So near, so far: Wigan to Newcastle, Lens to Lorient

Another instalment of French Fancies, Salut! Sunderland‘s occasional dip into football as it’s played on the other side of La Manche – with a comparison of tight competition in the top flights of both France and England and news of the latest phase of David Bellion’s footballing career …

It is time for M Salut to take another glance at the French Ligue 1. And there is one striking similarity between what is going on there and in our own Premier League season.

Look at ninth position in the PL and eighth in Ligue 1: our friends up the road at Newcastle United on 36 points in England, Lorient on 36 in France.

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Who are you? We’re Manchester United


In the second part of his look at Manchester United’s season, Sunday’s game and the meaning of life, Justin Mottershead gives Sir Alex a vote of confidence, tells of a recent encounter with Denis Law, makes passing mention of George Best and berates Salut! Sunderland for remembering David Bellion but inexplicably overlooking Mr Bruce or Mr Evans among men linked to both clubs …

SEE PART ONE, including Justin’s match forecast, BY CLICKING HERE

Salut! Sunderland: Would the Carling Cup and nothing else this season, if it came to that, represent abject failure in your eyes and would that be the time for Sir Alex to stand down?

In short- yes and no. Yes winning the Carling Cup alone is not a successful season at United no matter how you look at it and no Sir Alex should stay on until he believes he’s no longer physically up to the job. He’s always managed to bounce back from a poor season and I’m sure he’ll do the same this time round.

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Arsène, Thierry and Jean-Louis: a triumvirate of French arrogance?


Colin Randall treads difficult domestic territory, braves the disapproval of a French wife and two half-French daughters and, setting himself up as judge, jury and La Cour de Cassation, finds two of the above guilty as charged …

Not every Englishman is a BNP thug who steams through French railway carriages singing: “If it wasn’t for the English, you’d be Krauts.”

We don’t all subscribe to the “lovely country, shame about the people” jibe – though I actually heard it recently on the lips of my French barber (a necessarily short encounter). Some of us even marry ’em, Frenchwomen that is not the barbers.

But what are we to make of the behaviour of three Frenchmen, clues to whose identities appear in the headline? Two are easy to guess; the third is largely unknown in England unless you support Sunderland and therefore feel that Jean-Louis Triaud, president of the Girondins de Bordeaux football club, is a cross between arrogant oaf and prize clown.

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