Towards the end of the 2015-2016 season, Sunderland went to Norwich and won 3-0 as part of the Big Sam race for survival. We stayed up, they went down. Before the game, we were able to introduce readers to one of the best Who are You? interviewees of the season, Gary Gowers*. So good were his replies that he took second place in the HAWAY awards – he never received his prize, but we are trying to rectify this now.
As Sunderland’s second Championship game takes us back to Carrow Road, it seemed an ideal opportunity to catch up again with Gary, the editor of http://norwichcity.myfootballwriter.com. Sit back for another terrific read in which he lays into the arrogance of City’s squad last season and expresses no surprise at our own predicament. He’d quite like Catts in Norwich colours but is distinctly cool on James Vaughan and Lewis Grabban. All the same, he predicts a top six place for Sunderland (and for his own side) …
This is our second re-run of a winning interview in the HAWAYs, Salut! Sunderland‘s annual awards for the best Q&As with opposing fans for the Who are You? series. Gary Gowers, a Carrow Road regular since the age of six, editor of NorwichCity.MyFootballwriter.com and the Norwich City voice at the Metro newspaper, came second (see announcement of awards at https://safc.blog/2016/06/haway-awards-1-west-bromwich-albion-2-norwich-city-3-tottenhams-littlejohn/0.
Thanks, Gary, for some great answers. Sorry you had to go down but naturally over the moon it was you, not us. Here is the interview as published before we went to Carrow Road, beat them 3-0 and set ourselves up for survival. As our deputy editor Malcolm Dawson put it when awarding high marks to Gary’s entry, ‘Gary Gowers 9/10: cos his name is nearly Gary Owers (lol) … Another good piece from a fan with no airs and graces or illusions who sees his club like we see ours’ …
The judges have spoken. We have winners in the HAWAYs, Salut! Sunderland’s annuals awards for best interviews given by opposing supporters in the Who are You? series. HAWAYs, as you will have worked out, are otherwise known as Highly Articulate Who are You?s.
Another season produced another crop of excellent contributions. And we are again indebted to our prize sponsors, the friendly folk at the famously half-decent football magazine When Saturday Comes and the purveyors of fine football tops at Classic Football Shirts.
For 2015-2016, the voting ended with a runaway victory in first place and a tight battle for second.
Dawn Astle, daughter of the late WBA legend Jeff, was the clear winner, our voting system giving her 38 points, 16 ahead of the nearest rival. Dawn wins a subscription to When Saturday Comes and her interview will be republished here tomorrow.
“An outstanding piece,” said John McCormick, associate editor. “For me, this was WAY ahead of the rest. “Well written and heart warming,” added Peter Lynn, aka Wrinkly Pete. Both had her in first place, as did Monsieur Salut while our deputy editor Malcolm Dawson placed her second, with Pete Sixsmith including her in his “highly commended” group.
“Another excellently scripted piece from a true football fan,” said Malcolm. “That her dad was one of the greats just adds to the relevance and her tireless work for the Jeff Astle Foundation deserves as much publicity as possible.”
Scant consolation for relegation but Gary Gowers pipped the Tottenham Hotspur-supporting Richard Littlejohn, unrivalled master of Mr Angry columns in the Daily Mail. He collects a £25 voucher towards any purchase from Classic Football Shirts.
For Sixer, who chose him for first place, Gary “sums up the ‘niceness of Norwich’ which will be missed next season. He fully understands the difficulties of keeping a (relatively) small club with no major financial backers in the top level and supports the manager who almost kept them up, but not quite. Lovely quote about Defoe and his entourage – ‘Norwich is a small city and would struggle to accommodate them all’. Just good writing from start to finish.”
Malcolm’s winner would have been Littlejohn: “Well written piece as you would expect from a professional journalist. Realistic and humorous. Liked the Wayne Bobbitt reference but, like Sixer, you won’t catch me buying a Daily Mail.”
Richard will win a suitably designed mug, which is unlikely to change his life.
If another of our usual sponsors responds belatedly and positively to our cap-in-hand approach for prize sponsorship, we will find another worthy candidate for a special late award. Contenders in that category would be Sam Myers (Everton), who won marks from Wrinkly Pete for declining to name any player who should never have been allowed to wear his club’s shirt; the Exeter City pairing of Paul Sussex and Neil le Milliere and Watford’s Ben Clarke.
Paul “Sobs” Dobson, the star A Love Supreme chronicler, was on his own in selecting Ben in any position and had him first for his interview, “a good appreciation of how their recent achievements have been accomplished and not getting too rose-tinted about the future”. Of Gary Gowers, Sobs said: “Realistic to the point of … well, I’d never be that realistic about a Sunderland team!”
Our thanks to the sponsors and to the judges, but also to all – or almost all – the interviewees we found during the season. There were honourable mentions for both Swansea City “Who are You?” candidates, Newcastle United’s Adrian Darnell and one fan from each of the Manchesters, United’s Chas Banks and City’s David Mooney.
We had perhaps better not adopt Sobs’s idea of an additional award for the most irritating interview of the season, and there are no prizes for guessing which two (this and that) he may have had in mind.
* Each of the top three interviews will be reproduced in the coming days. All interviews in the 2015-16 series can be seen at https://safc.blog/category/who-are-you-2015-2016/
SEE FULL INTERVIEW AT https://safc.blog/2016/04/the-norwich-city-interview-i-fear-sunderland-will-pull-it-off-again/
Malcolm Dawson writes…….where I agree with Big Sam is that Saturday’s game at Carrow Road is a “must not lose”. Where I disagree with him is that I do feel it is a “must win” fixture. Do the maths. If we lose we are virtually dead and buried. No argument. But a draw still leaves us 4 points behind the Canaries meaning we have to win our game in hand, get at least one more point than them in the remaining four fixtures and hope that should it all come down to goal difference our defeats are by smaller margins than theirs. A win not only puts us just one point behind with that extra game to play but will improve the GD.
Colin Randall flicked through the pages of his interweb contacts and found Gary Gowers, a die hard Norwich fan who maintains the tradition of excellent WAYs from East Anglia. A win for either side will virtually seal the Mags’ fate but I’m pretty sure, whilst wanting all three points both Alex Neil and Sam Allardyce would settle for a draw. Personally I’d rather be in Norwich’s position than ours but as Gary says it’s squeaky bum time this weekend.