John McCormick writes: if anyone asked what my worst Sunderland game ever was I’d have to say it was the 1-0 loss at Bolton when we were last in the championship.
Pete Sixsmith was there, so he’ll know how bad it was, but judging from a text sent just before the ed of today’s game he appears to have found this one even worse, although we did manage to keep a clean sheet this time. In his judgement today’s game was “undoubtedly the worst game of the decade”
That wasn’t his final word, though. Pete looks forward just as much as he looks backward and his post match seven words send a January message to our owners, our new directors and our rapidly-ageing manager.
Monsieur Salut adds: listening to Barnes and Benno describe what seems to have been an apology for a football match, it was impossible to miss the loud and edgy singing of songs about Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn. This was not because Super Phil Parkinson doesn’t scan very well however you compress the syllables.
I used to love attending Boxing Day games. Ones like the debacle at Bramall Lane two years ago, which I watched with Sixer, and today’s, to which I effortlessly gave a miss, make me grateful Dec 26 offers options. Salut! Sunderland‘s days are numbered as we prepare to hand over to the new regime on New Year’s Day. We’d rather hoped the last Sixer’s Seven from the Stadium of Light would not coincide with SAFC’s descent to another low point in the 140-history of the club: an unthinkable 15th place in the third tier …
John McCormick writes: outside the clouds have rolled in and the rain is sheeting down. It’s a grey day. Inside only the heating system is keeping the cold out. Normally an e-mail from Pete Sixsmith would mean a post bringing cheer and warmth, good feeling and heartiness. So the one that arrived but a few minutes ago was more than welcome.
Alas, some times it’s better to travel than to arrive:
John McCormick writes: for me, this piece by Pete Sixsmith brings back many memories. I was at Goodison when we lost, and at Spurs when Kirchhoff came on and a young keeper who would go on to play for England couldn’t hold back the tide. I saw us come back to snatch that point at Anfield as well. But the game that sticks out, of all the ones below, is one I never got to. The 1-0 win against the Mags. I was intending to go but stayed in Liverpool. My daughter gave birth that day, two weeks late. I have a print of Defoe’s goal ready to give to my granddaughter when she’s old enough to appreciate what she made me miss…
As Sunderland settle in the lowest position of our 140-year history, 13th in the third tier, Pete Sixsmith continues his ramblings through the snow in his daytime job and his rambling through his memory in his spare time. But when it comes to his writing does he ramble? No, most certainly not. He does, however, have a fondness for a ’conspicuous repetition of identical initial consonant sounds in successive or closely associated syllables within a group of words, even those spelled differently´ (thank you, Wikipedia). So be prepared for a stirring story, a heartwarming helping, an intelligent interlude, a… … let’s just let the man himself do the business.
John McCormick writes. Pete Sixsmith is still on Santa duty and mad busy. Even so he found the time to compose another epic piece. It’s better than the Labour manifesto or the Queen’s speech and more honest and compelling than anything from Boris.
And we aren’t even half way through Pete’s series, recalling the men in charge at SAFC during the time Salut! Sunderland has been on the interweb!
John McCormick writes: Jer posted this comment in response to Colin’s piece on Charlie Methven’s resignation as a director: ‘Stopped reading after the left wing diatribe. Keep your views on Brexit and politics out of football. Last I heard you don’t have to be a Remainer Labour lefty to follow Sunderland I live in a safe Labour seat’
Well, I live in a safe Labour seat in a pro-Remain city and I’m making what I think will be my 23rd hospital visit of the year on election day. I can’t think of anything worse than Boris returning to government. Perhaps people would like me not to say so, and perhaps they would like all of us to be, as Andy posted in in response to Bob Chapman’s report from Gillingham:
Very mellow and passionless at a critical time ..
Andy did continue … for the football club and its supporters. Why even bother? Hope you have a great holiday and the cat gets to keep the mouse next time.
If we were mellow and passionless we’d never have kept Salut! Sunderland going for 13 years and Pete Sixsmith would never haver formed opinions on the 13 managers we’ve had in that time, the fourth of which is Martin O’Neill.
Pete Sixsmith sent a bonfire night seven word text concerning the probability that we wouldn’t be making a trip to Wembley in the EFL Trophy. Tonight’s match provided an opportunity to keep the flame alive. Pete was watching Spennymoor beat Boston so I coined a seven-word text of my own not long after Luke O’Nien crowned a pathetic display which ended an apathetic group stage.
Then, at the final whistle Pete popped up with his own seven words. You can see his and my thoughts below:
(We still can’t post comments on this site. If you wish to make an after- match, or any, comment of your own you can always have your say at Salut! Sunderland’s Facebook group. Click on any of the preceding four words. If you are told that you need to join the group, you can do so easily. Approval is very quick.)
Readers still cannot post comments. We are continuing to work on it but everything I have tried and suggested to date has failed.
Some might say that’s pretty much the story at the Stadium of Light, although we did manage a clean sheet in the League last weekend. Malcolm and Pete bore witness to it and Pete provided the match report which graced our pages on Sunday. Does this mean Malcolm will be doing the honours tomorrow? I suspect it does but for now we continue with Mr Sixsmith and his seven word texts, the one in the title sent at half time, when we were winning, and two more sent immediately on the final whistle.
(If you wish to make a post match – or any – comment of your own you can always have your say at Salut! Sunderland’s Facebook group. Click on any of the preceding four words. If you are told that you need to join the group, you can do so easily. Approval is very quick.)
Malcolm Dawson writes…….As I was tucking into my porridge and blueberries this morning, I received an e-mail from Pete Sixsmith with the title “Parkinson” so assumed that the club had confirmed we had a new manager in place. I then went to the News Now webpage to find these headlines:
10:06 SAFC Official website: SAFC appoint Phil Parkinson
10:10Chronicle Live: Is Jack Ross still available? – Sunderland fans react to Phil Parkinson appointment
It doesn’t take long for those who think they know best to respond on social media and I suppose there will always be some who have a totally negative outlook on life, but I get increasingly frustrated by so called news sites which seem to think people’s Tweets arenewsworthy. How many of these people who already have the knives out for the new boss and the owner thought that Martin O’Neill would bring us success because he was a Sunderland fan as a boy, or that Nigel Clough would rocket us into the Premier League because his dad won the European Cup and he was born in what was then the town of Sunderland?
If I am starting to get disillusioned with the club under Stewart Donald’s tenure it is not because we failed to get promotion, it is not because we have been going to places like Accrington, Fleetwood or Rochdale which are proper clubs with devoted supporters. Nor is it because we drew 19 games last season but because of a minority of loud, very vocal and not very pleasant band of followers (I refuse to refer to them as supporters) who seem to enjoy putting the club down at every opportunity, venting their spleen at players who give of their best (even unused substitutes) when we don’t win by a massive margin, or take to social media at the earliest opportunity to show their ability in the use of four letter words, occasionally adding the letter E to one just for variety.
Will the new man get us promoted? I’ve no idea.
Will he do a better job than Jack Ross? Time will tell.
Will I enjoy watching the side more than I did under the last man? I’ll wait and see.
What I won’t do is jump to conclusions before he’s even had PP printed onto his training gear – oh and I’ll continue to be a supporter.
Now what you’ve really come here to read ……..Sixer’s reaction to the latest manager to take on the Wearside hot seat.
PARKY TAKES THE HOT SEAT.
It’s 140 years to the day since James Allan and a group of friends and colleagues met in The Norfolk Hotel to found what would become Sunderland AFC.
In those dim and distant days when the majority of the city’s population worked in shipyards, coal mines or heavy engineering and lived in the tightly packed terraces that led down to the banks of the River Wear (and later, to the shores of Sicileeee), I imagine there were broadsheets being printed where dissenting supporters accused Allan of setting the club up so he could sell it at a profit to Hiram B, Shackernacker from Poughkeepsie, New York while simultaneously lambasting Mr. Ross, the Maths teacher from Hudson Road School, for “stealing a living” and being “s****.”
It’s also a tad over fourteen years since I wrote my first match report for Salut, a missive from Ashburton Grove describing a 2-3 defeat to Arsenal in Roy Keane’s inaugural Premier League season, a game that showed a fair bit of promise for the future as the Jolly Drumaville boys, aided by Niall Quinn and the admirable John Hays, promised all kinds of things including magic carpets, stability and a permanent place at the top table.
Our team that day was; Craig Gordon; Paul McShane, Nyron Nosworthy, Danny Collins, Danny Higginbotham; Grant Leadbitter, Dwight Yorke, Liam Miller, Ross Wallace; Kenwyne Jones, Michael Chopra with subs; Darren Ward, Ian Harte (for Yorke 90), Dickson Etuhu (for Wallace 77), Anthony Stokes (for Chopra 77) Roy O’Donovan.
It was a 12.00 kick off which meant leaving at about 5 and getting there in time for a quick pint and a snack and a wander round the new ground. Van Persie and Senderos gave them the lead before Ross Wallace (now at Fleetwood Town – good guy, decent player, not s****) pulled one back before half time. Kenwynne Jones (fine player on his day, also not s****) levelled early in the second half and it looked like we would hold on. Two substitutions made in the 77th minute may have distracted us as Van Persie scored the winner with ten to go.
Now, 14 years on, we are heading for Adams Park with a team of players who are no more than Championship level at best and a new manager in charge – unless the DUP veto this.
We have fallen a long way and there may be little chance of us getting back to where Charlie Chalke and Roy Keane took us all those years ago.
Phil Parkinson is the man given the opportunity to improve on Jack Ross’ record and get us out of League One to the relative prosperity of the Championship. He’s a Chorley born man who started out at Bury and then moved to Reading where he spent ten years and qualified for a testimonial. He also became a close buddy of Alan Pardew, so there’s a stick to beat him with already.
When he stopped playing, he became manager of Colchester United and took them to the Championship before leaving for Hull City and an uncomfortable stretch at Anlaby Circle. He was in charge of them when Ross Wallace scored a last minute winner in front of us, took his shirt off and was sent to the dressing rooms by an unsmiling Richard Beeby.
He then moved to Charlton Athletic and managed to get them relegated to League One, thereby undoing his good work at Colchester and although he stayed there for three years, he couldn’t get them back up and was sacked.
Back to Yorkshire for his next job at a struggling Bradford City and he struck gold. He took them to Wembley for a League Cup Final (don’t ask about the result) and then again for a play off victory over Northampton Town before establishing them in League One. He had John McLaughlin as his goalkeeper and was in charge of The Bantams when they put us out of the FA Cup in 2015 when our team had Wearside legends like Billy Jones, Ricardo Alvarez and Liam Bridcutt on the field.
He left Bradford a steady League One club and moved back across the Pennines to Bolton, who had just been relegated to League One as their financial troubles began to grow. He got them back up at the first attempt, despite an EFL transfer embargo which prevented him from recruiting anything but loan players and free agents and then miraculously kept them up the next season as well, taking four points off us and being in the away dugout for Simon Grayson’s last game as Sunderland manager.
The troubles at Horwich clearly wore him down and he resigned after it looked as if Bolton were going to drop out of the EFL – and I don’t think anyone could blame him for that.
He now finds himself at another club riven with self doubt and with divisions between supporters, owners and players clearly on view. Should he read this (I assume he won’t) I would advise him to permanently block the message boards, not listen to any phone ins (even the ones that use me) and avoid social media. I’m pretty sure that he will do all three as a matter of course.
I wish him well and hope that he makes a success of this job even if his football style appears to be more pragmatic than romantic. We desperately need to finish this season with 21 or 22 clubs below us and a season that ends on the first weekend in May with a visit from The Demon King and his Fleetwood Town team (assuming he is not in jail by then).
No report from me from Wycombe.
I am having a weekend in Prague and hope to get some football in. Slavia and Bohemians are at home and there is an intriguing Second Division game at Vysherad which kicks off at 9.15 on Sunday morning. I’ll see how I feel after a night of Czech beer and Czech dumplings.