John McCormick writes: every footballer and fan should be honoured to visit a club like Bolton Wanderers but I’ve never been there. I’ll be remedying that on Tuesday, however, so if my former OU colleague Brian (a diehard Wanderer who will surely relish the magic and nostalgia of Pete Sixmith‘s prose) fancies a pre match pint it would be great if he got in touch via the comments at the bottom …
We went early with the latest of Pete Sixsmith’s chronicles of doom from the Stadium of Light. He’s off to watch Rugby League today so sent his piece just as Channel Five’s Championship programme prepared to delight Brentford fans and horrify Sunderland supporters with what are laughingly called the highlights of another calamitous afternoon.
Now, we turn our attentions to Bolton Wanderers and Tuesday night. About the only saving graces on Saturday were that they lost, Birmingham lost, Burton failed to beat Nottingham Forest (which would have dumped us back in bottom place) and neither Barnsley nor Hull had games.
Poor Pete Sixsmith, enduring yet another game in which Sunderland looked every inch relegation candidates, twice trailing to and only then scraping a draw against another side looking every inch relegation candidates.
Shortly after the error-strewn match, the glaringly obvious reason for there being no post-match managerial press conference was confirmed. The men largely responsible for the Sunderland’s failings, and therefore in part responsible for the manager’s impotency in the face of a great club’s decline, had sacked Simon Grayson. Where do we go from here? In Sixer’s case, to the welcome respite of Christmas Santa duties …
To no great surprise, Simon Grayson has been sacked after yet another wretched result, 3-3 at home to the Championship’s bottom club, Bolton Wanderers.
Nice guy out of his depth or decent manager with all the odds stacked against him by a basket case of a football club. Either way, Grayson is no longer Sunderland’s manager.
Having scraped two draws from two home games he said himself were important to win after the horrendous start to the season, Grayson found on Tuesday night that the patience of our absent owner and present but struggling chief executive had run out.
Five hundred years ago Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to a door and started a revolution against the established church.
One hundred years ago Arthur Balfour sent the 68 words to Baron Rothschild which led to a revolution in the Middle-East.
And one minute ago, as the final whistle blew, Pete Sixsmith summed up our own need for a revolution in a simple, 7 word text.
Salut! Sunderland tends to avoid, when it has its thinking cap on, such phrases as ‘must-win game’. It has become one of the more irritating of footballing cliches, on a par with the inability of newspapers and broadcasters to abstain from referring to people who ‘cannot be named for legal reasons’, which is among the more irritating of journalistic cliches (there’s usually just the one reason, one that can easily be shared with readers).
I don’t think Micky Gray used “must-win” while I was listening to him on TalkSport this morning but the presenter, Jim White certainly did. And we know where we’ll be if we manage yet again to lose …
Here, anyway, are a few questions and answers with the Bolton fan site Burnden Aces to reciprocate its help in finding us a Who are You? candidate. I felt a bit of a fraud since my first match of this season is not until Boro at the weekend but the questions arrived too late for me to ask Pete Sixsmith, who suffers more than most, to do the honours. But like all exiled or partly exiled SAFC fans, I keep in touch as best I can, aided and abetted by Barnes and Benno and, of course, the mighty if slimmed-down Sixer …
Amid all the dross that flows from sportsmen given media platforms, without or perhaps usually with the aid of ghostwriters, a refreshingly incisive summing-up of the awful decline of Sunderland AFC appears in the Sunderland Echo column of Gary Rowell.
This hero of Sunderland’s history – his proudest moment as a player for the club he also supported came with that hat-trick at St James’ Park in 1979 – needed just a couple of sentences tochart the slump since Big Sam led the side to rousing, season-saving home wins, with three goals apiece against Chelsea and then Everton.
Gabe John is our young Bolton Wanderers supporter in the Who are You? interview suite (aka an e-mail exchange). He writes for Burnden Aces, with which fan site we are happy to make re-acquaintance though unhappy for the reason why … and like all supporters of teams we face at the Stadium of Light, he expects Bolton to win on Tuesday night …
John McCormick writes: if you’re old, like myself, Monsieur Salut, Malcolm and Pete Sixsmith, Bolton Wanderers will probably be there or thereabouts in your memories. They are a proper club, with a proper history and I’ve no doubt they fired the imagination of a lot of youngsters in that long ago era of dubbin, casies and nailed-in studs. We haven’t shared much of that history, however, as we’ve tended to rise as Bolton Wanderers have fallen and vice versa, as Pete explains below:
Monsieur Salut writes: it is a telling feature of Sunderland’s predicament that away fans, naturally talking up their teams’ expectations, are correctly predicting the results of games at the Stadium of Light.
So far, the Bolton Wanderers Who are You? has not landed. I have no idea what the man in the hot seat, Gabe John, from the fan site Burnden Aces, will forecast.
Chris Mann, who runs the site, may have been trying to humour us when I suggested he must be feeling upbeat about Tuesday night. “More a sense of pessimism,” Chris replied. “We didn’t win away all season when we were relegated and yet to do so on the road this season – despite coming ever so close yesterday. Your winless home run is no match for our 32 without a Championship away win, so not feeling too optimistic.”