Monsieur Salut writes: there are views that are unpopular to hold in Sunderland and the SAFC-supporting catchment area that stretches throughout County Durham and beyond. One such view, as a mostly disappointing start to the season under Jack Ross is followed by a mostly woeful spell in new hands, is that we must be patient, maintain our loyal support and avoid the sort of collective negativity that unsettles the very players we want to perform better.
After the alarming defeat to Burton Albion, prolonging a calamitous opening (5-0 vs Tranmere apart) for Phil Parkinson, Peter Lynn, aka Wrinkly Pete, wanted to get this off his chest …
Jake: The darkest of dark days. Martin Harvey RIP. Burton Albion came to Wearside knowing that they had never lost …
He must be looking forward to donning the red and white even more as we managed to hold on to a lead for mere seconds this evening, and I imagine he will also be relieved that Malcolm Dawson will be doing the match report; his seven words at half time (in the title) and and in the text (below) that winged its way to Salut! HQ on the final whistle said enough, and that’s without those that came between them.
John McCormick, associate editor, writes: things have quietened down with our ‘who to follow’ poll, as we might expect. Portsmouth, Sunderland and Ipswich are clear leaders, with not much between them, after which we have Rotherham and Peterborough. Then comes Coventry, followed at a distance by Donny, Lincoln and Burton.
That’s interesting because on Wednesday over at Roker Report, Nick Barnes, who knows more about football than I ever will, identified Lincoln and Burton as teams that could mount a challenge to Sunderland, along with Ipswich, Portsmouth, Peterborough and Coventry. He didn’t mention Rotherham.
I could extend our watch list to eight clubs, even nine on the grounds that Donny are ahead of Lincoln and Burton in our poll, and I have added clubs during the season – Luton last season being the most recent – but it makes graphics difficult to follow. So I’m going to stick with six.
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.
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.
I thought I’d take a look at their finances. Nothing detailed, just a skim through any entries at Companies House and a quick perusal of a search engine, enough to kill some time I have and satisfy idle curiosity. My idea was to divide the twenty into two and cover 10 clubs each time. After that matters should have moved ahead with the Lancashire Bs and Sunderland’s takeover and I should be able to revisit these four.
Malcolm Dawson writes…..with a little more luck we could have had all three points but in truth we were fortunate to come away with a draw. If that sounds more than a little contradictory there’s more to come.
We hit the woodwork twice, had a goal disallowed (correctly in my view), theirs came about after an attempted pass inside took a wicked deflection off Flanagan’s outstretched leg and I thought we had the better side. But we surrendered possession far too easily, left big open spaces in midfield and at the back (which the Brewers exploited) rarely won a second ball and more than once needed Jon McLaughlin to be on top form to keep us in the game. All that and a ref who once again failed to impress.
We might have had the better side but in my eyes Jack Ross’s boys only performed at about 40 per cent of their ability whilst the visitors were closer to 90. I left the ground knowing that an automatic promotion spot will be ours if we can match Barnsley’s and Portsmouth’s results over the remaining games but also a little concerned that three of our remaining six games are at home, where we might be undefeated in the league, but where we have also dropped a lot of points in games we might have expected to win.
I’m writing this intro before receiving Pete Sixsmith‘s match report and wonder whether his view of the game and his assessment of our current position matches my own.
Well it’s here now and you, no doubt like me, will be eager to read his thoughts.
Even though today’s draw does move us into second, is the result good enough? There will be naysayers but, let’s not forget, this was not our strongest side and it was our fourth game in how many days? Surely we’d have taken this position a month ago, wouldn’t we?
Pete Sixsmith’s report will be here tomorrow. For now, here’s a quick seven word taste of what is to come:
Take a look at the Salut! Sunderland slideshow created mostly from readers’ photos after @SunderlandAFC–@officialpompey (and a song from Jake) … go to https://t.co/2LTl07SYk4 – and you’re welcome to join the group while you’re there! pic.twitter.com/62N2JLvZnJ
— Colin Randall (@salutsunderland) April 9, 2019
It grew and grew. Salut! Sunderland invited readers old and new to contribute their photos from a great if ultimately disappointing weekend in London for the Checkatrade Trophy final against Pompey at Wembley, writes Monsieur Salut.
Slowly, pictures started to arrive. And then our associate editor John McCormick chipped in with his more advanced techie skills to turn a spur-of-the-moment idea into a project, creating the slideshow you can see by following the link in my tweet above to the Salut! Sunderland Facebook group.
(John Mac adds – I’ve now managed to embed the video at the bottom of the page too, but our facebook page is always worth a visit)