Sorry Sulley, greatest on earth or not, it’s back to dreary Milan

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Whether it was an own goal or his own, Sulley Muntari fired the shot that led to what Pete Sixsmith called possibly our most important goal of the season, since it secured a Premier status that had at least showed signs of vulnerability.

But now it’s over. Sunderland AFC have confirmed the option to sign midfielder Muntari permanently will not be taken up. And that, because of the terms of the loan deal with Inter Milan, means his association with the club is over

Read moreSorry Sulley, greatest on earth or not, it’s back to dreary Milan

Sulley Muntari, Inter Milan and us: I am the greatest, or not

Long ago, the much-missed Sunderland fanzine It’s The Hope I Can’t Stand ran a funny spoof interview imagining SAFC’s direct negotiations on a new contract for Allan “Magic” Johnston. With each reply, the player’s asking price went up. I thought of that piece when I read two other spoof interviews, this time with our own – for now? for longer? – Sulley Muntari, much in our affections for his winner at Bolton.

From deep in Thailand, Phil Johnson*, a Mackem exile who clearly has far too much time on his hands, was trawling Inter Milan fan sites when he came across this; it’s hardly a dependable portrayal of our on-loan player’s character, but at least gives an idea of how some Inter fans saw him. This was the work of a young supporter who invented Muntari quotes about being on €6m a year, paying the club €10,000 for each red card he received and showing no shortage of self-esteem. Steve Bruce talks of a decision being made at the end of the season on whether to extend or convert the loan; perhaps this will help SAFC prepare for the negotiations

At the ForzaInter fan site – where you will also find some anti-SAFC banter, plus a poll showing 75 per cent of Inter fans in favour of offloading Muntari – the author is described in his profile as an 19-year-old Israeli who calls himself Inter Siamo Noi. These are edited extracts from the piece that so amused Phil ..

Read moreSulley Muntari, Inter Milan and us: I am the greatest, or not

Champions and daughters

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It was a weekend for champions: the Champions’ League final, the Championship playoff final, a fitting finale for southern-based Sunderland supporters who won their own league – and even some reflected glory for Salut! Sunderland …

Chelsea’s Florent Malouda popped up on the French TV news yesterday, beaming as he rejoined Raymond Domenech’s Wolrd Cup squad at their training camp in the Alps – are we expecting snow in South Africa? – after a quick return to London for the birth of his fourth child.

Read moreChampions and daughters

Soapbox: Mourinho’s Inter Milan – just like watching Blackpool

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Almost a blank Saturday? Pete Sixsmith found no football to tempt him to a ground yesterday, but was so taken with what he heard and saw from Wembley and the Santiago Bernabeu that he became quite confused. Was that Ormerod or Milito who scored Blackpool’s playoff winner? See if you spotted the same similarities between yesterday’s triumphant sides …

Well that was my first blank Saturday for a while. I resisted the temptation of Newcastle University v Shankhouse in the Northern Alliance and spent a non football ground-attending day doing other things.

Read moreSoapbox: Mourinho’s Inter Milan – just like watching Blackpool

Who are you? We’re Barrow. Who?! You heard, Barrow

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Once he’d left football, Vic Halom, a hero of 1973 and therefore a justifiably revered figure at Sunderland, was involved in a company called, if I recall correctly, something like Disaster Solutions or Disaster Management. It was one of those record-breaking bad Premier seasons of ours when I met him before an obligatory pounding at Old Trafford, and I remember wondering whether SAFC’s predicament was beyond even Vic’s powers to resolve. That’s a long way of introducing Andrew Steel*, Barrow fan and football blogger (check out Halftime Oranges), who reminds us that Vic also made a big impact at his club. Andrew also has soft spots for Liverpool and Inter MIlan, but Barrow come first and he will be part of the army of fans making their way cross-country for Saturday’s FA Cup third round tie, a dream for him, hostage to fortune for us …

Salut! Sunderland:What does it mean to you, as a fan, to have drawn Sunderland away? Better than Boro away, I imagine.

I was made up when I saw the draw, although I was a little cautious about getting ahead of myself as, to be honest, I didn’t think we’d beat Oxford.

Last year was amazing. I’d never thought I’d watch Barrow playing Premier League opposition in a competitive match. It’s the stuff of dreams, so twice in two seasons is just magical.

For me, this year’s draw was definitely bigger than Boro. With no disrespect to Boro, Sunderland is a bigger club with a better following. I’m very much looking forward my first trip to the Stadium of Light

Read moreWho are you? We’re Barrow. Who?! You heard, Barrow