From Morecambe to Blackpool, Blackburn, Bolton and Bury, then Liverpool, Everton and Tranmere. It’s an Historic Lancashire Ramble

WordPress seems happier with Win7 than Win10, and a change of computer has let me add more content and repost the report I did a few hours ago:

It was January 2017 when I last reported on this side of the Pennines, which is not surprising, given the season(s) – and close seasons – we’ve had recently. it’s a bit quieter now, so I thought it a good time to revisit before things get lively again. Some of the clubs I visited have improved their circumstances, others have seen their situations worsen and quite a few of them are now sharing a division with us, not all in the best of circumstances.

Indeed, some will make you wonder why all the fuss about us finishing fifth and missing out on promotion against Charlton, who themselves are not in the best of circumstances, given the owner is looking to sell and appears to have already given up on promotion, although he hadn’t ruled it out completely yesterday.

Charlton fans are welcome to post their thoughts but Charlton are not the issue today, the focus is firmly on the historic County of Lancashire

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The latest Wembley heartbreak: a Charlton view on why they won and what Sunderland will do now

Olivia Hutchison’s great pre-match shot. The players’ shots, sadly, couldn’t match her standards

Monsieur Salut writes: back in January, before one of those games against Charlton we probably should have won but didn’t, our Addicks ‘Who are You?’ interviewee, Richard Justham, told us: ‘I think you will win the league. You have a squad not just a team and would have more pulling power than the rest of us in the January window .. if you wanted to sign – let’s say – Tom Eaves from Gillingham to help you over the line I am sure you would have both the finances and prestige to do so. Partly for this reason I suspect you will brush away Barnsley, Luton and Portsmouth’.

Well, we know what happened instead. Here is Richard’s Charlton perspective on the playoff final, what went wrong for Sunderland and what will happen next …

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Wembley Soapbox: another Sunderland-Charlton letdown. ‘Why do I do all this?’

    Pete Sixsmith with his (and my) great pal Pete Horan’s elder daughter Clare

Monsieur Salut writes: it wasn’t in truth so different from what many of us expected. If you’re not sufficiently older than 46 to have seen our last win at Wembley, as opposed to being a babe in someone’s arms, losing comes naturally.

This was awful. We didn’t even huff and puff very much. Gifted a goal, we retreated as if to defend for 85+ minutes what would have been the most bizarre winner in playoff history. And soon surrendered that marginal early dominance.

Did we proceed to create a chance, beyond the tame Grigg header? No. Did the supersub work? Yes, Charlton’s ex-Sunderland man Jonny Williams, who was instantly a threat; not the probably semi-fit Aiden McGeady, remembered mostly for dangerously losing possession. Did our neat little passing triangles by the touchline ever lead to anything better than a passback to McLaughlin? No. Did our centre backs distribute well or make defensive headers go anywhere near fellow-Sunderland players? You already know.

It could all go right as it did when we last lost to Charlton in a playoff final. Equally, it could be a turbulent summer in and around the club. We’ll see. Hats off to our marvellous support (long-suffering is now a given, an adjective that doesn’t need to be inserted each time) and apologies to my granddaughter, Maya, aged 10, for making this her first outing as a Sunderland supporter.

Pete Sixsmith tells the sorry tale …

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Sixer’s Heartbreak Sevens: The Wembley curse lives on as Charlton gain promotion

John McCormick writes: I watched on TV. I thought we were poor throughout, with our forwards and midfield struggling to link up,  and as a result we created few chances. I’m not saying Charlton deserved their victory but they did manage to put the ball into the net three times whereas we didn’t manage it once.

But being there in person makes a difference. Pete Sixsmith may have a very different opinion from me and I’ll abide by his judgement, which we can expect in a day or so. For now, he has little to say, though the seven words he texted do enough to convey what we all feel:

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Salut Sunderland’s End of Season Reviews: (1) seeing the bright side of life

Above, our illustrator Jake manages to adapt the late Jackson C Frank’s brilliant Blues Run the Game and create a song for Sunderland at Wembley. Bravo.

And now Salut! Sunderland kicks off its annual series of end-of-season reviews even before the season’s quite over.

Our deputy editor Malcolm Dawson wants to make the point that come what may on Wembley Way, Sunderland AFC is in a much better place at least since the short-lived spell of optimism after Big Sam’s great escape and probably since the glorious part of the Peter Reid era.

If you feel you have something worth saying by way of your own review of the season, follow the link in this piece

OK, I know the season isn’t  officially over until sometime after 5pm UK time on Sunday, but whatever the result I feel it appropriate to post my thoughts during the lead up to the game.

Many people live in the moment and events change those peoples’ perceptions whilst others look back to the past, reflect on former glories and perhaps have an unrealistic perception of where things are today.

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Luton then Barnsley, Sunderland, Portsmouth, Charlton and Doncaster? Who knows

This will be my last visit to our “ones to watch* series before the end of the season.

You’ll have to judge for yourself whether or not our readership, ably assisted by the Coventry Ninjas**, got it right at the beginning. For my part, with three of the five – Portsmouth, Charlton and Barnsley – fighting for second place and another two still with a chance of the playoffs I’m inclined to think they didn’t do too badly.

The problem is that the sixth club is Sunderland, and that’s who they are all fighting with.

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Coventry hanging on to Doncaster and Charlton as Portsmouth chase Barnsley, Sunderland and Luton.

Another international break brings an opportunity to revisit the six clubs our readers* and the Coventry ninjas**  chose way back in the summer, and I’ve added Doncaster and Luton Town, who thoroughly merit more than a mention.

I last visited this series at the end of January, when I had this to say:

“… before I go I must mention Coventry City. They will finish the month with only four points from a possible fifteen. February includes some winnable games but I can’t see them doing us any favours when they travel to Kenilworth Road. Mid-table safety looks to be their destiny and I’m almost certain they won’t be returning to this series.

But you never know, do you? That’s what football’s all about.”

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The League One breakaway: Peterborough dent Charlton’s progress

Part one of our mid-season review looked forward to the Christmas games.

Part two looked at what had happened up to New Year’s Day.

Part three was delayed until yesterday, and I’m taking the time to update that post after yesterday’s results. The first part of this one is the same as yesterday, given that we didn’t play. It’s the discussion   of the breakaway group that has changed:

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Portsmouth, Luton, Barnsley and Sunderland, plus Charlton – the League One breakaway group?

Part one of  our mid-season review looked forward to the Christmas games.

Part two looked at what had happened up to New Year’s Day.

Part three was meant to go out after the Luton game. Repetitive strain injury decided otherwise and I still have to take care so here’s what I’ve managed, with a focus on a couple of comments I made towards the end of that second part:

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