We do plenty for each other, SAFC and Salut! Sunderland, so no one will mind if we simply record the EFL League One Player/Manager of the Month awards – both going our way – by reference to the official club site. Jack Ross said the award to Aiden McGeady was a ‘no brainer’ and few who have seen his compelling technique in recent weeks would disagree; Ross himself deserves immense credit for moulding a viable League One squad that is just a whisper away from an automatic promotion place and – sorry to remind our churlish dissenter, ‘Brian’ – has reached a Wembley final for which every ticket will be sold.
There was Don Goodman, of course, among others but the two players most of us think of when looking at links between Sunderland and West Bromwich are the two Kevins. One became and will, for most, for ever be a favourite; the other won’t.
Poor Kevin Kilbane never really had a chance. Loved at the Hawthorns, or so we were told, he struggled – to put it mildly – to win a place in the affections of SAFC supporters. Kevin Phillips was a different story.
Ours from 1997 to 2003, he scored 113 goals in 208 games. He did not go directly to WBA after the SoL but had spells at Southampton and Villa, too.
This is what Matthew Evans, our young “Who are You?” interviewee from the ranks of Baggies supporters, had to say in answer to my question:
Q (from Salut! Sunderland): The two Kevins – Phillips and Kilbane – are among the players common to our clubs. Who sticks out for you and why?
A: The first man you mentioned, Kevin Phillips. I think yourselves and Albion were the two clubs who got the best out of him. He is the best finisher I have seen in my time supporting West Brom, some of the goals he scored were unreal.
He will not be playing for either of us on Saturday. Will Steven Fletcher keep up his good scoring record, one that if maintained – and improved upon with the odd brace and hat trick – get him on the road to SuperKev-style adulation? Do we need to fear Shane Long and Peter Odemwingie?
Your chance to say. Guess the score. If you are the first the post a correct prediction, naturally before kickoff on Saturday, you win a lot of moral satfisfaction plus, if you choose to buy a Martin O’Neill mug, a second one free.
Don’t mock: there are lottery and Euromillions winners who would find that sort of offer quite touching. OK, maybe they wouldn’t but two recent winners have already chosen the buy one/win one option. It also means Monsieur Salut has to dig slightly less deeply into his own pocket.
Usual rules. My decision final. A WBA winner would also be eligible for the Nearly Prize and I’d tweak the mug design to take account of his or her allegiance.
Get predicting … even if you do it only for fun.
See Monsieur Salut’s contributions to the ESPN Soccernet pages: http://soccernet.espn.go.com/blog/_/name/sunderland/id/610?cc=5739