A summer feast of football in France? Could it be yours


NB no comments allowed for this posting …..

Who fancies France this summer? By that, I don’t mean who reckons the host country will win the tournament, which is possible if unlikely, but whether you’d like to be there yourself, which this competition also makes possible.

If a Salut! Sunderland reader were to win this competition, and embark (with friend or relative) on a 12-day trip across the Channel to see some of the action, Monsieur Salut would be delighted to meet up and buy them a drink should paths meet.

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Could Jermain Defoe be in Roy Hodgson’s squad for the Euros?

Can Jermain make the Cherry pips squeak?
Can Jermain make Roy peer north of Watford, staying east?

When the question was first raised, Monsieur Salut’s instinctive response was along the lines of ‘Hodgson doesn’t really know where Sunderland is, so is unlikely to see Jermain Defoe play unless we’re away to and being beaten soundly by a London side containing one or more of his favourites’. But the questioner persisted with the result that we have now a guest article, from Mark Smith, a sports writer based in Prague, weighing up the pros and cons of Defoe’s case for an England recall …

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Wrinkly Pete: supporting Sunderland, excusing my French

Do not try at home
Do not try at home

Salut! Sunderland‘s Monsieur Salut was rebuked recently for banging on too much about France. Since the old French Fancies series, looking at Ligue 1 and below, has largely fallen into disuse, this seemed odd even if the very title of the site betrays a connection with the other side of the Channel. Others did spring to the old codger’s defence and the old codger himself has no known French blood, just a French wife, two half-French daughters and a quarter-French granddaughter.

M Salut’s much greater shame is to have been born in Hove though County Durham was the place of his upbringing and youth, the family has long-established if historic Sunderland connections and anyone on Wearside called Morris may be distantly related.

Just for fun, here’s Peter Lynn‘s wry look at the little contretemps …

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Tales from the Red and Whites: Monty, Benno, Lord Rowell and Sixer


Lane Hardy: 'hopefully the first of many ...'
Lance Hardy: ‘hopefully the first of many …’

CONDOLENCES to the French midfielder Lassana Diarra on the loss of a cousin, a Muslim like him, in Friday’s attacks by the odious ISIL in Paris. See footnote …

There is not enough time just yet
– for reasons I outline in a long footnote touching on the sadness of recent days – to offer a proper review of the volume of Sunderland-related essays edited by Lance Hardy, the author of a superb book on our 1973 FA Cup final win, Stokoe, Sunderland and ’73.

But it is right to record its publication, with the promise that as soon as other commitments permit, a full review will appear on these pages.

Pete Sixsmith was invited to write the review but declined, nobly judging that it was inappropriate for a contributor to the book to assess its merits.

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The French Connection

France_240-animated-flag-gifsJohn McCormick writes:

“Salut Sunderland”. That, and the nom-de-plume of our leader, says enough but I’ll leave it to Colin to expand on his connections. Me, I have my own. My sister lived in France for many years. She married a Frenchman, she has French (oh, so French) children, she has French grandchildren.

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French Fancies: Nice work, Le Mans race downwards, PSG au revoir to Becks


Our last look of the season at French football takes in ups and downs and (tenuous) Sunderland links at both ends of the table …

The poster for Jonny Wilkinson’s Toulon rugby club
at the nearby Toulon-Hyères airport gives you an idea of which shape of ball matters most in the area Monsieur Salut calls home. Winners of the Heineken cup in Dublin (against Clermont) and this coming weekend in the French championship cup final against Castres. Wilkinson, who just keeps on scoring match after match, has become a local hero.

But another thirtysomething English sportsman in France has been prominent in the French press. As everyone knows, David Beckham was warmly received for his short sojourn at Paris Saint-Germain and, after neither disgracing himself nor covering himself in glory in his relatively limited playing time, has now retired. Le Journal du Dimanche wished him well but could not resist mentioning that he’d made “only two decisive passes” in his PSG career.

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French Fancies: how L’Equipe saw Liverpool’s demolition of Newcastle

Toon disaster seen as French disaster
Toon disaster seen as French disaster

Salut! Sunderland
is, of course, a gloat-free zone. We recognise that no mature Newcastle United supporter ever mocked Sunderland after the 7-1 defeat at Everton, 7-2 at Chelsea or indeed 5-1 at St James’ Park.

So, not least in the knowledge that bad results lie ahead for us as well as them given the nature of football, there is no specific intention to rub salt in the wounds of yesterday’s mauling by Jordan Henderson and Liverpool of the Mags.

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French Fancies: Newcastle 0 SAFC 3 un show unique, says L’Equipe

No need to translate: for L'Equipe, it was 'une victoire amplement méritée'
No need to translate: for L’Equipe, it was ‘une victoire amplement méritée’

It is not often that a Sunderland game features so prominently in the French press. Even though the sports daily, L’Equipe, covers the Premier League reasonably well, you can guess which teams dominate their columns.

Today is different. Paolo Di Canio’s exuberant celebration of each goal at St James’ Park gets the generous illustration you see and is then described in full in the text.

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French Fancies: Beckham’s PSG flick and Toure’s sensational Brest dive

Jake: l'artist
Jake: l’artist

A booming burst of Hey Jude, the familiar broad Essex smile and a clever flicked pass to helped Ménez set up the second Paris Saint-Germain goal, off the knee of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, otherwise poor to the extent of being whistled at by his own fans, are on French lips today.

But David Beckham’s debut for PSG, big an event as it deemed to be on both sides of the Channel, was not for me the most memorable feature of the Ligue 1 weekend.

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