Monsieur Salut writes: by tradition, Salut! Sunderland reproduces the Who are You? interview that has won our top HAWAY award. There is a twist, and a much-appreciated one. Doug Shields, a Bristol Rovers fan and the author, said he would prefer his prize to go to ‘a decent charity in Sunderland’. The runner-up, Richard Hall (Walsall), immediately made a similar gesture, asking for a replica top to go to an inner-city Sunderland school, perhaps as a prize for its summer fete. There you have it: football’s antidote to the shame brought by lowlife hoodlums running amok in Portugal in pretence of supporting England.
I shall offer an Art of Football print – the Sunderland range can be seen here and is superb – to the newish Sunderland fans’ museum and am open to suggestions as to the school. If I receive more than one approach or recommendation, I shall draw a winning school at random (provided it broadly fits Richard’s geographical preference). Thank you, genetlemen …
The season is over and Sunderland couldn’t quite get across the finishing line. But there were positives, says Monsieur Salut, despite the failure to achieve what everyone wanted and the club needed.
Salut! Sunderland‘s modest contributions to the season’s brighter aspects included a good deal of fine writing for which credit is due to Pete Sixsmith, Malcolm Dawson, John McCormick, Wrinkly Pete, Rob Hutchison, Bob Chapman, Paul Summerside, Bill Taylor, Lars Knutsen, John Marshall and whoever I have overlooked.
And then there were the Who are You? interviews, in-depth interviews with fans of opposing teams before each game.
Our fellow League One clubs proved a tremendous source of wit and wisdom as the interviews mounted up. It is now time to offer some rewards to those responsible for the best of them.
This is the prize-winning interview with Del Day, a Watford supporter, in Salut! Sunderland annual HAWAY awards. Del took first place – as you can read here – and has expressed a preference for the £50 voucher from Classic Football Shirts (‘I’ll get that ’89 away shirt for my wife – only kidding, it’s the kit she hates most!’) … bravo Del, and here’s your interview all over again …
Monsieur Salut introduces our annual HAWAY awards, with thanks to the supporters of all clubs played by Sunderland in league and cup this season who contributed to the series …
Cinema does it with Oscars, BAFTAs, Cannes and the rest. Pop has the Brits and Grammys. Salut! Sunderland brings you the HAWAYS, honouring the best interviews with opposing fans – the Highly Articulate Who are You? awards.
We are delighted once again to have a trio of generous sponsors. The rough-and-ready shortlist is with judges but I shall extend the process this year to allow a popular vote, using the same criteria including the fact that my suggestions are intended as no more than a guide.
Salut! Sunderland gets big hits for “Who are You?” interviews, the Q and A sessions with opposing fans that we publish before every game, writes Monsieur Salut.
And at the end of each season, we present the Haways – Highly Articulate Who Are You? awards – to those our judges deem to have been the best.
It is entirely subjective but a spot of fun. If any reader who follows the series wishes to have a say, please just leave a comment (using your correct e-mail address, which is not shown but I can see) and you will be contacted.
Salut! Sunderland seeks out all manner of people for the ‘Who are You?’ series. It’s great to attract household names but some of the best interviews have been with ordinary fans, home-and-away regulars or armchair supporters. Richard Littlejohn* fits into the first category, familiar to most people from his TV series and strident Daily Mail columns. Monsieur Salut knew him when he was just one of the mob of hacks covering industrial relations. He’s a good lad, whatever you think of his views, he’s a real football supporter and he came third in our HAWAY awards. Here is the interview we ran before the 1-0 home defeat to Spurs in September …
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’ …
Salut! Sunderland is delighted to announce Dawn Astle, inspiration for the Jeff Astle Foundation in honour of her father, one of the greatest players to wear the colours of West Bromwich Albion, as first-place winner of our HAWAY award for the 2015-2106 season. Read about the results at https://safc.blog/2016/06/haway-awards-1-west-bromwich-albion-2-norwich-city-3-tottenhams-littlejohn/. Here, to be read in the knowledge she was interviewed before the 0-0 draw vs WBA at the Stadium of Light on April 2, a game she attended, is how the interview was introduced and how it proceeded … Dawn wins a subscription to When Saturday Comes …
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/
The annual Salut! Sunderland HAWAYs, modest prizes awarded to opposing supporters who are judged by our panel to have been the best interviewees of the season, will be announced early next week.
But now we need new contenders for the 2016-2017 awards.