Bonfire night competition: name the firework that felled Villa’s Agbonlahor

Need for speedImage: Marion O’Sullivan

Just a spot of fun, and Nov 5 is still a few days away.

But there is a serious enough underlying message. A small prize awaits the reader who comes up with the best name for the firework that, according to the report I am about to share, seemed to send poor Gabriel Agbonlahor reeling on Saturday.

We all know what happened next. Larsson, against whom the imaginary foul was given, accused Agbonlahor of cheating but Richard Dunne headed the resulting free kick past Westwood to put Villa ahead.

Read more

Newcastle’s Barton brushes aside Arsenal’s Gervinho in cheating stakes

Red & White in Black & WhiteMrs Logic in whimsical mood

Yesterday’s harmless piece of fun had our neighbours foaming at the mouths, most of them spectacularly missing the point that the writer, Pete Sixsmith, was quoting words written by someone else (though amid all the charges of “drivel”, “boring”, “gash” and “*****”, one lad did nobly own up to knowing who Sandy Denny was). But derby week being what it is, the banter must go on …

Even the leader of Newcastle’s care-in-the-community brigade now admits he was wrong to call Gervinho a cheat, however much the Arsenal player made of the contact he received in the United penalty box.

Read more

Newcastle’s Joey Barton, Arsenal’s Gervinho: a marriage made in heaven

It began as a question in our Who Are You? series of pre-match interviews with the fans of opposing clubs, about diving and other forms of cheating.

Then it became the Eduardo Question, in honour of the Brazilian-born Croatian player’s monumental contribution to the art, and finally the Walcott Question as a sincere tribute to Theo for his candid admission – coupled with an apology – that he had dived in an unsuccessful attempt to con a referee.

Read more

How to end gamesmanship and cheating: pink mittens and goggles

Ken Gambles*, a stalwart of the North Yorkshire branch of the Sunderland AFC Supporters’ Association, casts a whimsical eye over footballers’ habits he’d go to unusual lengths to stamp out …

Despite being a traditionalist. I amazed myself at how quickly I came to adapt to the back-pass law, penalty shoot-outs and even Sky’s razzmatazz.

There remain, however, some aspects of the game which consistently annoy and spoil enjoyment of the match – and I don’t just mean a Sunderland defeat.

Read more

Theo Walcott: why the FA rejected absurd call for retrospective punishment

Monsieur Salut did not expect to have to spring to the defence of Theo Walcott again following the recent piece headlined The star’s apology to Arsenal and Leeds that changed cheating debate. He felt the need all the same …

While we had the ear of the FA – on the question of Darren Bent, Fabio Capello and criteria for England selection (which do not, we were assured, include geography, ie where people play) – it seemed a good idea to ask about Theo Walcott’s confession that he dived in the hope of winning a penalty just when Arsenal most needed one.

The News of the World, not your favourite paper if its staff have been listening to your private phone calls, had two pieces that caught my eye on Sunday.

Read more

Sparing Eduardo in our new season of ‘Who are You?’

Three days to go for the first match. And only three hours or so to go for our first Who Are They? questionnaire – minus, to the relief of Gooners and dive enthusiasts everywhere, a certain question …

The dawn of a new season brings the usual mix of excitement, hope and fear. And the return of one of Salut! Sunderland‘s most popular features.

Read more

Cheating, or just playing the game?


Have we reached the stage where the art of cheating should be taught to children as no more than a basic technique of football? Examine the differing reactions to Suarez (because he gloated), Neuer (because he denied an Englishman) and Jeremy Robson (because his young lad was the one taking liberties). Is there, Jeremy wonders, just a spot of hypocrisy in our approach to bending the rules? …

Following up on the article from last week about goal line technology, a lot of the debate here on Salut! Sunderland has extended from “righting the wrongs”, resulting from poor officiating, through to a more comprehensive analysis of the problems associated with cheating, which from here on in may be referred to as “Suarezing” or “being Suarezed”.

Read more

More nasty practices: trying to get opponents booked or dismissed

balls2Image: Shine 2010

The rotten face of football part two. In its relentless campaign to show up football cheats for what they are (whoever they play for), Salut! Sunderland has suffered arrogant, whingeing fans of other clubs who believe it happens only to them, never by. But we’ve been consistent, and as ready to condemn such acts by our players as by opponents. And the World Cup has reminded us of most of the forms cynical cheating takes …

To borrow from and adapt the words commonly attributed to Jack London (he was talking about scabs) ….

After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, and the vampire, he had some awful substance left with which he made, for the game of football, the diver/feigner of injury/shirtpuller/bonebreaker and Suarez.

Read more

The rotten face of football: Suarez finding glory in cheating


Bill Taylor, pictured on a visit to St Tropez, has probably watched as much World Cup football as most. From out west in Toronto, he’s enthused, criticised and slumbered – whichever response has seemed appropriate – his way through the competition. But some of the downright dishonesty he’s seen has left a nasty taste in the mouth. You can take it as read that this is not the last, but the first, Salut! Sunderand piece that will examine the cheating side of football …

If this World Cup has proved anything, it’s how rotten football has become at international level.

Read more