Ignore any rumour that the BBC Radio Newcastle has asked its Durham CCC man Martin Emmerson to return to the Stadium of Light commentary box in place of Nick Barnes given the prospect of a cricket-style score in Sunderland’s final game of the season.
It’s a mischievously intriguing thought all the same.
This will be my final dodgy numberspost 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?
As you know, Pete Sixsmith didn’t make this game. That’s not a problem, however, as Bob Chapman made the trip and once again steps into the breech with a fine account of what would have been a very decent day in London, had there been a very decent referee at Craven Cottage.
John McCormick writes: Pete Sixsmith was not present today. Neither was I, although I had put this on on my list. And nor did I manage to get to a pub for the start and missed the first 40 minutes and hence our goal, but not the equaliser that came from the recovery after the non-penalty decision.
The second half saw us holding on until the inevitable lat(ish) and offside? goal but I don’t think we were disgraced – just not good enough against a quite good and increasingly desperate team at home – and better than the commentator suggested. And, after all, we drew the pair 2-2 on aggregate and won it on away goals, so it’s a moral victory isn’t it?
Does Pete’s stand-in agree? You’ll have to wait for a full report but here’s Bob Chapman’s immediate seven-word text, forwarded by Pete to give you a hint:
We continue our end of season reviews with Wrinkly Pete, aka Pete Lynn, who – in his second contribution to the series; click here for the story so far – asks one of the questions which will be on a lot of minds.
Of course, being Wrinkly Pete, he has to do it in a musical way, and he has to ask it a number of times …
John McCormick writes: I remember a pleasant afternoon at Fulham in the early seventies. In my case it was made pleasant by the few pints of proper beer we enjoyed in the pub on the other side of Putney Bridge and by an away win, which I enjoyed trouble free although esconced with locals. Not all grounds were so welcoming in those days, as I found out a few weeks later at Millwall. Pete Sixsmith has already written about that game – or one little different; now he finishes a series which has brightened a dismal season with an account of another trip to Craven Cottage, one which took place some five years before I got there:
It’s that time of year. Salut! Sunderland is asking people to judge the best interviews of the season in our Who are You? series. If you want to have your say, and remember interviews you especially liked, just send your first three in order, and maybe add a comment on why you’ve made those choices. Do it as a comment below or write to this e-mail address
Joe Jenkins, our Fulham interviewee, is a mate so maybe I shouldn’t vote for him. But if I decide I can, he might pick up points from me – it’s a gem …
Now he introduces us to his granddaughter (who naturally had no idea this would be turned into our regular competition ahead of the game, otherwise meaningless to us save for pride, at Craven Cottage). Monsieur Salut will even enter a scoreline on her behalf – 1-1, which she or grandad is welcome to change …
Sometimes, and admittedly it’s only on the rarest of occasions these days, something happens that makes you realise why you support Sunderland.
After the humiliating if inevitable confirmation of another relegation, we all start to clutch at straws, says Monsieur Salut. My straws today have been Nick Donaldson’s fascinating mix of gloat, as a Mag, and sympathy, as a decent man with plenty of Mackem mates, and now Mick Goulding‘s superb contribution to our annual End of Season Reviews series. It requires no more build-up; just read on and see whether you’d quarrel with my assessment of this analysis from a man who’s put in a mighty shift as a Sunderland supporter …
Monsieur Salut writes: this is obviously the grimmest evening, in footballing terms, since Salut! Sunderland was created back at the beginning of 2007 (a promotion season under Keano). We’ll all have more to say and we’ll all, by and large, go on supporting our club. Here are some immediate thoughts …
It took me several looks at the bottom of the table, and at the remaining fixtures, before I finally accepted that there was no longer any permutation that could, however remote the thought, keep Sunderland up.
The stark reality is that there can have been few more deserved relegations in the history of English football. Most of the other contenders for that description involved us, too.