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

The star’s apology to Arsenal and Leeds that changed cheating debate

Theo WalcottImage: Wonker

It was while I was away on holiday and we were being dumped out of the FA Cup by mighty Notts County that Theo Walcott made a statement I have since been unable to shake from my mind.

Arsenal nearly had their own cup day stinker, leaving it desperately late to snatch a draw at home to Leeds. This proved crucial as the Gunners went on to win the Elland Road replay comfortably.

But what made a real impact on me was the subsequent statement from Walcott, posted to the official Arsenal site.

Read moreThe star’s apology to Arsenal and Leeds that changed cheating debate

Should the Lee Bowyer question replace the Eduardo question?


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Fans with highly developed abilities to read lips and interpret body language detected attempts by Lee Bowyer to influence decisions by the referee, Anthony Taylor, in Saturday’s match against Birmingham City.

In particular, Bowyer – old pic courtesy of “Michael Kjaer”‘s Flickr pages – stands accused of trying to persuade Taylor to reduce us to nine men by sending off Kieran Richardson.

Read moreShould the Lee Bowyer question replace the Eduardo question?

Sparing Eduardo in our new season of ‘Who are You?’


Three days to go for the first match. And only three hours or so to go for our first Who Are They? questionnaire – minus, to the relief of Gooners and dive enthusiasts everywhere, a certain question …

The dawn of a new season brings the usual mix of excitement, hope and fear. And the return of one of Salut! Sunderland‘s most popular features.

Read moreSparing Eduardo in our new season of ‘Who are You?’

The Birmingham City fan topping our Pretend Fair Play league

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Arsenal fans will pounce on the irony of a Birmingham fan winning something to do with fair play and inspired by Eduardo. But the issues are separate, and Kevin Ball is a deserving winner …

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We’re open to accusations of cheating ourselves, that we manipulated the result to ensure yet another Mackem connection to Salut! Sunderland competition prizewinners, if only in name.

But look at the replies people gave and Kevin Ball, who runs the Birmingham fan site Joys and Sorrows fully merits his selection as winner of our Pretend Fair Play league, inspired by rival fans’ responses to the Eduardo question: would you take – gladly or guiltily – or almost wish you could decline a trophy/title/survival won by a penalty scored after a blatant dive?

Read moreThe Birmingham City fan topping our Pretend Fair Play league

The Eduardo survey, without apology to Arsenal

One last pop at Eduardo for that extraordinary dive against Celtic and then all will be forgiven. The unfinished business is that we have one more prize to award, for the winner of our Pretend Fair Play league. The prize itself falls below Euromillions levels …

All season long, since Mr Eduardo’s bid for Olympic glory, but in a sport other than football, against Celtic in the Champions’ League, Salut! Sunderland has posed the same question to virtually every fan of a rival club who has taken part in our Who Are You? series.

Read moreThe Eduardo survey, without apology to Arsenal