Soapbox: Barrow boys pushed away

soapboxSurely we couldn’t mess this one up – or could we?  Would it be a repeat of Northwich Victoria in 2006 – or a reprise of that sad day in Somerset 61 years ago when The Bank of England Club were rolled over by Yeovil.  Pete Sixsmith had an awful premonition at 2.20 ……. but it was not to be.

As we entered a cold and rather empty Stadium of Light on Saturday, I noticed the bucket collection was for the Samaritans. Dropping my pound coin into it, I wondered if I would be calling them on Saturday evening.

No need to worry, as we completed a routine, if rather uninspiring win over the plucky part-timers from the Furness Peninsula. Playing at a level way above their normal one, the collection of plasterers, bus drivers, nuclear physicists and opera singers thrilled their magnificent fans and caused the Premier League big boys an afternoon of potential banana skins.

Right, that’s all the patronising drivel out of the way, so let’s deal with the game, which was an entertaining and enjoyable one, for a change.

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Happy new year from Salut! Sunderland

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We wish all readers of Salut! Sunderland an excellent 2010.

Our own shortened, sharpened catalogue of wishes for the year is modest in ambition:

* win the FA Cup

* finish higher than Birmingham City’s current position

* cheer on Paraguay, red and white stripes and all, to a good World Cup performance (even if we are perfectly happy for England to win the trophy)

* enjoy a bit of luck in the Champions League draw

* team up with Lorik Cana to give guided tours of Durham Cathedral (above) and his other cultural locations of choice

Anyone else want to add their own wishes and resolutions?

Who are you? We’re Barrow. Who?! You heard, Barrow

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Once he’d left football, Vic Halom, a hero of 1973 and therefore a justifiably revered figure at Sunderland, was involved in a company called, if I recall correctly, something like Disaster Solutions or Disaster Management. It was one of those record-breaking bad Premier seasons of ours when I met him before an obligatory pounding at Old Trafford, and I remember wondering whether SAFC’s predicament was beyond even Vic’s powers to resolve. That’s a long way of introducing Andrew Steel*, Barrow fan and football blogger (check out Halftime Oranges), who reminds us that Vic also made a big impact at his club. Andrew also has soft spots for Liverpool and Inter MIlan, but Barrow come first and he will be part of the army of fans making their way cross-country for Saturday’s FA Cup third round tie, a dream for him, hostage to fortune for us …

Salut! Sunderland:What does it mean to you, as a fan, to have drawn Sunderland away? Better than Boro away, I imagine.

I was made up when I saw the draw, although I was a little cautious about getting ahead of myself as, to be honest, I didn’t think we’d beat Oxford.

Last year was amazing. I’d never thought I’d watch Barrow playing Premier League opposition in a competitive match. It’s the stuff of dreams, so twice in two seasons is just magical.

For me, this year’s draw was definitely bigger than Boro. With no disrespect to Boro, Sunderland is a bigger club with a better following. I’m very much looking forward my first trip to the Stadium of Light

Read moreWho are you? We’re Barrow. Who?! You heard, Barrow