Sunderland’s lengthening list of promotion rivals: Ipswich, plus Rotherham, Peterborough, Portsmouth and Doncaster (or Wycombe, Fleetwood, Blackpool and Coventry)

Another weekend without football, another weekend providing space to keep our readers – and pundits – up to date with our chosen clubs. If you think as far back as the start of the season you’ll probably recall six clubs being selected by our readership as the most likely to finish in the top six slots come the end of the season.

Sunderland made the cut but would have been selected regardless. The other five clubs were Ipswich Town, Rotherham, Peterborough Portsmouth and Doncaster. Ipswich apart, they haven’t done as well as expected. In fact, they haven’t done as well as Sunderland who, as the first two graphs show, haven’t done as well as they did last season

Read moreSunderland’s lengthening list of promotion rivals: Ipswich, plus Rotherham, Peterborough, Portsmouth and Doncaster (or Wycombe, Fleetwood, Blackpool and Coventry)

Do they mean us? A Coventry fan sees Sunderland ‘just give up defending’

The view from Laurie

First things first, says Monsieur Salut. Laurie Kilpatrick, an excellent interviewee for our Coventry City Who are You?, was not among those in the sky blues section who decided a grand way of celebrating beating us 5-4 was to shower people below the away end with bottles and other missiles. From what I have seen in response to my pal Kevin Maguire’s tweets, proper City fans – Laurie included, as you shall see – are disgusted at the behaviour of the lowlife minority responsible (I was not there but imagine it will have been a minority and, sadly, every football team attracts its share of slugs).

But Laurie naturally enjoyed his day out as much as our supporters present (and listening or watching from near or far) detested theirs. Losing at home by a single goal when you score four seems, for all the obvious reasons, a lot worse than going down to the ‘disappointment, but it happens’ of a 0-1.

We rightly treasure the post-match accounts of our own Pete Sixsmith and Malcolm Dawson, so for those who can stomach it. let us for once take a look a gifted writer approaching a game from the opposing side.

Laurie’s match reports appear at his blog, A Lonely Season. Here, he wonders at his team’s attacking football, our defensive failings and what he found the quietness of the Stadium of Light. Leaving aside our unhappiness, it’s a fine piece of writing …

Read moreDo they mean us? A Coventry fan sees Sunderland ‘just give up defending’

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.”

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

Salut!’s Seasonal Summary. Part One: Bristol Rovers and the pre-Christmas outlook

Regular readers will know that the Salut team make occasional appearances in the official matchday programme. Recent visitors will know that my last contribution came at the end of 2018, when I wrote about my take on the year before the Shrewsbury game.

However, that piece only came about after Sunderland had to fit in an extra cup game following our draw at Walsall.

I was originally asked to do something for the Bristol Rovers programme, with a focus on League One’s promotion challengers over the Christmas/New Year period. The extra game forced a change to the timetable and then other events took over, with the result that the piece I duly sent off never made it into print.

Read moreSalut!’s Seasonal Summary. Part One: Bristol Rovers and the pre-Christmas outlook