It was January 2017 when I last reported on this side of the Pennines, which is not surprising, given the season(s) – and close seasons – we’ve had recently. it’s a bit quieter now, so I thought it a good time to revisit before things get lively again. Some of the clubs I visited have improved their circumstances, others have seen their situations worsen and quite a few of them are now sharing a division with us, not all in the best of circumstances.
Indeed, some will make you wonder why all the fuss about us finishing fifth and missing out on promotion against Charlton, who themselves are not in the best of circumstances, given the owner is looking to sell and appears to have already given up on promotion, although he hadn’t ruled it out completely yesterday.
Charlton fans are welcome to post their thoughts but Charlton are not the issue today, the focus is firmly on the historic County of Lancashire…
The penalty awarded to Raheem Sterling for Man City after his foot prodded the ground and he fell over against Shakhtar Donetsk, having suffered absolutely no contact from any defender, has revived the debate about whether players should own up. Yes, it does sound a preposterous notion in 2018. Keith Hackett, a former referee talking on TalkSport, said that while a ref could take account of a player’s honest admission and change a decision, it was not something officials actually expected to happen. Oh dear.
But worst penalty decision in history, a question that we’ve seen being asked today? Sterling is in perfectly good company, Think back to Boxing Day 2011 at the Stadium of Light. This is the piece we published then, after Everton’s Leon Osman, untouched by any Sunderland player, missed his kick, stubbed the ground and went down with his hand raised in appeal mode. A world-class referee, Howard Webb, was fooled and Everton equalised from the spot to save a point. Go to the link to read the lively debate that followed …
Postscript: Sterling did offer a public apology to the referee Viktor Kassai and to Shakhtar (the penalty brought the second of City’s six goals). I am sure an Everton supporter will put us right if Osman, too, finally admitted he had ‘misled’ Webb …
John McCormick, associate editor, writes in the latest of Salut! Sunderland’s end-of-season reviews (see all contributions here):
I only made it to three games.
The first saw us exit the League Cup at Goodison, where a weaker than usual team in a struggling club had no trouble in dispatching us. Rodwell played that evening, in what I think was his last game for us (other than as an unused sub at Brentford), but other than that there was nothing of note in the game and it has no bearing on the rest of the season, so I’ll ignore it.
Until as recently as the weekend, no one could seriously fault the bookies’ belief that Sunderland were relegation probabilities. Now, Chris Coleman has made the sort of start after replcaing Simon Grayson as manager to encourage measured hope that a swift ascent of the Championship table is more likely. Here, William Sundin, a media production graduate from Sunderland University, looks back at the short but successful stint of one of Coleman’s predecessors Sam Allardyce, who has now steered Everton to ninth top, and wonders when the two clubs may meet again in the top flight …
Everton recently made the wise decision to bring in Sam Allardyce to save their season after they got off to a dismal start under Ronald Koeman.
Big Sam already has the team climbing back up the table and it wouldn’t be out of the question to suggest that having taken over a team staring relegation in the face, he could even steer them towards a top six finish.
Put it this way. Pete Sixsmith gives a lot more to the football-supporting public than he gets back. …
There were some plus points.
Everton – club and fans – remembered Bradley Lowery with grace and class.
I had an evening out, which included a couple of decent pints in good company and a chance to watch Sunderland, for the princely sum of £23.
Bernard won a mug
and Lee Cattermole didn’t get booked
Yesterday Bernard Walker expressed his love for Goodison Park. Pete Sixsmith will understand why, for it is, as he says above and below:
“…my favourite ground after Roker”.
Read on for an enthralling reminiscence.
Monsieur Salut introduces another prize edition of Guess rhe Score and promises belated movement on the backlog of winners …
As we hover just above the relegation zone despite ending the losing run, there is just one consolation: it’s a different relegation zone with names like Brentfor, Burmingham and Bolton instead of Palace, Bournemouth and – would you believe it, Jordan? – Everton.
Another heavy defeat leaves them third bottom.
John McCormick writes: I talk to Evertonians most weeks. They tend not to be short of opinions – like most fans – but I don’t know how many of them go to Goodison regularly and I have to take much of what is said with a pinch of salt.
That’s not the case with today’s guest. Bernard Walker first graced these pages in 2014 (I commend his first “Who are you?” to you) and it’s great to welcome him back. He’s was at Goodison before it was a World cup venue, even before Z cars graced TV, and he’s a keen observer of all things Everton, so much so that some of his answers to our questions might surprise you.
When you get to the bottom you’ll find I haven’t asked Bernard if he will be at the game. He will, I’ll be sitting next to him, and I’m really looking forward to it.
We knew it was happening and have said as much here. So let’s just record, via the two clubs’ websites, the confirmed departure of Jordan Pickford for Everton. From us? A simple message of good luck – and gratitude for what he did and tried to do for the club we – and he – love.