Monsieur Salut introduces another prize edition of Guess rhe Score and promises belated movement on the backlog of winners …
As we hover just above the relegation zone despite ending the losing run, there is just one consolation: it’s a different relegation zone with names like Brentfor, Burmingham and Bolton instead of Palace, Bournemouth and – would you believe it, Jordan? – Everton.
So we are on a run of four successive defeats. The alarm bells are not so much ringing as cracking into many pieces due to the sheer volume of their sound.
And Hull? Hammered at Derby, beaten in midweek at Fulham, their own dip in form undoing the relatively good work of earlier in what is still early in the season. When I set the Who are You? questions to Hull City fan and author Gary Clark – stand by for answers stretching to War and Peace length – the Tigers were just behind the top six. Now they’re 16th, just four places above us.
On a mid-December day in 2016, 40,267 souls were recorded as being present when, shortly after 4pm, Patrick van Aanholt, scored the goal that proved a winner against Watford at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland have not won a home game since.
Simon Grayson has had only two SoL games in charge so can hardly be blamed for this lamentable state of affairs. David Moyes can be blamed a lot, as can our want-away ower Ellis Short and his hired-to-be-stingy chief executive Martin Bain.
Can we break this wretched duck – no home wins in a year now in its ninth month – against Sheffield United?
As Paul Summersideput it here earlier this week, Saturday’s game at Oakwell is a much more important test of Simon Grayson’s Sunderland than a 2nd league cup tie could ever be.
The result will not determine the course of our season. But the psychological impact of a good one, which means three points not one, would be huge. A bad does not bear thinking about, even this early in the season.
Malcolm Dawson writes….I nearly put SAFC v Dirty Leeds in the headline in an attempt to attract a few irate United fans along to our Guess the Score competition but opted for diplomacy rather than provocation.
If you’ve never been here before then all you have to do is be the first to correctly predict Saturday’s scoreline before kick off and a prize could well be winging its way to you post match should Monsieur Salut feel inclined to dig deep into the pockets of his pantalon.
Pete Sixsmith had a long trek home from East Anglia yesterday. I bet the fish and chips tasted especially good at Wetherby after a fine 3-1 win. We’ll doubtless hear from him some time day – his report of the match, and his travels leading up to it, is eagerly awaited. In the meantime, start thinking about Wednesday and Wednesday, the third league match of the season …
Matches come thick and fast when you drop to the Championship and we already have three winners of Guess the Score waiting patiently for their prize mugs. Since Paul Devinbe (1-1 vs Derby), Phil Davison (1-0 to Bury and Eric Bowers (3-1 vs Norwich) are regulars on the podium, they’ll know Monsieur Salut can sometimes be slow to get round to having the prizes shipped out.
Don’t let my tardiness put you off telling us how the Lads will get on at Hillsborough after a promising start under Simon Grayson.
As usual, the competition is open to all supporters, Sheffield Wednesday’s, ours and indeed neutrals. Be first to post the correct scoreline before kickoff and you will receive a mug (UK delivery only) with a design reflecting your allegiance.
We’ve had a first winner in this season’s Guess the Score series and it’s yet another correct prediction from Paul Devine, a Sunderland supporter exiled in the Netherlands. He sensed we would draw 1-1 with Derby County and was right.
As I write, the Bury League Cup game is still to come. There may be another winner to announce from that tie (NB: the obvious update is that I am delighted we got through).
A new season beckons and we’re raring to go, full of optimism and excitement, our confidence nourished by the knowledge that Sunderland AFC are in the safest of hands.
No pre-season calamities, no breaking of ranks or signs of dressing room dissent, no one facing disciplinary action before the league programme even starts. And everything points to Simon Grayson holding on to the few remaining players of real quality.
That’s the fantasy out of the way. Can we now settle down to a start to the season that at least makes us look capable of competing at Championship level?
With apologies to the late Lesley Gore and the writers of her pop classic – it took no fewer than four of them: Walter Gold John Gluck Jr, Herb Weiner Seymour Gottlieb, and their song of teenage betrayal was elevated to new heights in the 1981 version of the non-Eurythmics, non-Sunderland Dave Stewart and Barbar Gaskin – Sunday afternoon is party time. Chelsea fans will be en fete, ours will make the most of their day, too, before taking their leave of the Premier League.
To adapt the song’s best couplet: Everybody knows where my Sunderland have gone/ But Judy (David Moyes?) left the same time
And here’s is a special prize edition of Guess the Score …