France’s leading Sunday newspaper hails four stars of Premier League football writing[/caption]
How can I make this sound like it has the least thing to do with supporting Sunderland? Monsieur Salut asks himself the question and finally manages to come up with an answer …
Monsieur Salut writes: so sad. England should have been two or three up at half time but lost their way after the interval. Only the sort of toerags who jump on ambulances would deny that Croatia grew stronger and stronger in the second half while England wilted.
For Sunday’s final, Monsieur Salut’s personal disappointment – having warmed to this England manager and side more than any since 1966 – is lessened only to the extent that he can shout for Mme Salut’s Bleus.
I’ve been impressed by France, and especially by how well the racially mixed team has gelled. Look at the players belting out the words of La Marsellaise – the rotten far right in France has lost a spurious reason for doubting their allegiance. Here is a piece, for anyone interested, that I wrote for The National (UAE). The editor is happy for me to reproduce my work here ….
It came out of the blue. A message from a Twitter user plugging Heristage, ‘the only French-language site dedicated to English football’. The message directed me to a long and superbly detailed analysis (in French but at this link) of Sunderland AFC’s ‘Bank of England’ era, that period of the 1950s that older supporters identify as the trigger for our decline.
Heristage turned out to be the work of Rémi Carlu*, a young, half-French/half-English lover of the game as played here, the country of his mother. He’s currently studying back in the UK and happily agreed to explain himself. Rémi doesn’t support Sunderland – he favours Chelsea (mmm…) – but cares enough about his chosen project to have researched us thoroughly; he also thinks, I’m afraid, that we should accept relegation in return for rebuild …
But all his views are fascinating, all the more so coming from a semi-outsider. I commend this to you as a great read …
Dijon is a fairly attractive town set in the beautiful region of Burgundy. Links between there and Sunderland probably don’t extend beyond the short time one of their former managers, Patrice Carteron, spent at SAFC (the famous highlight of his stay being a goal against Newcastle United). The town does give its name to a mustard Monsier Salut regards as a basic necessity of life so should be thanked heartily for that. Pete Sixsmith could not make it to France for the three friendlies there but offers thoughts on what he saw of the 3-2 win – the game being played nearkly 200 miles away in Evian-les-Bains – via the club site …
This was Monsieur Salut’s Facebook posting:
Wanted France to win, they deserved it overall but Portugal suddenly burst into life for just enough of the second period of extra time to tear up the script. Both teams responsible for an awful final …
Monsieur Salut introduces the finale of Euro 2016. He can hardly disguise his allegiance, which would have been forced on him by marriage if not also by natural preference. Allez les Bleus. Who knows if the above shirt might come in handy in Sunderland’s coming season; if you like what you see, remember Classic Football Shirts are good friends of this site and take a look at their site …
Right, so not everyone round here is hooked on the Euros. But while it has not been a sensational tournament, there has been some excellent if sporadic football and a great chunk of romance. Now, there’s every chance of a deserving winner.
I am with those who care little for internationals. I’m more concerned about any Sunderland game, including last night’s bottom-of-the-table encounter between the SAFC Ladies and Doncaster Belles (I’m writing before its kickoff; NB update is that our Lasses won handsomely, 4-0), than pretty much whatever England get up to.
Tonight, I’m rooting for France. I expect the seafront of Le Lavandou, the French resort where I live for nearly half the year, to be alive towards midnight if Les Bleus have done it and will be there if it happens.
But as we showed with our Euro “Who are You?” two-parter, there is support for Portugal, too, even among the followers of Sunderland AFC.
Sam Verissimo, a home-and-away regular, is half-Portuguese, half-Scottish. He gave some cracking answers, of which I particularly loved the following extract.
Who have been the standout countries and players of the tournament for you?
Iceland for obvious reasons but I think Hungary came out and did it for Fulop. They showed why they used to be a great footballing nation. Standout player has to be Hector for Germany for me.
Who has seriously disappointed?
Portugal. Their first four games. Saying that I guess a draw against them wasn’t quite as bad as losing to them! Say no more.
And then we had Véronique Laniel, a Sunderland-supporting Frenchwoman living happily on Wearside. “Magnifique,” trilled her friends at Twitter as news spread of her brilliant interview here.
You are a SAFC season ticket holder. Explain! Where from in France, how long in Sunderland, why, how the club got under your skin, your thoughts on the city and the region?
I moved to Sunderland 20 years ago, a French company sent me to the North East for work, I’m originally from Saint Etienne. I simply fell in love with the people of the North East so I decided to stay and here I am still here! I think the city of Sunderland has come a long way from what I can remember when I first arrived, it has moved forward in the right direction which is great to see. I love it here, the friendliness, the sense of community, the weather (not!).
I’ve always liked football and my interest in SAFC grew when my sons started playing football for the Foundation of Light, I got more and more involved in football then. After attending a few matches to start with, my passion for the club got stronger and stronger and I could not bear not going so becoming a season ticket holder was the next step to take. The passion of the fans got under my skin and why I do love the club so much? I don’t really know actually ! It’s a feeling, it’s in me!
So let’s get on with the game. I hope it’s a good one and, like our French Mackemoiselle, I hope it’s settled before the final whistle and not with penalties.
And if you feel attracted to any of the Classic Football Shirts clobber displayed, or want to see what else they have to offer, have a wander over to their site at bit.ly/1OZhVU5. They’re good to us – sponsoring competitipns and so on – and anything you buy from them helps Salut! Sunderland pay the bills.
Monsieur Salut writes: tomorrow night, should France do what logic expects and defeat a Portugal side that has won only once in normal time on the way to the Euro 2016 final, the country will be en fête. But the same will go for a part of Sunderland that is forever French.
Salut! Sunderland found a Sunderland-supporting Portuguese fan, Sam Verissimo, for the first of these special Who are You! interviews. Now it is the turn of FrenchFancy1971, as she calls herself on Twitter, Véronique Laniel as she is known in real life, a product of Saint-Etienne – where the film version of Sunderland, the hit Paris play, was relocated – but settled on Wearside with the Red and Whites firmly lodged with Les Verts in her heart. She warns us ‘to read this with a French Mackem accent in mind’ …
Tomorrow: another SAFC season ticket holder – Véronique, a solidly French adopted Mackem – exudes passion for La Belle France …
Monsieur Salut writes: here’s a special treat from the tireless souls at Salut! Sunderland. Many readers enjoy the Who are You? series. Why not one for the Euro 2016 final?
Help was sought from miles around. Loads of friends of this site tried to dig up suitable candidates, a supporter of France and a supporter of Portugal.
And we ended up – I am delighted to say – with two Sunderland fans. Once Ronaldo and Griezmann had declined our offer (“reward in heaven guv, honest”), it could not have worked out better. Shout-outs are due to Kay and Steve, also Sunderland supporters, for putting me on the track of Sam Verissimo, home-and-away regular but also half-Portuguese.
So let’s start with Portugal, whose plodding route to the final has underwhelmed most neutrals. Sam describes himself at Twitter as ‘a born entertainer who apparently looks like Michael Mcintyre’ and has a SoL season ticket despite living in London. He fears the worst for his country on Sunday …
Monsieur Salut writes: Pete Sixsmith makes 10 points from the opening sequence of the Euros but I seem to have reduced them to seven. I began yesterday in a rage against the moronic English ‘fans’ who, as I have witnessed at first hand, are as obnoxious a group of people as you’d hope not to meet. But if they – and of course I mean the sizeable minority of trouble-seeking louts – had already behaved atrociously in one of my favourite French cities, Marseille, their lowlife thuggishness was more than matched by an evil bunch of Russians, in particular, and by some French ‘fans’.
Pete fears there will be trouble wherever England play, even when the English are not wholly or even mostly to blame. As for the football, disappointment for England, a dark start for a man with SAFC pedigree – Lorik Cana, who must have even Lee Cattermole tit-tutting – not to mention another red, albeit away from the Euros in the Copa America) DeAndre Yedlin – and a great opener for Wales. Now let Sixer admire French stadiums and French midfielders …
Win a trip to the Euros … read on
Roy Hodgson has probably worked out where Sunderland is on the map but not clearly enough to make him select an in-form striker, who grabbed an astonishing tally of 15 Premier League goals despite playing for a team that spent most of the season in the bottom three.
So no room for Jermain Defoe at the Euros 2016 in France. Roy did include in his provisional squad a well-known Championship player, Andros Townsend, and a man who doesn’t quite match Jermain’s standards of clean living, Jack Wilshere.
And SAFC fans who turn out at the Stadium of Light on Friday may well see Jordan Henderson, long lost to us as a player but still a fan, in the England friendly vs Australia. Since Roy’s a linguist, this link helping him find our ground is in French.