The Last Post: after the Bolton shocker, Sixer bids farewell

Pete Sixsmith: as long suffering as it gets

Monsieur Salut writes: even in these grim times for Sunderland AFC,  it is always a pleasure to be able to present the writing of Pete Sixsmith to a wider audience.  In the dying days of Salut! Sunderland in its present form, we have lost our newsnow link, severely curtailing our reach and readership. That appears to be an unintended by-product of the transition to so this piece from Sixer may attract a smaller audiece than in the past. It deserves better, as do all SAFC fans..

For however many still see it, here are Pete’s gloomy thoughts from the last home game he will cover for our site …



Well, that’s it. Twelve years of writing about Sunderland AFC [nearer 13 – Ed] which have included ups, downs and okays and, for my last game, I get an absolute shocker.

This was a game between two clubs that have had far, far better days and that both seem in permanent decline, never to reach the top echelon of the game while I am still on this mortal coil.

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Sixer’s Sevens: Bolton’s Happy Wanderers finish a dark year for Sunderland at the Stadium Of Light

John McCormick writes: if anyone asked what my worst Sunderland game ever was I’d have to say it was the 1-0 loss at Bolton when we were last in the championship.

Pete Sixsmith was there, so he’ll know how bad it was, but judging from a text sent just before the ed of today’s game he appears to have found this one even worse, although we did manage to keep a clean sheet this time. In his judgement today’s game was “undoubtedly the worst game of the decade”

That wasn’t his final word, though. Pete looks forward just as much as he looks backward and his post match seven words send a January message to our owners, our new directors and our rapidly-ageing manager.


Monsieur Salut adds: listening to Barnes and Benno describe what seems to have been an apology for a football match, it was impossible to miss the loud and edgy singing of songs about Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn. This was not because Super Phil Parkinson doesn’t scan very well however you compress the syllables.

I used to love attending Boxing Day games. Ones like the debacle at Bramall Lane two years ago, which I watched with Sixer, and today’s, to which I effortlessly gave a miss, make me grateful Dec 26 offers options. Salut! Sunderland‘s days are numbered as we prepare to hand over to the new regime on New Year’s Day. We’d rather hoped the last Sixer’s Seven from the Stadium of Light would not coincide with SAFC’s descent to another low point in the 140-history of the club: an unthinkable 15th place in the third tier …

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Sixer’s Soapbox. Bolton Wanderers 1, Sunderland 1. Why am I not surprised?

John McCormick writes: Two seasons ago I was at Bolton to witness a torrid game, where we could not neither keep a clean sheet nor score against a Bolton side that were pretty much useless. We went down a few weeks later; they stayed up. Now fortune brings us together with situations near enough reversed. We have survived financially, rebuilt and (allegedly) are poised to mount a challenge for promotion. They have survived but that’s about it and few can see them staying up.

So we should have wellied them, shouldn’t we? But we are Sunderland, and we all know what that means. Cue Pete Sixsmith, also there last time, to tell us how things have changed

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Sixer’s Sevens: Bolton Wanderers and grand larceny of the highest order

Malcolm Dawson writes:

However you look at it, this was a poor day in Lancashire.
Gary Bennett was not happy. The crowd was not happy and Pete Sixsmith was not happy. His series of texts throughout the game read…”a dismal first half, support not happy and unlikely to change”, then after Wyke came on for Maguire “the crowd have turned on the manager” and as the 4th official indicated 5 minutes of stoppage time, with the score still 1-0 to Bolton he sent his 7 word summary with the p.s. “whatever the result.” One minute later we got a penalty which McGeady converted with more confidence than his midweek effort. There then followed another text “McGeady penalty changes nothing”. It did, but not in relation to his verdict,. which we print below although there was still time for another text as the full time whistle sounded….”grand larceny of the highest order. 

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Bolton Wanderers vs Sunderland. Wanted: another winning trip across the Pennines

Click on the image above, post your scoreline prediction

Just for fun, we have taken to saying about our regular slot inviting readers to predict Sunderland scorelines, says Monsieur Salut.

It hasn’t been much fun being a Bolton Wanderers fan. The club almost driven out of existence and all those goals shipped. I have no idea as I write on Monday morning, before a week’s break, whether they will go into our game buoyed by a midweek win at home to Oxford United – or how we did against Rotherham.

But gallows humour comes easily to Sunderland supporters and even before last Saturday’s latest walloping for Bolton – 6-1 away, almost inevitably to our own midweek opponents, Rotherham – one was moping at Twitter that Wanderers would probably start their revival against us.

(Of course we now know both teams came away with a point in midweek, Bolton claiming they were unlucky not to take all three  whilst those who saw or heard or followed our game in some other way can’t help but feel we dropped two points after the perfect start against the South Yorkshire side. Bolton of course brought in nine players on the last day of the transfer window and those players will now be getting up to speed, so we are unlikely to be facing the Trotters’ U18 side. This on paper should make it a tougher ask for our boys and my own personal opinion is that the wave of negativity surrounding a club that has still only lost 6 of its last 54 league games can’t be doing anything to help. The fact we are playing away might take some pressure of our boys but even if we emulate Ipswich, Rochdale, Tranmere and Gillingham by sticking five past Wanderers it won’t stop some saying we should have done better. MD)

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Bury buried, Bolton cling on by fingertips in a tragedy to focus Sunderland minds

STOP PRESS: from the BBC … Bolton Wanderers: Football Ventures completes takeover to save League One club

We think of Bury and we think of Paul Butler, Chris Maguire and SuperKev’s four promotion-winning goals. Bolton will stir older memories (Nat Lofthouse in Bolton minds, Charlie Hurley in ours). Here are Pete Sixsmith‘s reflections on a social and sporting tragedy …

In their breakthrough hit Letter from America, The Proclaimers charted the destruction of Scottish industrial towns like Methil, Bathgate and Linwood. After the events of yesterday, those towns could well be replaced by the names of old established football clubs on this side of the still invisible border.

Bury are first on that list. They went yesterday after a prolonged period on a deathbed that was created for them by two men with similar names.

Stuart Day was the man who mortgaged the ground, the social club, the historic trophies and memorabilia and who offered contracts to players that were unrealistic.

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Sunderland, Bolton and Bury. Our League One financial ramble has to end somewhere.

I didn’t know when I’d get back to this series but it seems appropriate to visit these three now, though matters aren’t completely resolved. In two of the three clubs I’m not sure when they will be, and it’s possible we’ll get to the start of the season first.

And that introduces a small problem. The origins of the series arose from my curiosity about the finances and solvency of League One clubs in the context of their having the resources and ability to mount a promotion challenge. I never intended to be digging through files in the Companies House website and thought two posts would enable me to cover 20 clubs, with a third to deal with the three where administration was possible plus Sunderland, who were facing a takeover.

It didn’t work out like that. The start went pretty much as planned but my second dip into the League revealed a level of complexity that resulted in fewer clubs being covered in slightly more depth over two posts.

And then, when I got to Blackpool, Bolton and Bury, not to mention Sunderland, not everything was in order and I did have to dig deeper than I really wanted.  I managed to cover Blackpool and got up to speed with Bolton but in Bury’s case I could still be digging. However, everything has to finish somewhere, so here’s the last post in the series:

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Portsmouth then Sunderland, Ipswich, Rotherham, Peterborough and Coventry top our poll. But where are Lincoln?

On Friday we had over 3,000 visitors, followed by a quiet weekend. Not everyone took part in our top six poll  but over 1200 votes (not voters) have now been cast. That’s not bad, I suppose, for a League One fans’ site but I am expecting a few more will chip in before the season kicks off.

Early results suggest the headline I used then – for which I visited a couple of betting sites to find the promotion favourites – was on the right lines. Of the six clubs I named five are in the top spots. Lincoln (currently lingering in 8th place) are the exception with Sunderland, unsurprisingly, replacing them. There’s a gap – slight but quite evident – between the top three and the next three,  after which numbers drop off, so Lincoln and Doncaster, who made last season’s playoffs and now lie seventh, have quite a bit of ground to make up.

All of the clubs in the League received votes, which I’m taking to signify that we  managed a wide reach. It will be interesting to see if enough fans of so-called smaller clubs, which are predominantly towards the bottom of the poll, visit in large enough numbers to move their favourites upwards. Crowdwise, numbers are against them but we have only small numbers voting so you never know.

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Ipswich or Portsmouth? Rotherham or Peterborough? How about Lincoln or Coventry? It’s your choice

Last season our punters got it more or less right and correctly predicted most of the top six. Luton were missed but that was mainly down to the Coventry Ninjas, whose hijack of last year’s poll pushed them (Luton) out of the top places.

Maybe the ninjas or another club’s fans will do the same again this season. As far as I’m aware the polldaddy vulnerability that allowed multiple voting still exists and all I can do is disable the ability of readers to see the results in real time. That might change how the poll coding works (it’s built-in and can’t be changed) but it takes something away. A pity, but there we go.

I’ve got a lot on for the next few weeks so I won’t be conjuring up a novel method of tracking and displaying our chosen clubs’ progress or the lack of it. All I’ll be doing is monitoring the accretion of points for now, though I might come up with something different later in the season.

As always, your comments are welcome. We hold posts for moderation but they do go up eventually, subject to meeting commonsense rules of decency, manners, libel etc.

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Just Blackpool and Bolton, the financial ramble continues without Bury or Sunderland.

I expected to be finishing this series with a single post. It’s just not possible. While things have moved ahead with Blackpool, they seems to have stalled at Bolton and Sunderland still have to get out of the starting blocks. And as for Bury, their can has been kicked far down the road in the hope of allowing a solution that it reached the start of next season. Unfortunately, that only seems to have allowed more problems to build up, or at least existing ones to grow.
And with that the word length just kept getting bigger and bigger and the page length longer and longer. So once more I’ve decided to split the page and give you a where we’re at with Bolton and Blackpool and leave Bury and Sunderland to another day.

As ever supporters of both Blackpool and Bolton are welcome to chip in with their corrections, additions, thoughts, observations, even hopes, subject to the rules of decency, libel and so on. You maybe held for moderation but any posts meeting our standards do go up eventually.

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