SAFC vs Burnley ‘Who are You?’: Dyche, Barton, Bob Lord and us

Duncan Sutcliffe (on the right, with his dad Colin): ‘sorry, Sunderland, you’re the worst we’ve seen at the Turf’

Colin Randall wites: What a fabulous set of answers, from a proper supporter of a proper football club, brought to us by Pete Sixsmith, who met him on holiday in Italy and tried to lead him astray (ie by persuading him along to some some Under 23s reserve game Sixer had spotted in the local paper). As I read the first, long answer from Duncan Sutcliffe* I wondered whether the interview ought to be cut in two. I decided against, because a) it’s the sort of read I’d personally want to see in one go and b) because Salut! Sunderland readers generally warm to exchanges of this kind and this quality with people who essentially, share their outlook on football. Great stuff, if ultimately grim reading for us, Duncan – what a pleasure to have you back again ….

Read moreSAFC vs Burnley ‘Who are You?’: Dyche, Barton, Bob Lord and us

Burnley Guess the Score and a Hull fan aids Bradley Lowery’s fund

Jake: ‘is there any point in urging a special performance?’

Monsieur Salut writes: I had an itch to get this week’s Guess the Score out there, but an e-mail from a Hull City supporter exiled in Sri Lanka removed any doubt. You may recall that last week, despite Sunderland’s inactivity, we offered a mini-edition of Nick Barnes’s splendid Matchbook for the first to post correct scorelines in two games of interest to but not involving SAFC, partly because some unexpected advertising enabled us to do so and partly because the publishers, Tales from Red and Whites are paying £5 into the Bradley Lowery fund for each copy bought. So there were two winners – a Hull supporter and Bradley. Read on …

Read moreBurnley Guess the Score and a Hull fan aids Bradley Lowery’s fund

Sixer’s Travels: as a postponed trip to Middlesbrough mercifully spares one fate …

But it was still a weekend of pleasure rather than the usual Sunderland-induced pain, according to Pete Sixsmith. He saw some decent non-league football, albeit watching Shildon lose, and some rugby league. He’s already worried about Saturday but put aside such cares to compose another piece of classy writing combining sport, social observation, politics and travel …

Thanks to Middlesbrough for making the quarter finals of the FA Cup. Not only were they brushed aside by Manchester City, their presence in what used to be called the Sixth Round, spared us from having to go there on a Saturday and thereby probably spoiling our weekend.

Read moreSixer’s Travels: as a postponed trip to Middlesbrough mercifully spares one fate …

Wrinkly Pete: Nice legs, shame about the football.

Peter Lynn, aka Wrinkly Pete

John McCormick writes: Pete Lynn, aka Wrinkly Pete, is no stranger to this website. Nor is he a stranger to the Stadium of Light, despite having to make a considerable effort to get there.

But make the effort he does, and sometimes the journey, if not the result, makes him wax lyrical. Here he is explaining in his usual inimitable manner why he enjoys the trip up north:

Read moreWrinkly Pete: Nice legs, shame about the football.

Sunderland and Hull, Middlesbrough or Palace? Swansea or Bournemouth? Not WBA, as Leicester take off

John McCormick
John McCormick: We’re  bottom and there’s now a gap

When I last reported in with the Salut Sunderland relegation watch we had had some recent wins but were still in the relegation zone, along with Swansea and Hull. (Swansea weren’t one of the clubs chosen in our start-of season poll but I included them in December on the grounds that some people did vote for “another club” and they  had begun to fit that bill after a decline).

That was only a month ago, just after the transfer window closed, since when new signings have had time to settle and new managers to generate – but maybe not sustain – a bounce. With a cup  weekend giving most of them a breather we have another chance to review  the situation.

But before I do, I have to congratulate West Bromwich Albion, who passed through our metaphorical barrier with ease. Would that we could reach such heights.

Read moreSunderland and Hull, Middlesbrough or Palace? Swansea or Bournemouth? Not WBA, as Leicester take off

Sunderland, Palace, Hull, Swansea, Middlesbrough and Leicester – pick any three

John McCormick
John McCormick: We’re  bottom but the gap’s closing

When I last reported in with the Salut Sunderland relegation watch we had had some recent wins but were still in the relegation zone, along with Swansea and Hull. (Swansea weren’t one of the clubs chosen in our start-of season poll but I included them in December on the grounds that some people did vote for “another club” and they  had begun to fit that bill after a decline).

That was just before Christmas, not long before the transfer window opened, and just around the time struggling clubs might decide a new manager might help them take advantage of it. Now, with all that business done (free agents notwithstanding) it’s time to take stock before we head to the end of season crunch games, six pointers and desperation sackings that define the struggle for 39 points.

Read moreSunderland, Palace, Hull, Swansea, Middlesbrough and Leicester – pick any three

Sixer’s Burnley Soapbox: thank heavens he can write about travel, too

Malcolm Dawson writes…..Shildon play Whitley Bay in the Northern League Cup this evening. Peter Sixsmith will be there hoping to see a team in red and white progress in a knock-out competition. He travelled to the North Lancashire hotbed of football that is Burnley last night, more in hope than expectation of seeing a team in red and white progress in a knock-out competition. Burnley is a proper town, with a proper football club and proper folk drinking proper beer. It has a lot to commend it. If like me you agonised with Gary Bennett, whose commentary grew more and more agonised as the match went on, you’ll perhaps be relieved that you weren’t there in person to witness another shabby performance. Pete was. Here are his thoughts.

BURNLEY FA CUP REPLAY

Another away game, another disappointing journey home and another search for the words to describe a dismal performance.

So let’s look at the trip and do a bit of a travel piece. The fact that the Durham Branch were prepared to run a bus was a pleasant surprise. So along with a rival writer, we were waiting in Spennymoor at 3.00pm as the dinky 33 seater (without a toilet) rolled up to the bus stop.

There were 10 of us scattered around the coach, all stretched out and with ample reading material. The aforementioned rival had his nose in Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome (Quiz alert – What does the K stand for? Which Midlands town did JKJ come from?). I read the remnants of the weekend papers and The Rugby League Express while The Sunday Times circulated.

Off we went over Blubberhouses Moor, past Menwith Hill and Skipton (one of my favourite towns) and into the hill top town of Colne. A break for an hour or so took us to a micro pub called Boyce’s Barrels, situated opposite the Colne Hippodrome – a splendid old cinema.

Boycie turned out not to be an Essex second hand car dealer with a pneumatic laugh but a jolly East Lancs lad who clearly loved his ale and who wisely sold beers from outside the area. A splendid pint of mild was quaffed from a Somerset Brewery called RCH and a half of bitter from a brewery whose name I have forgotten.

From Colne we traversed the M56 several times before we entered Burnley from above and saw the gleaming lights of Turf Moor in the distance. The coach was parked outside the ground and it was straight in and into the wooden seats of the Cricket Ground stand – state of the art 40 years ago but looking a wee bit tired now.

That’s the good bit over. On to the reason for us being there…………

Moyes shuffled his cards a little bit. He started with three at the back – Jones, Djilobodji and Denayer – with Manquillo and Van Aanholt playing as wing backs. Donald Love combined with George Honeyman in midfield (Love and Honeyman – Florists to the Polari) with the chosen skipper Seb Larsson in the middle. Up front those two powerhouses, Borini and Januzaj (I gather Wakefield Trinity are looking at them to play in the second row in the upcoming Rugby League season) were there to rattle in the goals. A decent selection under the circumstances – those being that we appear to have no more than 13 fit senior players.

And as the Countdown stalls at the first hurdle Benno is less than impressed with Don Vito’s distribution..

It started reasonably well. The three central defenders coped well enough and we buzzed around a little bit in midfield. Unfortunately, we appeared to be completely incapable of passing the ball to our own players while Burnley, entirely unreasonably, persisted in passing to their own men. For 43 minutes we held out until Jason Denayer lost his concentration and lost Sam Vokes who, entirely unreasonably, turned a fine header past Vito Mannone. One down at half time, there was hope for the second half as we attacked the goal behind which the 1800 Sunderland supporters (including a group of Belgian groundhoppers who happened to be Anderlecht fans) were massed.

Unfortunately we never saw much action as our defenders decided to kick the ball to anyone wearing a claret and blue shirt. Barton and Defour ran the midfield while Keane and Tarkowski swatted away the “threat” posed by Borini and Januzaj. And so it went on. Aimless long balls from the defenders, plenty of pointless running from the midfielders and absolutely nothing from the forwards. Defoe replaced Love (what’s Love got to do with it?) and we reverted to a back four but the midfield guile was still lacking and we never threatened.

On came Andre Gray and he terrorised Billy Jones sufficiently to wrap the game up before Seb Larsson finally forced a save out of Burnley’s third choice keeper Tom Pope in the 90th minute. Sean Dyche could have played his club’s Under 11 goalie in this game as our attacking threat was so puny.

Back to the coach in time to catch the rousing commentary from Sincil Bank as Lincoln City dumped Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich Town out of the old tin pot and Blackpool’s 50 travelling fans danced with delight at Oakwell when they grabbed a 119th minute winner.
Much of the talk during the day had been about a hard exit from the EU. Not for the first time, Sunderland found an easy way to exit the FA Cup. The exit from the Premier League draws ever closer.

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Moyes on the Boys at Burnley: finding a plus from another negative night

Malcolm Dawson writes: the manager has had some flak recently for his reluctance to blood some of our younger, more inexperienced players and here was a chance for him to do so. With limited resources and a game against West Brom coming up however, the only fit members of the first team squad he chose to rest were John O’Shea and Jermain Defoe with only George Honeyman given the chance to show what he could do for the full 90 minutes and Joel Osoro a cameo towards the end. Benno’s frustration was plain for all to hear during the commentary from Turf Moor. Can the manager put a positive spin on things? See for yourself by reading his post match e-mail.

David Moyes: ”praise for Honeyman”

“I’m really disappointed we are out of the Cup.

We’ve gone again with a threadbare team that we were hoping to win with but we have found it difficult against Burnley in all our games.

There were some positives – George played well for us tonight.  He trains with the first-team every day and he is around the first-team all the time. He is at an age where he can come in and handle it and I thought he was a plus for us tonight.

We played with three at the back to see if we could stop Burnley bullying us a little bit defensively. It worked for parts of the game and we did ok but we gave away a poor goal.

We were still in the game and we were looking for an equaliser, but the second one was just as bad and that seems to be the nature of us at the moment.

I wanted to do well in the Cup. We had a home draw and we were looking forward to it. Unfortunately we didn’t perform well enough to progress.”

Sixer’s Sevens: FA Cup 3rd Round replay. Burnley sink SAFC after another sad performance

Jake: catch Sixer's instant seven-word verdicts throughout the season
Jake: catch Sixer’s instant seven-word verdicts throughout the season

Monsieur Salut writes: The more Pete Sixsmith mentioned going to Burnley for the replay, the more I felt he was forcing himself to make the trip, such is the burden he carries as a Sunderland supporter and Salut! Sunderland chronicler. On commentary courtesy of Radio Newcastle, an increasingly exasperated Gary Bennett kept insisting we had a chance to rescue the game. Familiar as he is with the Northern League, Benno hoped against hope that a floodlight failure would necessitate a replayed replay. It wasn’t to be and in his succinct seven-word summary Sixer sums up his own frustrations after another disappointing trip across the Pennines …

Read moreSixer’s Sevens: FA Cup 3rd Round replay. Burnley sink SAFC after another sad performance

Burnley vs Sunderland Guess the Score as Rodwell admits supporting SAFC’s tough

Jake: ‘let’s see if we can finally beat them’

This is a Guess the Score and Who are You? combined for the FA Cup 3rd round replay at Burnley.

Salut! Sunderland is not on a go-slow or work-to-rule or in any greater sulk than usual. It just seemed unnecessary to run yet another interview with a supporter of a team we will by tomorrow night have played three times since New Year’s Eve. There’ll be a reminder later in this piece of the refreshing thoughts of our previous Burnley interviewee, Andy Robinson, about the importance of the cup to him.

Read moreBurnley vs Sunderland Guess the Score as Rodwell admits supporting SAFC’s tough