John McCormick writes: should I be surprised or not that Lee Cattermole is the only survivor of our last trip to Wembley? After all, it was five years – or six managers, not including two caretakers – ago? We fans are much more constant aren’t we, which brings me to Pete Sixsmith, who before he departed County Durham on yet another foray south, left the final chapter from an excellent series that we trust you’ve all enjoyed:
John McCormick writes: 1985, Liverpool. Someone in a taxi had kindly left a redundancy notice with my name on it at the door of my workplace. I had two very young kids. I’d just moved house, only to be clobbered by a series of mortgage rate rises – 13.5 per cent springs to mind – and I had no spare cash. Going to the League Cup final hardly entered my mind and I never tried to get myself a ticket. It was one of those things.
So was the game, as Pete Sixsmith recounts:
Scots have been linked with Sunderland from the days of James Gillespie, our most capped international, who was plying his trade down here at the opening of the Forth Bridge. In the century that followed they became feared as a footballing nation, and long after mighty Celtic had stormed fortress Europe, they were still able to wreak havoc. And it wasn’t just their magical players that did the wreaking.
Pete Sixsmith knows this, having lived to tell the tale…
John McCormick writes: I thought we never looked like losing, and I like the way this club is shaping up for the end of the season. That doesn’t mean anything’s done and dusted yet, but as Pete Sixsmith’s post game seven word text makes clear, we have at least one pleasant diversion to look forward to as well as a growing sense of belief
As promised last week, Jim Chappell makes a brief return to give us an extra helping before our second trip to Bristol in a fortnight.
How do you feel about that trip? Jim has other priorities, as do we, but I somehow think we’ll be showing a little more enthusiasm than Jim can muster, which isn’t surprising given our respective positions.
We are long past the stage of pretending not really to care. Of course we want to beat Bristol Rovers and set up another Wembley date.
The Checkatrade Trophy may not have the allure of the FA Cup. But the prospect of a massive crowd, given the presence in the final of another side with passionate support, Portsmouth, means us as their opponents would ensure a truly big match occasion.
Most of us would probably take automatic promotion before a Checkatrade final victory, let alone a win in the semis.
But what if we could do both?
Have your say. Monsieur Salut will come up with a special-ish prize though this will be awarded only to a winner predicting a Sunderland triumph. Otherwise, usual rules apply – be first to be right, have a UK delivery address and whoever you support, you win something.
Ha’way the Lads.
GUESS THE SCORE: The Checktrade rules are simple – no extra time but penalties if scores are level at 90 minutes. For the prize mug – whoever you support – you must correctly predict the score at full time and, if the teams are drawing, the winner on penalties (don’t worry about the shoot-out score). And you must have a UK delivery address …
Sunderland have had some great moments against Man City in cup games. The 3-1 win in a fifth round FA Cup replay, on our way to Wembley glory in 1973, was one. Wembley again, for the League Cup final in 2014, was another.
We invaded London, steamed ahead thanks to Fabio Borini’s tremendous goal and should have seen him double the lead before half time. Steven Fletcher missed a good chance at 1-2 but by the end, three classy City goals had seen us off.
In that Cinderella of trophies, the Checkatrade, we face City boys not men in the quarterfinals but – as that implies – find ourselves two steps away from a Wembley return. Read again how Pete Sixsmith saw the 2014 League Cup final …
Pete didn’t quite qualify for Mr Robert Halfon MP’s tribute to “scumbag football hooligans”, missing out on the Covent Garden riot (implies Mr H) or good-natured gathering (said the cops) and travelling down on the Durham SAFCSA branch charabanc. This is his wonderful account of a great occasion we wouldn’t let defeat spoil (and the MP did have the grace to apologise, and to Salut! Sunderland no less: https://safc.blog/2014/03/robert-halfon-speaks-i-will-regret-that-tweet-for-the-rest-of-my-life/)…