Sunderland-supporting husband George was remembered on these pages recently (see https://safc.blog/2015/07/george-pitcher-the-geordie-a-tunisian-waiter-learned-to-call-sunderland/).
Kathy was sorting through some belongings of George, who died last December, and came across three DVDs which she offered to any reader of Salut! Sunderland who might appreciate them: Looking Up (season review 2009-10); Sunderland vs Leeds Utd (1973 FA Cup Final) and The Fantastic Four (Sunderland’s Greatest Derby Victories). Read what you will into this, but two of the DVDs are still in their original wrapping.
So with her consent, I shall offer them as the prize in this week’s competition. To win them you need to be the first to post the correct scoreline before kickoff. Swansea fans are naturally welcome to join in, though the prize really works only for Sunderland supporters. We’ll cross that bridge if we need to …
In the meantime, we are promised another good Who are You? read from a Swansea interviewee. Come back in a day or so for that.
It’s a fair old test for the Lads on Saturday. Let the fans be behind them from the start and roar them to a seriously morale-boosting victory.