Salut!’s week: Bolton couldn’t, but we’ve made a cup final

Mrs Logic

There must 50 ways to leave the reader in no doubt it has not been a good week. We’ve probably used them all. But let us all bounce back, get behind the Lads – again – and see how we feel at 5pm. In the meantime, here is another of our nervous backward glances at the stories you may have missed …

It can be tough keeping a promise to be upbeat. But there was one item that stood out a mile as an example of positive thinking. Click on the sub-heading to read each item, starting with a Pete Sixsmith special …

Read moreSalut!’s week: Bolton couldn’t, but we’ve made a cup final

Bolton ‘Who are You?’: Trotters, rollercoasters and sympathy for refs

Howard Page, in his band The Menu

Bolton Wanderers have had the sort of season we might have expected, in terms of position and – the Wembley humiliation notwithstanding – progress in the FA Cup. Now they have pride to play for while we are scrapping for a point or two to be absolutely safe. Howard Page* offered some months ago to be our candidate for some questions ahead of this game as we were only too pleased to remind him; Howard would accept bookings for his band to return the favour …

Read moreBolton ‘Who are You?’: Trotters, rollercoasters and sympathy for refs

Soapbox: we’re safe – Blackpool, West Ham and Wigan doomed

There’s a big maybe, or series of maybes. First of all, Tangerine dreamers, Hammers and Latics straying this way should take comfort: Pete Sixmith‘s specialist subject is geography not maths. But he’s done the calculations using the BBC predictor page (see footnote*) and very much wanted the headline to read: “It’s official – we’re safe.” To M Salut, that sounded too much like tempting fate …

Whiling away
an hour at work this morning, as my Year 11 group negotiated a tricky Media Studies assignment by comparing the online version of Bliss magazine with the printed one (cutting edge of academic education at Ferryhill – we annotated in Latin!), I turned to the BBC predictor page and worked out the rest of the season’s results.

And the good news is we will not go down. Indeed, we will finish with the princely total of 42 points, a real tribute to the effort and determination shown since January.

Read moreSoapbox: we’re safe – Blackpool, West Ham and Wigan doomed

When SuperKev’s Birmingham magic wasn’t enough

It’s on YouTube so it must be OK.

Salut! Sunderland wanted Birmingham to go through to the FA Cup semi-finals because the Charlie Hurley link with Bolton, right at the end of his playing career, was outweighed by the combined Kevin Phillips/Jimmy Montgomery factor.

Read moreWhen SuperKev’s Birmingham magic wasn’t enough

Ha’way the Lasses – with apologies to Manchester, Stoke & Bolton Lads

Image: Women’s Football North East

Once again Salut! Sunderland has reason to salute the Sunderland Women’s Football team, victors in the FA Cup match that actually mattered …

The FA Cup semi-finals will be played between Manchester United and Manchester City, and Stoke City and Bolton Wanderers.

It has not escaped the attention of everyone that M Salut’s four semi-finalists, as nominated in a preview that appeared here on Saturday morning, were Arsenal, Reading, West Ham United and Birmingham City.

Read moreHa’way the Lasses – with apologies to Manchester, Stoke & Bolton Lads

Cup wishlist: Man United, Man City out. Arsenal or Reading’s trophy

Bob Stokoe statue, Stadium of Light, SunderlandImage: Mrs Logic

Salut! Sunderland has absolutely nothing against the city of Manchester. We hold no grudges against Stoke or Bolton.

But choices have to be made. Sunderland’s humiliating exit at the earliest possible stage of the FA Cup means we have been able to pick our runners at will in subsequent rounds.

So to do our bit to restore interest in the ailing old competition, colours will now be nailed to the FA Cup mast.

Read moreCup wishlist: Man United, Man City out. Arsenal or Reading’s trophy

Bolton Soapbox: Cattermole causes Coyle to complain

If Saturday in Sunderland was cold by normal standards, it was positively balmy by comparison with what was happening almost everywhere else. But 1245 is a rotten kickoff time, as witnessed by empty seats that cannot all be attributed to the weather. All the same, three good points made it all seem like a heatwave. Pete Sixsmith reports on the tough encounter that awaited those of us who made the effort …

Could there have been a worse time for this game? The Saturday before Christmas, a 1245 kick off and visitors who rarely bring more than a couple of coachloads of fans.

Add to that the fact that many people still see Bolton as the personification of grimness in football and I think we did bloody well to attract just under 35,000 Sunderland fans to the Stadium on Saturday.

Read moreBolton Soapbox: Cattermole causes Coyle to complain

Alan Shearer is legitimate


Not the most popular statement a Sunderland supporter can make here, and directly at odds with the first line of the song, but it is the season of goodwill …

Masquerading as a Clio-driving visitor from France, not so far from the truth, Monsieur Salut went undercover after the victory over Bolton.

Read moreAlan Shearer is legitimate

Sixer’s Sevens: Bolton (h)


When you worry about getting to the game, whether it will be on, whether you’ll get back, three points – however tough we make them to secure – are heartily welcome. Always a threat going forward and generally safe at the back, we lacked finishing punch against a hard-working team that started the day above us.

This, then, is Sunderland AFC in snapshot, the most recent of Pete Sixsmith’s inimitable seven-word verdicts on each of our games. The full archive – see link below – encapsulates the matchday experiences, from darkest gloom to sublime elation, of a fan who is usually there …

Dec 18 2010 SAFC (1) 1 Bolton Wanderers (0) 0 Marginally the better team. Merry Christmas all

Dec 11 2010 Fulham (0) 0 SAFC (0) 0 Unambitiously scrappy draw, but Mensah was immense

Dec 5 SAFC (1) 1 West Ham United (0) 0 Made hard work of beating relegation certainties

Nov 27 Wolves (0) 3 SAFC (0) 2 Points thrown away by totally inept defending

Nov 22 SAFC (1) 2 Everton (1) 2 Fair result but should have held on

Nov 14 Chelsea (0) 0 SAFC (1) 3 Best performance in years: a stunning show

To see Sixer’s Sevens in full, click here. If an asterisk precedes the comment, the words that follow are the work of someone else because Pete is for once absent from the game or his verdict has been delayed …

SAFC v Bolton, with ominous news for Aston Villa


Next up among the Bolton fans who answered our “Who are You?” Mayday message: not my old camarade Ian Jones, royal photographer of note (Monsieur Salut, naturellement, has republican tendencies but we always worked together well), but the next best thing, his brother-in-law Peter Stott*. Interesting thoughts, not least on a certain “comedy club” and a surprise relegation candidate ..

Salut! Sunderland: What a great start for Bolton. – you must be getting nosebleeds? Is it purely down to Owen Coyle?

Absolutely. Owen Coyle has only made a couple of additions to the squad that he inherited from Gary Megson but he has totally transformed the style of football we play. The mustn’t lose style has gone and has been replaced by attractive passing and attacking football. There have been several games this season where the team on the field had none of Coyle’s signings but played in the Coyle style. Tat in itself demonstrates that its down to Coyle because we never saw anything attractive when Megson was in charge.

Read moreSAFC v Bolton, with ominous news for Aston Villa