Out with the mugs and in with the print or t-shirt. For the next two games, Guess the Score has the ear of those excellent people at Art of Football, occasional sponsors of Salut! Sunderland competitions and run by Nottingham Forest fans among whom we found a Who are You? candidate earlier in the season.
So guess the score in Sunderland vs Fulham, be first with the right scoreline and you will win one of the two Niall Quinn/Kevin Phillips items shown: a fine print or a t-shirt depicting two heroes of Sunderland’s relatively recent past.
The way hope was brushed aside as if no more than a slow, low-flying insect hardly inspires great confidence as Sunderland travel to Molineux, where Wolves are top, 10 points ahead of third place and winning games for fun, the last five of them on the trot.
Come back tomorrow and you’ll see why our Wolves “Who are You?” interviewee predicts an emphatic home win despite having a soft spot for Sunderland, having once lived on Wearside and been a Roker Park regular.
Just look at the home and away table. Two wins, a draw and six defeats at home, nine goals scored but 21 shipped.
What a catastrophic home record for any professional football side.
How could any away team and its wonderful support go to the Pirelli Stadium, capacity all of 6,912, without a spring in the step? Sadly the away side at Burton on Saturday is us, our home record makes theirs look quite respectable and we haven’t a clue where the next win is coming from.
Will Sunderland return to the tradition of the post-match manager’s e-mail under Chris Coleman? If so, will his first be to salute a debut rather more impressive than the last author of such missives, David Moyes, managed with West Ham?
Pete Sixsmith has already promised never again to use mustard puns in relation to our new boss. So if we do start receiving, and publishing, Coleman’s thoughts, however massaged by press office staff, that rule will extend to the title of the feature.
Just as Sunderland supporters were given two reasons to smile – the dismissal of Simon Grayson demanded by so many and a sudden leap to the heady heights of third bottom – a quick look at the Championship results and table showed the other sick man of North-eastern football suddenly feeling a lot more perky.
Boro’s 3-1 win at Hull City took them to just outside the playoffs and reminds us of the scale of Sunday’s task with or more likely without a new manager.
Without needing to post an entry, Clive Whittingham – a supporter of QPR not SAFC – won the Guess the Score competition , correctly predicting a 1-1 draw in our most recent 90 minutes of disappointment.
Observant readers will know of the new rule that the scoreline forecast by our Who are You? interviewee is automatically deemed the first entry in each competition.
Of course, Monsieur Salut has no intimate knowledge of the QPR manager’s feelings ahead of Saturday’s game at the Stadium of Light. But if someone calling himself Ian or Holloway, from west London, plumps for an away win in the comments below, you’ll know soon enough.
What is left to say? Another game, another sense of trepidation or, if Pete Sixsmith was right in his clinical assessment of our plight after his bleak evening at Portman Road, another reason to be “largely past caring”.
Preston North End vs Sunderland. Fifth top vs second bottom. It seems beyond belief, whatever the level of pessimism that our deputy editor Malcolm Dawson and others experienced in the summer.
For the second game in succession, Guess the Score was won on Saturday by our Who are You? interviewee from the opposing side. So Everton supporter Bernard Walker and Cardiff City fan Mike Morris join the very select band of people waiting for elusive Salut! Sunderland prize mugs.
One of these days, Monsieur Salut’s ship will come in, bringing the cargo needed to make the mug purchases (ie some dosh). And one day, Sunderland will remind supporters what it feels like to follow a winning side, though at least the Ladies and Under 18s recorded victories at the weekend.
Monsieur Salut writes: sincere apologies if you tried to come here last night and could see only a message saying the database could not be reached. Our contract is with GoDaddy – as I was reminded yesterday when the bill for another two years landed with a painful thud yesterday – and proudly announced this morning that maintenance work had been carried out. If this was the cause of the unannounced interruption in our service, they’ll be on the receiving end of a choice rebuke later on (update: it probably was, but GoDaddy says WordPress does the work and therefore causes the disruption …
Still no win at home this year (and still no mugs for the winners of previous Guess the Score competitions). I am working on the latter and can but hope Mr Grayson has a viable plan to correct the former.
As things stand, Cardidd fans have every right to be licking their lips at the distinct prospect of yet another smash-and-grab job for visitors to the Stadium of Light. OK, it is not quite bottom vs top but we start just one place above the drop zone whereas City are up there on the same points as the leaders, Leeds and Wolves.