Fifty years of Sunderland openers: (5) not sent to Coventry

Jake offers no crest and no ship, just unmistakeable SAFC
Jake offers no crest and no ship, just unmistakeable SAFC

We thought it was all over. It will be now, or once this has been published. Pete Sixsmith had presented one last look back over opening games selected from his half century of Sunderland support, and it had promptly been overlooked. Here, then, is his recollection of one he missed – which was perhaps just as well. See the rest of the series at https://safc.blog/category/fifty-years-before-the-red-and-white-mast-2/

Read moreFifty years of Sunderland openers: (5) not sent to Coventry

Fifty years of Sunderland openers: (4) Bristol City away but hardly shipshape

Now then, this is a warts-and-all series about opening games of the season and Pete Sixsmith cannot just pick the tastiest cherries. There were some matches that would question anyone’s commitment to football and the visit to Ashton Gate in 1994, the start of the season in which Peter Reid arrived late to save our bacon, was one. 11,126 other souls turned out to see two teams that would finish 20th (us) and 24th. The National Media Museum photograph of Brunel’s magnificent Clifton Suspension Bridge may ease the pain a little …

Read moreFifty years of Sunderland openers: (4) Bristol City away but hardly shipshape

Fifty years of Sunderland openers: (3) Southampton, long before self-destruct reigned

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Pete Sixsmith continues his series of knowledgeable retrospective glances at opening games of seasons past in over a half-century of supporting the Lads. Southampton supporters may also enjoy nostalgic relief from the astonishing goings-on down on the south coast, where their club appears to have been taken over by madmen (or women) …

Read moreFifty years of Sunderland openers: (3) Southampton, long before self-destruct reigned

Fifty years of Sunderland openers: (2) visions of hell at Millwall

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The New Den is hardly the Old Den. Back in 2000, a semi-reformed Millwall Yob-and-Proud-of-It – he’d become a published author telling of his exploits – told me people were hypocritical about football hooligans because they created all the atmosphere in grounds. Pete Sixsmith, looking back in the second of this series on opening fixtures of his past, could be forgiven for thinking otherwise after experiencing a special Old Den welcome reserved for supporters of visiting teams with the audacity to score a few times. Some of the assailants that day, 40 years ago, will now be in their 80s and, presumably, causing havoc with their walking sticks in south London old people’s homes …

Read moreFifty years of Sunderland openers: (2) visions of hell at Millwall