John McCormick writes: Malcolm said over the weekend that “with no game between now and the Checkatrade Trophy final, the Salut! Sunderland team will no doubt be racking their collective brains trying to think up articles that will keep the readership ticking over.”
Of course we will, and ideas are already being drafted out. Even so, with a whole fortnight between SAFC games there’s still time for a look back in time, so here’s a piece Pete Sixsmith wrote which first saw the light of day exactly 9 years ago. I’ve included it because it’s interesting to see how much – and how little – has changed in less than a decade.
Here’s how M Salut introduced the piece, which had the title
- Such nights don’t come along too often. We’d won promotion and clinched the title, the team were out celebrating with their wives (two of whom got on spectacularly badly as the night wore on). Pete Sixsmith looks back, taking his hat off to Roy Hodgson along the way
This will be my final dodgy numbers post of the season. (If you haven’t seen the previous ones you can follow the link above, and/or those below). There is still a game to go, and two questions remain unanswered, but we can now look at the league table and judge how well our start of season pundits did. Their choices for the top six spots, in order of popularity were: Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Fulham, Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland.
Three out of six, and wrong about the top two. Is that a “not bad” verdict or something worse?
As you know, Pete Sixsmith didn’t make this game. That’s not a problem, however, as Bob Chapman made the trip and once again steps into the breech with a fine account of what would have been a very decent day in London, had there been a very decent referee at Craven Cottage.
John McCormick writes: Pete Sixsmith was not present today. Neither was I, although I had put this on on my list. And nor did I manage to get to a pub for the start and missed the first 40 minutes and hence our goal, but not the equaliser that came from the recovery after the non-penalty decision.
The second half saw us holding on until the inevitable lat(ish) and offside? goal but I don’t think we were disgraced – just not good enough against a quite good and increasingly desperate team at home – and better than the commentator suggested. And, after all, we drew the pair 2-2 on aggregate and won it on away goals, so it’s a moral victory isn’t it?
Does Pete’s stand-in agree? You’ll have to wait for a full report but here’s Bob Chapman’s immediate seven-word text, forwarded by Pete to give you a hint:
John McCormick writes: I remember a pleasant afternoon at Fulham in the early seventies. In my case it was made pleasant by the few pints of proper beer we enjoyed in the pub on the other side of Putney Bridge and by an away win, which I enjoyed trouble free although esconced with locals. Not all grounds were so welcoming in those days, as I found out a few weeks later at Millwall. Pete Sixsmith has already written about that game – or one little different; now he finishes a series which has brightened a dismal season with an account of another trip to Craven Cottage, one which took place some five years before I got there:
It’s that time of year. Salut! Sunderland is asking people to judge the best interviews of the season in our Who are You? series. If you want to have your say, and remember interviews you especially liked, just send your first three in order, and maybe add a comment on why you’ve made those choices. Do it as a comment below or write to this e-mail address
Joe Jenkins, our Fulham interviewee, is a mate so maybe I shouldn’t vote for him. But if I decide I can, he might pick up points from me – it’s a gem …
Today, we hand over the penultimate prize Guess the Score* to a three-year-old girl who has embarked, even at such tender an age, on a lifetime of what we all know supporting Sunderland brings.
As Derek Scott points out, we have already heard eloquently from his daughter Natasha, keeping faith from faraway Cornwall. (Re-read her heartwarming contribution from a few years ago, sadly stripped of the photos by the system, here).
Now he introduces us to his granddaughter (who naturally had no idea this would be turned into our regular competition ahead of the game, otherwise meaningless to us save for pride, at Craven Cottage). Monsieur Salut will even enter a scoreline on her behalf – 1-1, which she or grandad is welcome to change …
Sometimes, and admittedly it’s only on the rarest of occasions these days, something happens that makes you realise why you support Sunderland.
Yesterday you might have seen how I – or rather our readers – came to select a number of clubs to follow over the course of the season. They were originally Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Fulham, Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland; Wolves, Bristol City, Cardiff, Derby and Sheffield United joined them at the end of the January transfer window.
Let’s go back to the start of the season (and don’t we wish we could).
I polled our readers as to who would make the top six. These clubs came up favourite ( in the order given) and I began tracking them and reporting on their progress from time to time:
By Christmas, if not earlier, it was obvious some changes were needed.