Monsieur Salut writes: on quiet days, two thoughts cross the mind: one of relief that Sunderland are not playing, therefore cannot lose, and a second on what to put on the site to stop interest flagging. The slack times would be unimportant if our readers generally had the habit of dipping into a substantial archive of material accumulated since Salut! Sunderland breathed its first in early 2007. They do not.
Perhaps we need to give more thought on how to make historical items attractive and easy enough to look up. We were better at this in the past, but much of the ‘furniture’, the links that appear in the sidebar column to the right as you look at this page, vanished either when the site crashed under cyber-attack a while ago or when our much-missed web guru Sam later sorted out lingering problems.
Let me introduce Ten Years After, not the ancient rock band but a new category to accommodate articles from 10 years ago that may still have merit, whether because they have historical interest or because they may stir memories or simply entertain. Our associate editor John McCormick, has other ideas for doing more to alert today’s readers to what Salut! Sunderland has got up to and these will be implemented where possible.
Ten Years After starts with a piece that first appeared about but not exactly 10 years ago, ie on Feb 22 2007, and looked at some rotten refereeing decisions of what was, already in 2007, the past. I will make minor tweaks to take account of the passage of time. You may have better examples from before or since …
Every honest football fan knows he or she has occasionally howled at referees and linesmen only for the contentious decision to be proved to be flawless. Every honest footballer knows his entirely subjective view of an incident may not be accurate. And we all know footballers make many more costly mistakes than officials.
Yet weekend after weekend, there is the closest scrutiny of judgements seen as plain wrong, debatable or merely unpopular with one set of fans or the other.
As the season reaches the time when vital points are at stake, at both ends of all divisions and in decisive cup ties, controversy inevitably become more intense.
It is possible to believe Costel Pantilimon needs to be much more assertive in the goalmouth, and to deal much more safely with crosses and long-range shots, but also acknowledge – however belatedly – that the West Bromwich Albion goal on Saturday was indeed the result of a foul. Or even two fouls.
The latest in our occasional series that pokes Salut! Sunderland noses into the business of others …
Graham Poll was a referee whose apparent excess of self-confidence was often interpreted as arrogance. There was much gloating when his three-card trick – in fact it was one card, the yellow one he showed three times to Josip Šimunic of Croatia in the 2006 World Cup – signalled the end of his international career.
In truth, it was his decision to stand down, directly because of his error, and he refereed for only one further season in the Premier before retiring.
He now does an excellent and necessary job, commenting in the Daily Mail on controversial issues arising from match officials’ decision.
In his Daily Mail column, Graham Poll describes as indefensible the decision that helped confirm the identity of this season’s Premier League champions.
Graham Poll offers his thoughts on the weekend controversies in each Monday’s Mail. Sometimes we agree, sometimes not. This occasional column will explore those of his verdicts that find us at odds with our own …
Today, Graham Poll insists Kieran Richardson should have been sent off when Phil Dowd awarded the penalty to Liverpool. He mocks the perfectly plausible argument that Suraez, as Dowd saw it, was heading away from goal and may even have pushed the ball too far to be able to control it. He was emphatically not making a simple tour round Mignolet to tap the ball home, much as he may have wished.
Not really a piece in praise of Premier refs. Not really a go at Graham Poll. Just a plea for some even-handedness in our approach – and even the approach of refs who have become pundits – to their decision-making, at least until the next bad one goes against us…
On TalkSport today, Graham Poll talked about recent refereeing decisions.
Of the four really bad and unpunished, or inadequately punished, fouls committed in the Premier League last weekend, he singled out Lorik Cana’s challenge on Eboue, in the first half of Arsenal v Sunderland, as having been easily the worst.
Gooners have been active at Salut! Sunderland since the match, claiming that whatever the rights and wrongs of Cesc Fabregas staying on the field after what they agree was a challenge deserving his second yellow (the dissent concerns his first booking), Cana’s tackle was a shocker and should have earned him a straight red from Steve Bennett.