Colin Randall writes: I always worried about images for this site. Without access to professional databases, without – mostly – the nerve to grab photographs from elsewhere unless we had permission or a good excuse – the arrival of Jake was manna from heaven. For eight or nine of our 13 years, Jake – John Clark, a solid Sunderland lad exiled in Spain – has supplied a . wonderful stream of illustrations to preview a match, or record its result, or often enough just to capture a moment, a mood. Salut! Sunderland has been greatly enriched by his presence and I cannot find truly adequate words to express my admiration and appreciation.Now – though not for the first time as he reminded me this morning (see this) – John/Jake finds words of his own that are not just the witty captions to his own images and banners and those priceless comments he’d sometimes post…
One last shout-out for the Lads at Wembley tomorrow – or last but one since another piece, by Lars Knutsen, is now scheduled for later today – means, this time, one last sing-out (there’s no music from Lars).
Malcolm Dawson writes…… claims in a recently published book by football agent Jon Smith, only add weight to my belief that not only is Salut! Sunderland monitored by Sunderland AFC to find out just what the thinking fan is thinking, but is also the go to site for the players themselves (though maybe not ex players like Jozy Altidore or Danny Graham). The author claims that last season the Sunderland squad wanted to have special tee shirts printed up showing a black cat mauling a magpie. The club denies the suggestion was ever seriously considered and I can well believe that it was proposed in a light hearted way by one of the more fun loving, combative members of the squad after seeing some of our graphic maestro Jake’s illustrations. Jake’s contributions are most welcome and the site just wouldn’t be the same without him.
Take these examples for instance, following our wins at the ground that we stopped calling Sid James Park and renamed the 03 Arena. Jake is the Sunderland fan exiled in Spain who provides the vast majority of illustrations we use on the site. Either of these might have been passed around the Academy of Light and it doesn’t take a great leap of imagination to picture the Lads after training having a laugh and using them as inspiration for their upcoming derby battle last season which we won – by 3-0 for a change.
Tee shirt controversy is nothing new.
There are still Sunderland fans who can never forgive Lee Clark for wearing one which bore a Geordie phrase seen as insulting by Wearsiders. Personally I couldn’t get worked up about that. As I saw it, at that time he was at Wembley supporting the team he had followed as a lad with a few of his mates and they would have treated it as a laugh to get him to wear it. I know plenty will disagree with me – but he never let us down where it mattered, on the pitch wearing a shirt with the Sunderland badge on it.
Lee Trundle, when playing at Wembley, removed his shirt to reveal a tee shirt with a cartoon image of a semi naked man in a Swansea top taking a leak (note not a leek) on a Cardiff City shirt. Trundle was later arrested for public order offences after his post match celebrations.
Not quite in the same league but both former Sunderland star Kieran Richardson and current squad member Steven Pienaar have demonstrated their faith in Jesus through the medium of underwear.
But just to show that sometimes things are more important than tribal rivalries, Jake came up with this image on the right.
Finally another image that tickled me, though Jake informs me that it isn’t one of his.
* Voting has begun in The Football Blogging Awards. Salut! Sunderland will not get even close to winning but we have been invited to enter. If you feel like casting a vote in our favour, the obvious category is Best Football Club Blog and you can support us at http://www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk/about/vote-now-football-blogging-awards/
OK, we usually offer a few random thoughts on the forthcoming game as we invite readers – whoever they support – to Guess the Score.
Cue a break with tradition.
For this week only, our illustrator Jake provides not only the image but the only four words that really concern Sunderland supporters. He repeats them many times, but there are still, essentially, just the four words.
Jake is our treasured but exiled graphic artist. Most of the images at Salut! Sunderland emanate from his place in Spain. Here, he joins the Beauties and Beasts parade with scathing comments about modern football gear and find reminiscences of shirts of the past, though not always the matches he wore them too …
Colin Randall writes: it is not just Sunderland AFC that knows the meaning of struggle. Salut! Sunderland has its moments, too. I am talking readership levels. Victory – and defeats for those who remember them – in the Wear-Tyne derbies always boost numbers, though not as much as they once did. So do John McCormick’s statistical epics on relegation prospects among the bottom eight (or so) clubs. When Monsieur Salut, John or deputy editor Malcolm Dawson come up with a catchy headline, the effect can be the same because of the way website aggregators work. The common denominator, I am sad to say, is other clubs. We often draw big hits when the content, and therefore the headlines, mention them. Purely Sunderland-themed articles do not, with honourable exceptions, have the same effect.
This suggests we are not quite getting it right for SAFC supporters. Our Facebook group has more than 500 members but there are some days when we do not attract even that number of visitors to the site. Here, after John McCormick has set the scene, is your chance to tell us what it is we are doing wrong, what we should be more or better, what we should not be doing at all …
Ready to Go is the name of Sunderland’s indispensable fans’ forum, as you all know.
It also the theme chosen by our ace illustrator Jake for a final call to arms before the match at home to Swansea, kicking off very soon indeed.
As Jake says, we need three points. Our usual Guess the Score competition revealed plenty of nervousness among SAFC fans.
Let the nerves be unnecessary. Let Jake’s will prevail.
The buildup is over. Go to https://safc.blog/2014/09/striking-out-for-victory-at-burnley/ if you ant t re-cap; it contains onward links to the prize Guess the Score and the Burnley “Who are You?”.
We may as well indulge in some gallows humour.
It is time for that rarest of things, Salut! Sunderland beating its own drum and asking readers to apply their own percussive accompaniment.
From the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) comes news of its 2013 Writers Awards ceremony, in association with William Hill, which will take place on Monday December the Emirates stadium. Monsieur Salut feels able to proceed with what it could mean for this site on the firm understanding that Paul Danson will not be among the judges.