John McCormick, associate editor, writes in the latest of Salut! Sunderland’s end-of-season reviews (see all contributions here):
I only made it to three games.
The first saw us exit the League Cup at Goodison, where a weaker than usual team in a struggling club had no trouble in dispatching us. Rodwell played that evening, in what I think was his last game for us (other than as an unused sub at Brentford), but other than that there was nothing of note in the game and it has no bearing on the rest of the season, so I’ll ignore it.
Yesterday Bernard Walker expressed his love for Goodison Park. Pete Sixsmith will understand why, for it is, as he says above and below:
“…my favourite ground after Roker”.
Read on for an enthralling reminiscence.
John McCormick writes: I talk to Evertonians most weeks. They tend not to be short of opinions – like most fans – but I don’t know how many of them go to Goodison regularly and I have to take much of what is said with a pinch of salt.
That’s not the case with today’s guest. Bernard Walker first graced these pages in 2014 (I commend his first “Who are you?” to you) and it’s great to welcome him back. He’s was at Goodison before it was a World cup venue, even before Z cars graced TV, and he’s a keen observer of all things Everton, so much so that some of his answers to our questions might surprise you.
When you get to the bottom you’ll find I haven’t asked Bernard if he will be at the game. He will, I’ll be sitting next to him, and I’m really looking forward to it.
No game, and no need – or desire – for a relegation review so soon after the last one, which means I’m taking another meander around the Northwest to bring you up to date, more or less, with some of the clubs on this side of the Pennines.
I was going to title this piece “take a walk on the west side” in homage to wrinkly Pete’s propensity for including songs. You’ll find out why I didn’t at the end.
Graeme Holmes* is an Everton season ticket holder whose globetrotting, groundhopping activities make our own Pete Sixsmith seem like an armchair supporter. He’s at a match as a neutral most nights to add to those huge number of Everton games he’s seen over the past 38 years. He has obviously come across Sixer on his travels and it is that connection that introduces him to Salut! Sunderland. Welcome, Graeme …
John McCormick writes: I was thinking of updating our “Relegation watch” this weekend, seeing as there’s no football on, but with a couple of days to go before the transfer window shuts it feels like it’s too early to complete the “before and after” picture. I could have given you my view of Deloitte’s Money Football League but in recent seasons that has been pushed into the summer and I like it there. So I’ve decided to do another of my occasional visits to clubs on this side of the Pennines, where there is plenty of food for thought.
The main thing for Sunderland fans this week must be the cancellation of Adam Johnson’s contract. The club has said it will make no further statement and nor will we. Instead, you can have my ramblings and a mini-tour of the NorthWest.
It’s not just M Salut and Mr Sixsmith, not to mention MOTD, who are celebrating 50 years of supporting, as you can see from my photo. It really was a different era then, and not just because televised football consisted of an hour of black and white on a Saturday night. The Land of the Prince Bishops was the land of heavy industry and a predominantly male workforce, measured in the tens of thousands, many of whose jobs continued until 12 on Saturdays.
Colin Randall writes: John McCormick supports Sunderland, of course, but lives in Liverpool. Even if he did not, he’d be entitled to a view about Liverpool/Everton stadium plans. After all, we’ve all been, or most of us have, to Anfield and Goodison. Here is what John makes of the interminable ramblings in Scouseland about where the two sides should play …