The Salut! Sunderland End of Season Reviews: the story so far

Jake: 'bliss is a goalless draw at the Emirates'
Jake: ‘bliss is a goalless draw at the Emirates’

Even before the announcement that Dick Advocaat would not be staying at Sunderland, the End of Season Review series had produced some exceptional reads.

As already indicated, no more contributions can be considered. The series will end with the assessments of our deputy editor, Malcolm Dawson, followed by our home-and-way sage, Pete Sixsmith.

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Season reviews: bring on the cricket but build on Advocaat’s example

Image by Jake:
Image by Jake: see the rest of the series at

Michael Robinson, who quietly but regularly comments on items at Salut Sunderland!, broke cover when winning one the last pair of Guess the Score prize mugs, describing SAFC’s unlikely links with his home town of Corbridge.

The series will conclude with the reviews of our deputy editor, Malcolm Dawson, and star chronicler, Pete Sixsmith. No further entries are required. Here are Michael’s end-of-season thoughts..

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Reviews of the Season: pathetic, spineless lows but a Montyesque goalkeeping high

Jake: 'you get the idea Ken's seen better'
Jake: ‘you get the idea Ken’s seen better’

The end-of-season reviews continue to flow in. Ken Gambles is another of our writers with a wealth of experience of watching Sunderland, good and bad. It’s fair to say he felt cheated at times in the season he now reviews, but at least he found one huge positive. All the reviews in this series can be seen at

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The highs and lows of Sunderland’s season, at a handy glance

Didn't think we'd have to play this card again so soon
Didn’t think we’d have to play this card again so soon

John McCormick writes: regular readers will know that I’ve been tracking the progress of SAFC and other at-risk clubs by means of my “dodgy numbers”. I’ll look back on how they all fared some time after Pete Sixsmith finishes the end of season reviews, with a view to selecting teams and methods for next season’s relegation watch.

In the meantime, here’s a by-product of my tracking exercise, a chart detailing our climb to safety and the key events of what turned out to be a long hard slog. Click for a clearer view …

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Reviews of the Season: ‘got lucky. Twice as many wins as defeats’

John McCormick:
John McCormick: looking back, looking forward

John McCormick writes: when the fixture fairy first waved her wand I thought I might struggle to make more than a handful of matches. It turned out I was right; over the season pre-booked flights, rearranged games, competing demands and a pregnant daughter all took their toll. So, too, did my lowly position in the loyalty points league. Our away support is so good that there are loads of fixtures where I can’t get tickets in my own right and, sometimes, even the best efforts of stalwarts such as Pete Sixsmith aren’t enough, as became clear from game one; Burnley away was the first target I missed.

In fact, I only managed three games. Even so, in a season when we did little, they all stood out for some reasons.

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Reviews of the Season: blaming the owner, managers, players – and fans

Jake: Wrinkly Pete dips into the record collection again'
Jake: Wrinkly Pete dips into the record collection again’

After the excitement tension and ultimate relief of last Wednesday comes a time for cool reflection. Sunderland didn’t peer once again over the precipice because of rank bad luck. Survival was a close-run thing and we need to consider why there was yet another desperate battle for dear life in the last few games. Peter Lynn has some answers some will find spot-on, others a bit too finger-pointing. See the full End of Season Review series at

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Reviews of the Season: would a short extension suit Mrs Advocaat (and us)?

Jake: 'the supporters have their say'
Jake: ‘the supporters have their say’

Think of the London and Southern England branch of the SAFC Supporters’ Association and it is impossible not to think of its co-founder, Ian Todd, an exile in the capital since the 1960s and a man who has invested frightening amounts of time, effort and money into supporting Sunderland and helping others do so. It was fitting that Salut! Sunderland should turn to such a home-and-away regular to contribute to this series of reviews of the season just ended …

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Sunderland report cards: the essential guide to our eight-part series


In the end, the Positive Party succeeded in making its voice heard. Only the most naive supporter could expect the sort of post-January collapse we suffered to go unscrutinised, uncriticised. Equally, however, there were signs at various points of the season of real advances being made by Sunderland AFC and while no one should get carried away, it was right that these signs should be acknowledged in our contributors’ reports.

The eight Sunderland supporters who presented their reflections on the 2010-2011 season may not, when considered against a 40,000 average gate and the huge, absent diaspora, represent a scientific sample (even though the world is expected to take notice when an opinion poll is based on the views of 1,000 people drawn from a population exceeding 60m).

Even so, this is intended as a handy digest to a series Salut! Sunderland is proud to have published and offers brief extracts from each piece with a link leading to the full posting at the merest click of the subheading. And if the end-of-the-season partwork has run its course, rest assured the debate will go on …

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Sunderland report cards: (6) measuring progress, and winning the FA Cup again

The thoughts of Bob Chapman grace the pages of Salut! Sunderland every so often and he seemed an obvious choice for the end-of-season reporting panel. Here is an honest appraisal, warts and all but with plenty of recognition where due, of a season that failed to shake Bob’s innate optimism …

I have watched Sunderland since the start of the 1964/5 season.

My father took me as a very excited nine-year-old to see his newly promoted team play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Fifteen-year-old Derek Foster played his second game in goal as a replacement for the injured Monty. You can still see MoTD footage on Youtube (duly dug out and included – ed). We lost 3-0 but I was heartened by the fact that in another six years I would almost certainly be making my debut for the team …

Ever the optimist, that’s me!

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The report card: (3) could do better


With their Bunsen burners and experiments with mercury, chemistry teachers tend to be men (and women) of few words who know how to get quickly to the point with a minimum of fuss. Bob Chapman lives up to the stereotype with a short but impeccably presented summary of our season, straying from the path of science only to borrow plus and minus signs from his maths colleagues …

As a school teacher I have just finished writing a series of reports for my A level Chemistry group who are all off to University this coming autumn.

It was an easy task as they already have enough marks and with a couple of exams to go should be successful come summer. The grades they achieve will match their ability. However writing this report for Sunderland has been so much more difficult. The grade we achieved did not match our ability!

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