Sixer’s pre-season soapbox: normal service resumes at Darlington

Malcolm Dawson writes….I was in the environs of Darlington yesterday afternoon and pondered whether to hang about and take advantage of the cash turnstiles to get my first look at the revamped (work in progress) Sunderland AFC but decided that whilst my mobility is a lot better than it was this time last year, my knees are still not up to a couple of hours of standing, so I went home and defrosted the freezer. Try as I might I couldn’t find any reference to the use of the essential tools in the instruction manual, but aren’t you supposed to use a bread knife and 12lb lump hammer? The France/Belgium commentary played in the background and Pete Sixsmith‘s short and sweet texts brought me up to date on events at Blackwell Meadows, whilst I worked feverishly chipping and thawing and wondering why I have so many tortilla wraps, hidden away amongst the frozen prawns and mixed veg?

This morning Peter brings me and you a more detailed view of last night’s proceedings and here it is……

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The First Time Ever I Saw Your Team: QPR cup glory, Rodney Marsh’s Darlington night out

Rodney Marsh: ‘you kick me about all afternoon and then follow me to the night club’ (see footnote*)

Pete Sixsmith‘s first encounter with QPR was not against Sunderland but Darlington shortly after Rodney Marsh had scored one of the three goals that won a side then in the Third Division the league cup final against top flight opponents, WBA, despite having been two down at half time. The game at Feethams is largely forgettable, but Sixer recalls with a grumpy harrumph the din made by Hoops fans with a drum and shares a delightful anecdote about Marsh’s post-match evening out.

This is the latest instalment in our Memory Man’s entertaining and rightly acclaimed twin series on Sunderland opponents: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Team (for SAFC home games)/The First Time Ever I saw Your Ground (when we’re away) …

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Sixer’s Travels: Shildon and Kidderminster, Oswestry and Airbus, thanks to international break

Pete Sixsmith: 'sir, you look just like a real author!'
Pete Sixsmith: ‘sir, you look just like a real author!’

Monsieur Salut writes: I almost disallowed the first line of Pete Sixsmith‘s latest piece. Turgid? Drivel? Snap out of it Sixer, a man I introduce to others as Salut! Sunderland‘s star writer: self-deprecation will get you nowhere though international breaks seem to get you to a lot of places (not necessarily including all the places mentioned above) …

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Sixer Says: SAFC off to a winning pre-season start vs Darlington

Pete Sixsmith: 'it's back and so am I'
Pete Sixsmith: ‘it’s back and so am I’

It seems a little too early for football but it’s back all the same and Pete Sixsmith was at Bishop Auckland to catch a 4-2 win for the Lads …

A pleasant evening in DL4 as the season opened at Bishop Auckland’s Heritage Park ground, where Darlington are tenants – and, if rumours are to be believed, tenants for a fair while as it looks like their ground share with Darlington RFC is very much on the back burner.

None of which worried Sunderland who have a fancy for playing some Under 21 or WSL games at Heritage Park in the near future. We like the set up and although the pitch has its problems, there is plenty of good shopping nearby.

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Sixer’s Darlington Soapbox: Sunderland home if not dry in five-goal romp

Pete Sixsmith gets the old Soapbox out once more
Pete Sixsmith gets the old Soapbox out once more

Pete Sixsmith, in the company of Salut! Sunderland’s deputy editor Malcom Dawson, had an enjoyable afternoon despite the rain, watching the first goals of SAFC’s pre-season programme in a 5-1 dismantling of Darlington, or rather the form Darlo now take after all the woes of recent seasons. That meant, for example, a trip to Bishop, not Darlington itself. Let Pete explain …

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Darlington/Hartlepool Soapbox: upbeat vibes, glowing Steed tribute

Pete Sixsmith was indeed at both Hartlepool and Darlington – I can barely bring myself to write The Northern Echo Darlington Arena, even if I did work for that august journal in what I fondly imagine to have been its heyday – but was defeated by technology at Darlo (he’d left his phone at home). This, then, is his full account of two comfortable wins …

One game to go before the season opener at Anfield and at Sixsmith Towers there is a growing feeling of optimism for season 2011-12. The Easter Road workout will surely give the final pointers to the line up Steve Bruce will go for on August 13.

The two games this week will have given him much to think about and also much to be pleased with. Of the two, the Hartlepool one was of far more use than the trip to Darlington, with it being against a higher ranking club and with a more competitive edge.

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Soapbox: Darlington 0 SAFC 1 – the season starts here


A short trip to Darlington, a modest win to maintain our pre-season run (that’s two wins in a row, rare enough for Sunderland in recent times) and Pete Sixsmith is purring contentedly into his ale …

Another visit
to the Darlington Arena (aka as Reynolds Folly) and another win, although by no means as comfortable as last years.

After a morning spent having my feet analysed in Sacriston, the afternoon in Darlo was a pleasant way to spend time in the run up to the end of term next week. Despite the Proprietor’s insistence that I would arrive on the No 1 bus, I drove over and parked just outside of the exclusion zone around Neasham Road, forgoing the chance to visit the Old People’s Home Summer Fayre as I walked to the ground. Time enough for those when I am in one!!

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