Salut! Sunderland is proud to contribute to SAFC matchday programmes. Finally free of his annual Santa duties, Pete Sixsmith joined the 46,039 present at the game against Bradford City. Those who bought the programme will have seen these recollections of past Boxing Day encounters …
It’s that time of year again and Monsieur Salut unveils the Salut! Sunderland equivalent of the Oscars …
Salut! Sunderland is delighted to bring you the results of our annual awards for the best interviews of the season with fans of opposing clubs. We call the award the Haways – the Highly Articulate Who are You? (s).
One of the few bright spots of the season was the continuing high standard of responses from our interviewees. Remember, people have to be found, they have to agree to do it and they must then answer a lot of questions (maybe too many; if the series continues into League One, that may change).
With nominations about to close in Salut! Sunderland’s annual HAWAY awards – the prizes offered for best interviews with opposing fans over the season just ended – there is a clear front runner.
Since judging is not quite complete, and readers may still take part as previously invited simply by adding their choices in order of first-second-third in the Comments below, it would be premature to give away more.
Nominations close at midnight UK time so there is not much time left for stragglers, and we do have a quorum with votes already cast by several contributors.
This will be my final dodgy numbers post of the season. (If you haven’t seen the previous ones you can follow the link above, and/or those below). There is still a game to go, and two questions remain unanswered, but we can now look at the league table and judge how well our start of season pundits did. Their choices for the top six spots, in order of popularity were: Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Fulham, Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland.
Three out of six, and wrong about the top two. Is that a “not bad” verdict or something worse?
John McCormick writes: once, in the days of Ted Heath and strife, I went to see us play Leyton Orient in an afternoon kickoff and then legged it to White Hart Lane and Spurs v somebody or other. If I remember correctly I saw the last half hour, or maybe a bit more. I’ve never told anybody before, especially Pete Sixsmith, for the man would quite rightly have looked down his nose and sniffed at me for thinking I’d done something special.
Speaking of which, here’s his report from Pride Park and a very good Good Friday fixture:
John McCormick writes: I watched the opening game of the season at a pub in the Lakes and thought we did OK. I watched this at home, courtesy of Will’s Sky-linked tablet. As the match opened I thought we didn’t look as good as we did in August and that Derby were well organised, which only goes to show that I need to get out more.
Pete Sixsmith does that and is consequently in a much better position to judge. His report on this game won’t be here until Sunday as he’s groundhopping on his way home, so we’ll have to do with his instant seven word reaction for now.
John McCormick writes: as I’ve edited and posted the trips Pete has written about for this series I have often wondered if I was there. More rarely, I’ve known I was. But not this time. I
don’t thinkam certain I’ve (n)ever been to Derby, never mind watched a game of football there.
Pete Sixsmith, of course, has been there. Not only has he been there, he’s been there more than once, and he’s been to more than one ground:
Guy Pearson*, introduced to Salut! Sunderland by the first Who are You? candidate of the season, his follow Derby County fan Nick Britten, does not think the Rams are good enough for the Premier League. He is not not even confident of making the playoffs, despite the hotel rooms he and his pals booked back in January to be handy for the final. Viewed from our position, his troubles seem piffling. It will come as no consolation to Sunderland supporters to hear that Guy does think we’ll improve on our current position by the end of the season – he predicts we’ll finish second bottom. Stand by for a thoughtful interview with a realistic supporter who knows his stuff.
And on links between our clubs, Guy remembers that extraordinary Mart Poom equaliser while we remind him of a SuperKev hat trick at Pride Park …
In which Monsieur Salut decides to keep the Guess the Score competition running, with prizes, until the final whistle sounds at the end of the home banker against Wolves on May 6 to bring our glorious Championship campaign to a close …
The season began with Derby County on a Friday night. Now that so many of us have written off the season, it seems almost academic that the final spurt to, er, deserved relegation/improbable escape (delete according to choice) should start with Derby on a Friday night.
When it comes to Guess the Score, I’ll adopt the words of Bamber Gascoigne from an earlier television age: I’ve started so I’ll finish. [Update: oops, CSB corrects my memory: it was Magnus Magnusson’s catchphrase on Mastermind]
Despite thoughts of withdrawing the modest prize in protest at the appalling betrayal by Sunderland AFC of its supporters, we shall rise above such pettiness. The mug manufacturers of Weardale – our suppliers, Personalised Football Gifts – need not fret after all. Eight more games = up to eight more mugs to be ordered and delivered.
Yesterday you might have seen how I – or rather our readers – came to select a number of clubs to follow over the course of the season. They were originally Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Fulham, Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland; Wolves, Bristol City, Cardiff, Derby and Sheffield United joined them at the end of the January transfer window.