Will the real Mauricio Pochettino stand up or feel ‘entitled to go down’?

Jake: ‘will VAR and punishment after the crime just make cheats better at cheating?’

Monsieur Salut: would I have taken survival last season, would I take survival this season, if it depended on a blatant act of cheating by a Sunderland player? Easy to say no when, in the heart, you might mean yes, maybe or depends. But I’ll stick to my guns and say no. And whatever individual fans feel about matters affecting their teams, football as a sport should rise above natural human instincts to win at whatever cost …

A realistic breath of fresh air or a deplorable attempt to defend the indefensible? That appears to be our choice as we assess the Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino’s efforts to shrug off diving as unimportant.

Salut! Sunderland has never sat on the fence. Diving is cheating. It should have no place in the game. Perpetrators ought to be boiled in oil or, if medieval punishments are out of fashion, suspended for three or more games. When a Sunderland player dives, as Dele Alil does so often for Spurs, we make no attempt to defend or excuse.

Read moreWill the real Mauricio Pochettino stand up or feel ‘entitled to go down’?

Sunderland v Liverpool, Varga v McAllister: perhaps football’s finest dive

Jake: 'men versus men would be a good start'
Jake: ‘men versus men would be a good start’

Just a spot of fun with a serious subplot. Whenever Liverpool visit the Stadium of Light, it offers an opportunity to recall the most accomplished dive many of us have ever seen. And what is more, it worked, fooling a seasoned ref and gaining Liverpool a draw.

We’ll get on to Gary McAllister in a moment.

Read moreSunderland v Liverpool, Varga v McAllister: perhaps football’s finest dive

Diving for glory. Is blaming foreigners jingoistic piffle, or sadly spot-on?

Tom Webb
Tom Webb

Salut! Sunderland has been banging on for years about diving, the feigning of injury, unprofessional attempts by players to get opponents booked or sent off and other forms of cheating. The issue is raised with every “Who are You?” interviewee and I can think of only one or two who said too much fuss was made of it.

But should we really accept that British players are largely blameless, or that they were until they caught the nasty habits of Johnny Foreigner?

Read moreDiving for glory. Is blaming foreigners jingoistic piffle, or sadly spot-on?

Summer Gold: (2) goggles for Robben, pink mittens for shirt-tuggers

This photograph from the Flickr files of the National Media Museum may or may not show Arjen Robben making one last attempt to perfect his technique ahead of tonight’s World Cup semi-final against Argentina.

Our Summer Gold series, recalling timeless highlights from Salut! Sunderland‘s archives, harks back to August 2011 and Ken Gambles‘s entertaining manifesto for cutting out the things that irritate him about football. Nothing’s changed …

Read moreSummer Gold: (2) goggles for Robben, pink mittens for shirt-tuggers

Save World Cup footballers from serious harm. Act now before it’s too late

Jake: 'Monsieur Salut's on the warpath'
Jake: ‘Monsieur Salut’s on the warpath’

Night after night from Brazil we see it, this alarming threat to footballers’ lives and limbs.

It starts innocuously enough with the flimsiest of contact from an opponent, or perhaps even none at all. But first appearance is so often deceptive. Once this contact, little or non-existent as it may be, has been made, the threat to personal safety is real.

Read moreSave World Cup footballers from serious harm. Act now before it’s too late

How Dare We? Will the real Gareth Bale, Tottenham’s sinning saint, stand up?

Jake suspects Salut! Sunderland is up to making mischief
Jake suspects Salut! Sunderland is up to making mischief

Salut! Sunderland has always felt perfectly entitled to stick its nose into other people’s business. We’re Sunderland supporters but also have views on football generally, whether it’s Pete Sixsmith after one of his non-league excursions or Ken Gambles demanding compulsory wearing of pink mittens by shirtpullers and goggles by divers of all teams. These impertinent observations will henceforth appear under the How Dare We? banner. Did I say something about divers? ….

The look of pained innocence on Gareth Bale’s face was priceless. “Me! Dive? You’ve got the wrong man, guv,” you could almost hear him telling the ref, Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz though plain Antonio Mateu will do.

Read moreHow Dare We? Will the real Gareth Bale, Tottenham’s sinning saint, stand up?

Voice of America: hardly on the Armstrong scale but now target football cheats

Jake longs for stars in stripes

The downfall of Lance Armstrong has set people thinking and talking about sporting cheats. Salut! Sunderland has banged on about it for years, earning the admiration of some readers but irritating others. Trying to con the referee is admittedly on a different scale to the systematic use of performance-enhancing drugs*, but it is a scourge of modern football all the same. For a partisan site to campaign on such issues and keep a straight face, it has to be willing to recognise the blatant Gyan (often), Bent (sometimes) or Larsson (at Wolves) dive just as clearly as it sees it in opponents, and we have tried to be consistent. Our friend out west, Robert Simmons, believes football could learn a useful lesson from his side of the pond …

Read moreVoice of America: hardly on the Armstrong scale but now target football cheats

Newcastle’s Joey Barton, Arsenal’s Gervinho: a marriage made in heaven

It began as a question in our Who Are You? series of pre-match interviews with the fans of opposing clubs, about diving and other forms of cheating.

Then it became the Eduardo Question, in honour of the Brazilian-born Croatian player’s monumental contribution to the art, and finally the Walcott Question as a sincere tribute to Theo for his candid admission – coupled with an apology – that he had dived in an unsuccessful attempt to con a referee.

Read moreNewcastle’s Joey Barton, Arsenal’s Gervinho: a marriage made in heaven

France, Tunisia and a word in Fifa’s ear

paraguay1There will be a lot of random jottings here during the World Cup, given our declared support for Paraguay – not to the exclusion of a probably Bentless England, but in honour of Cristian Riveros, Paulo da Silva and those red and white stripes – and the haphazard nature of the Salut! Sunderland team of scribblers.

First thing first. In the long queue for the Uffizi museum in Florence, the faces of two Mexican students lit up when talk turned to football, and specifically to Sunderland.

Read moreFrance, Tunisia and a word in Fifa’s ear