Sixer’s sub’s Soapboax: Crystal Palace – plenty of possession but not much of a threat

John McCormick writes: When Alfie N’Diaye pops up with a goal for your relegation competitors you know the Gods of football can’t be happy with you. What, then, must they feel towards Sam Allardyce?

Not that anyone’s complaining, of course, apart from perhaps a few of the fans who left Selhurst Park early after our own midfield did what it has needed to do since August and not only snuffed out the opposition but also scored a game-changing goal.

And how do the Gods of football feel about Pete Sixsmith?  Was he there watching Kone and Ndong and, of course, Jermaine Defoe? I think not because this report comes courtesy of Bob Chapman

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The Chapman Report from West Bromwich Albion: another new boss’s losing start

Robert Chapman: 'when will we win?'
Robert Chapman: ‘when will we win?’

Once again, Bob Chapman stepped into Pete Sixsmith’s boots for the visit to WBA. And once again he provides an incisive assessment of what he witnessed, with an interesting having-it-both-way assessment of the one big controversy of the game …

Here is a Salut Sunderland quiz question. This report is the fourth in a sequence of firsts so what is it? For a clue the previous three were Swansea, Chelsea and West Ham.

West Bromwich Albion has the honour of possessing the highest league ground in England. I would have thought the likes of Burnley, Oldham and Bradford would be higher, but at 552 feet the Hawthorns is the highest.

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Chapman Reports from Aston Villa as Sixer acclaims Lizzie Jones at Wembley

Robert Chapman: 'when does the new season start?'
Jake: bravo to Salut! Sunderland‘s supersub, Robert Chapman

Bob Chapman seems to have had the sort of awayday Monsieur Salut most enjoys (except when there’s the cherry on the cake of a win to make it even better): pre-match pints with John Marshall and the Woods brothers, Mick and Gerard, followed by Sunderland goals to cheer and at least the avoidance of defeat along with the feeling, still weak but growing, that things may indeed be going to get better.

Bob steps up to the Soapbox because Pete Sixsmith took himself off to Wembley for the utterly one-side Leeds Rhinos’ victory over Hull KR (50-0). He draws attention to the highlight of his afternoon, Lizzie Jones’s tearjerking rendition of Abide With Me stirring memories of her husband Danny, the Keighley Cougars and Wales player who died from a heart attack after feeling unwell during a game in May. That was worth reproducing here and I challenge you not to be moved.

Now let Bob describe his day ..

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The Chapman Report from Chelsea: summer relief for the well-travelled SAFC fan

Robert Chapman: 'when does the new season start?'
Robert Chapman: ‘when does the new season start?’

Bob Chapman brings down the curtain on what we hope has been another season of fine, incisive reporting from each Sunderland game, the best of it combining analysis, observation and humour (the latter quality is remarkable, given the feelings of dejection that all too often haunt the Sunderland supporter’s life). Pete Sixsmith has explained his absence from the final two games, leaving Arsenal to his younger brother Michael and Chelsea to his pal Bob, a frequent understudy. Salut! Sunderland thanks all contributors for one more season of triumph over failure, hope over despair …

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The ‘still optimistic’ Chapman Report from Stoke: Messi no match for this

Robert Chapman: 'ever the optimist'
Robert Chapman: ‘ever the optimist’, oddly enough a caption already used this season

Pete Sixmsith once again steps down from the Soapbox to make way for Bob Chapman, whose pre-match pint was taken with a man who’d willingly forked out £30 for Stoke versus Sunderland after baulking at nearly six times more for a Barcelona game a few days earlier. Bob considered it a decent point even if results at Palace and Burnley dumped us in the bottom three …

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The Chapman Report from West Ham: disappointing finale but no one ‘walked’

Robert Chapman: 'ever the optimist'
Robert Chapman: ‘ever the optimist’

There seems consensus that Sunderland showed vast improvement at West Ham – they could hardly have been worse than a week before – but that the crowd saw two fairly poor teams, neither truly deserving to lose or, for that matter, win. Bob Chapman‘s ascent of Sixer’s Soapbox was a little more painful than usual – read on for medical news – as was his hobbling tour of east London landmarks beforehand. But he left the Boleyn head intact and predisposition to optimism unshaken …

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