A harsh reader would say Bob Chapman brings it on himself. A drive up from the Home Counties for the Villa game weould have been enough to put off most people but four days later, he was enduring more dross from the worst Sunderland team he has seen in 54 years of following the club home and away. If only the team could play football as well as the likes of Bob and Pete Sixsmith write, we’d be out of sight at the top of the Championship. But how both of them would love to be able to report on a day out with old friends, supping good ale and recalling bands from the 1960s and 70s, without having to describe how it was all spoilt by SAFC …
Monsieur Salut writes: Ian McCullough* is a seasoned sportswriter and a friend of a friend (John Crowley, who has also occupied this hot seat). He supports QPR but has a soft spot for Sunderland and will be at Saturday’s match with a Mackem pal. His assessment of QPR’s decline could as easily apply to us.
Ian’s team has hardly had a great season but, on 40 points against our rock-bottom 28, can be fairly sure they will not finish last. Our relegation rivals are doing their best to give us a chance but it is not, so far, a chance our team seems able to grasp. Can Saturday provide enough respite from the unfortunate atmosphere when home games go wrong to enable them to play with rare assurance and pick up three points? John O’Shea talks of there still being 30 points to play for but the supporters desperately need some encouragement from Chris Coleman and whoever he can turn out.
Welcome Ian (@IanMac08 at Twitter), even it feels like intruding into private grief …
In the depths of our despair, it seems beyond belief that interest in one small corner of Sunderland AFC’s world should suddenly perk up.
But in the wake of Tuesday night’s surrender to Aston Villa, Salut! Sunderland’s Facebook group gained three new members. Not spammers, hookers or chancers – we get applictaions from them, too – but from self-evidently genuine Sunderland supporters. We’re now nudging 750 and none, as far as we know, are hookers.
Maybe Chris Coleman should print this out, fold it with something harder curled inside and rap it over the heads of our players and, if he happens to be passing in the corridor, Martin Bain.
Beyond shocking. That is Pete Sixsmith‘s withering verdict on the latest chapter in the nightmare that is Sunderland AFC. At …
Monsieur Salut welcomes anyone who has missed Salut! Sunderland‘s comprehensive buildup to tonight’s game and offers pointers to the best of that coverage…
Approaching the home game against Aston Villa, kicking off a few hours from now, the Sunderland Echo speculated that SAFC’s survival propsects may well depend on winning this match or the next one, at QPR on Saturday. If pushed, I’d say we probably need to win both or at least emerge with four points.
The crisis has reached those desperate proportions.
Confidence remains in short supply as another failure to win a game not only exposes our limited powers of resistance but confirms our desperate short-term outlook.
As Mick Goulding and others have pointed out, here and elsewhere, a draw at in-form Millwall, while creditable enough if viewed in isolation, simply isn’t good enough in our current parlous state.
Tom Jolliffe* cannot see beyond an away win at the Stadium of Light tomorrow. At least he applies a neat sense of humour, and traces of sympathy, to his asnwers about our plight and his club Aston Villa’s buoyant current state and longer-term prospects (which should not, in his view, include much room for Lewis Grabban beyond the Championship). And however controversial this will be, Monsieur Salut thinks he’s closer to being right than wrong in his assessment of Steve Bruce …
Most weeks, readers of Salut! Sunderland drop by on Friday morning to catch the latest instalment in Pete Sixsmith’s twin series, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Ground (if the game in question is away), Team (if it’s at the Stadium of Light).
This week, the Millwall edition was posted earlier than usual – namely at this link.
Stephen Jones*, our Millwall ‘Who are You?’ volunteer, joins the growing number of outsiders who doubt our ability to get out of trouble. Gone are the words of encouragement from earlier in the season. People who do not support Sunderland see the same signs as those who do. Of course, a few wins would change everything. But where are they going to come from given the difficulty we have in avoiding defeat let alone taking three points, no matter who the opposition? And a word of warning for our flaky defence: George Saville, who scored twice against us at the Stadium of Light, has been having a barren spell and may see a game against us as just the opportunity to start hitting goals again …
What will our leaky defence do next? Your guess is as good as mine but it could win you a prize, albeit only a mug.
Guess the Score is early again this week as Monsieur Salut is braving the Siberian chill to drive to what should be sunnier climes except that its snowing there as well.
And the competition reverts to the conventional format this week. That means the prediction does not have to be a winning scoreline for Sunderland to qualify.