John McCormick writes: outside the clouds have rolled in and the rain is sheeting down. It’s a grey day. Inside only the heating system is keeping the cold out. Normally an e-mail from Pete Sixsmith would mean a post bringing cheer and warmth, good feeling and heartiness. So the one that arrived but a few minutes ago was more than welcome.
Alas, some times it’s better to travel than to arrive:
Season End Reviews: (6) seeking bright spots amid the mismanagement, including Coleman’s
John McCormick, associate editor, writes in the latest of Salut! Sunderland’s end-of-season reviews (see all contributions here):
I only made it to three games.
The first saw us exit the League Cup at Goodison, where a weaker than usual team in a struggling club had no trouble in dispatching us. Rodwell played that evening, in what I think was his last game for us (other than as an unused sub at Brentford), but other than that there was nothing of note in the game and it has no bearing on the rest of the season, so I’ll ignore it.
Season End Reviews?: (4) ‘What if?’ seems a reasonable SAFC question
We continue our end of season reviews with Wrinkly Pete, aka Pete Lynn, who – in his second contribution to the series; click here for the story so far – asks one of the questions which will be on a lot of minds.
Of course, being Wrinkly Pete, he has to do it in a musical way, and he has to ask it a number of times …
Sixer’s Middlesbrough Soapbox: fighting spirit, last minute equaliser. Better than nowt?
Malcolm Dawson writes…….well the Men and Women’s curling both proved to be a huge but not unexpected disappointment. I am …
Crowing About: why Coleman’s words are cutting the mustard
For his second contribution to the pages of Salut! Sunderland, Martin Crow compares and contrasts – favourably – the Chris Coleman way with words, when talking publicly about Sunderland AFC, with the mix of gibberish, gallows humour, boorishness, beyond-the-pale philosophy and heavy gloom that has gone before …
Sunderland’s transfer window: bring on Coleman’s cavalry charge or fear the worst
Monsieur Salut writes: I asked Pete Sixsmith to cast a critical eye over the ins and outs now that the transfer window has slammed shut – shattered? – on us. I did not expect to find him absent from duty running in sheer joy up and down Busty Bank (which takes the envious souls of South Church up to Shildon). I didn’t fear we’d need to drag him from celebration drinks at whatever they call the Surtees or Red Lion these days, shouting all the while in praise of our saviours Ellis Short and Martin Bain. I sort of expected the cool, measured, underwhelmed appraisal that follows …
‘Excuse me, Mr Hansen!’ Acclaiming Sunderland’s hungry young stars
Monsieur Salut writes: Martin Crow* is a welcome addition to our ranks of contributors. He is an aspiring freelance writer and hardly unknown among Sunderland fans (check his work for ALS). In his first offering to Salut! Sunderland, he provides an astute appraisal of Saturday’s performance that properly complements Pete Sixsmith’s brilliant Soapbox, and concentrates on the generational aspects of Chris Coleman’s (OK, patchy so far but think what went before) revival.
And on a day when any proper football supporter will be mourning the death of Jimmy Armfield, a quite magnificent voice of radio, Martin starts and ends with reminders of the folly of another player-turned-broadcaster ..
When Alan Hansen delivered his infamous and dismissive verdict on Manchester United’s class of ’95 following an opening-day defeat to Aston Villa, I doubt Sunderland could have been further from his mind.
The value of youth as Coleman seeks to build on the morale-boosting Hull victory
Monsieur Salut writes: Chris Coleman has been effusive in his praise of the young stars of his third victory in charge of Sunderland, the 1-0 win against Hull City on Saturday. But this writer suggests there are other prospects possibly available for loan deals – as well as the targets who have necessary experience – who might help Coleman lead the club away from the relegation zone and complete the groundwork for a brighter future …
The uplifting victory against Hull City does not disguise the painful fact that this has been another disastrous season so far for Sunderland since the drop from the Premier League.
The new era that was set to begin under Simon Grayson faltered, the team has consistently looked disjointed and out of sorts while Chris Coleman’s arrival in Grayson’s place has yet to produce a convincing turnaround in performances – and above all consistency.
A warm welcome to Jake Clarke-Salter. A slightly sour farewell to Lewis Grabban
We have been this way before. Early activity in a transfer window seems positive and our hopes rise accordingly, only to be dashed by a combination of factors: the questionable SAFC managerial merry-go-round, an imbalance of expectation and delivery and the air of thick gloom hanging over the club.
But Chris Coleman’s first move really does look like a sound one. Jake Clarke-Salter, a ball-playing central defender brought on loan from Chelsea, “is supposed to be rather good”, says a Chelsea-supporting friend.
Would Kirchhoff’s legs stand up to a short-term deal back at Sunderland?
Back in November, the Sunderland Echo‘s thoughtful columnist Tony Gillan posed the interesting question: “Are Jan Kirchhoff’s legs so wonky that he couldn’t be offered a rolling contract?