From the archives: Birmingham City memories and Sixer doffs his hat to Roy Hodgson

John McCormick writes: Malcolm said over the weekend that “with no game between now and the Checkatrade Trophy final, the Salut! Sunderland team will no doubt be racking their collective brains trying to think up articles that will keep the readership ticking over.”

Of course we will, and ideas are already being drafted out. Even so, with a whole fortnight between SAFC games there’s still time for a look back in time, so here’s a piece Pete Sixsmith wrote which first saw the light of day exactly 9 years ago. I’ve included it because it’s interesting to see how much – and how little – has changed in less than a decade.

Here’s how M Salut introduced the piece, which had the title

Soapbox: Birmingham memories, fighting Sunderland lasses and plaudits for Fulham

  • Such nights don’t come along too often. We’d won promotion and clinched the title, the team were out celebrating with their wives (two of whom got on spectacularly badly as the night wore on). Pete Sixsmith looks back, taking his hat off to Roy Hodgson along the way

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A champion Championship series: the first time Sixer saw your ground or your team

Sixer tastes the tropical flavour of a County Durham winter as he delivers the papers

Most weeks, readers of Salut! Sunderland drop by on Friday morning to catch the latest instalment in Pete Sixsmith’s twin series, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Ground (if the game in question is away), Team (if it’s at the Stadium of Light).

This week, the Millwall edition was posted earlier than usual – namely at this link.

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The Chapman Report from Birmingham: where’s a Johnny Giles when he’s needed?

Takes a worried man …

Monsieur Salut writes: what was the transfer window like for you, Chris? Did you recruit an inspiring mix of flair and solid experience, the sort needed to get Sunderland out of the present mess? Or a bunch of journeymen hardly better than what we already have and available at the bottom end of the market because they cannot get a game anywhere else? Time will tell – and we can count on Pete Sixsmith to cast a clinical eye on the ins and outs at the Stadium of Light.

But first some unfinished business. Sixer was absent from St Andrew’s, his place on the old post-match Soapbox taken as usual by Robert Chapman, who approved at the ground apprehensive and left a seriously worried man, having seen one more wretched Sunderland collapse …

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Sixer’s Sunderland sevens or Bob’s Birmingham bulletin, it’s the same old story

Jake: ‘it’s not always pretty’

Pete Sixsmith wasn’t there tonight, having chosen to watch Durham City play Ryhope CW and leave the Sunderland game to Bob Chapman, but he did forward Bob’s half time message, which was to the effect that we had hardly been in the game and Birmingham deserved their lead.

There was a second message at full time. We’ve come to expect  seven words; unfortunately, we’ve also come to expect what they say:

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Ten Years After: please let it be like this at Birmingham tonight

No trophy – just relegation avoidance to play for

Wouldn’t we love the problems of 2008 just now? Needing to beat Birmingham City to keep up our Premier League survival hopes on track, we did just that with goals from Daryl Murphy – a “neat finish from Kenwyne Jones’s knock-down,” said the BBC – and Rade Prica.

Ten years and a day on, the two teams meet again. It’s away and we still need points for survival, humiliatingly from the Championship. The 2008 win got Sunderland out of the bottom three and we finished 15th. Can we do it again? Our Birmingham City Who are You? interviewee went for 2-0 again, but in his sides favour. This is how Pete Sixsmith captured it back then, in a much shorter early manifestation of Sixer’s Soapbox …

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The First Time Ever I Saw Your Ground: Birmingham City and St Andrews

Pete Sixsmith

Pete Sixsmith’s legendary journey around the years continues with a trip to England’s second city and 1976. That was the year the queen went to Birmingham to open the National Exhibition Centre but she doesn’t post anything on this site (at least, not under her own name) so we won’t be getting her reminiscences.

As if we needed them. Cue the chant…

“Aye aye aye aye, Sixsmith is better than Lizzie……”

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Birmingham City vs SAFC Guess the Score: two in a row?


Oops: this is a repeat: entries here closed though any appearing already will be honoured: enter at


With no unnecessary fanfare, here is the latest prize Guess the Score.

Can Chris Coleman secure the first back-to-back wins of his Sunderland career? Will we rise to the occasion or slump, having beaten Hull, to the customary after-the-Lord-Mayor’s-Show defeat?

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The Birmingham City Who are You?: speaking of crunch matches …

James, with his girlfriend and fellow home-and-away Blue, Emily Drakeley

Monsieur Salut writes: James Jenkinson is a breath of fresh air: a home and away regular with a burning passion for his club, Birmingham City. He is still studying – at University Degrees in Football, Sport and Events Industries in Wembley – -but hopes to became a TV presenter. We have only two quarrels: he thinks City will win on Tuesday night and also suspects we will go down …

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Birmingham City Guess the Score: meet the Irish fan who kept faith

Ha’way Michael, get them in!

NB Guess the Score appeared twice by mistake. One or two entries appeared at the second item before I closed comments. Check below and at to make sure your choice has not already been taken – Ed

Given how rarely Sunderland win, it is worth noting that we have had SAFC-supporting winners of Guess the Score for each of the five Championship games where we’ve ended on top.

One of these was Mike Holligan, with whom I met up (with his brother-in-law Jim Ballantyn, already an acquaintance) during his recent brief visit from the Irish Republic to London.

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