The Johnny Crossan story revisited: (2) a rebel in Sunderland’s cause

Spot and click to magnify Roker Park. And then read on for the next part of a SAFC story from just a few years before that photograph was taken (1970).

The reproduction, with barely any updating, of the first part of Salut! Sunderland‘s 2011 interview with a charismatic Roker Park hero, Johnny Crossan, was well received, with positive comments here and on social media. Nick Barnes, who does such a good job with Gary Bennett of bringing matchdays to absentees and exiles with his BBC Radio Newcastle commentary – available everywhere via safc.com – liked it and so did one of his predecessors, the same station’s expert on all matters Durham County Cricket (and more besides), Martin Emmerson.

So here is Part Two (of three); remember the interview was conducted – from Ramside Hall before a retirement shindig for the Northern Echo’s Mike Amos – at the back end of Steve Bruce’s reign, before James McClean had been given his first taste of action by Martin O’Neill. There is a third, which will come soon, and I have written to Johnny in the hope of bringing the story bang up to date.

The amount of time Johnny was willing to give up for a piddling little fan site was quite astonishing. But before we resume the full sequence of questions and answers, I have something that needs a special mention.
Towards the end of a long telephone conversation from Sedgefield to Derry, I said:

I have a boyhood memory of playing in the park after school and stopping outside my own penalty box to turn and shoot a spectacular own goal high past our goalie (maybe Pete Sixsmith was there, too). At the time I imagined it as my Johnny Crossan moment. Can you see why a young boy would identify you with rebelliousness?

Johnny’s response was to laugh. And continue to laugh for some seconds before giving the answer you find below. For an old codger able to look back on a few decades, it was priceless …

Read moreThe Johnny Crossan story revisited: (2) a rebel in Sunderland’s cause

McClean break: (2) maybe he should try his luck with Wigan Warriors

Sixer photographed by M Salut, framed by Jake
Sixer photographed by M Salut, framed by Jake


Test cricket at Chester-le-Street
wasn’t greatly inspiring so Pete Sixsmith was able to get his teeth, as promised, into the James McClean departure. This is the second and final part of our look at the transfer; the first is at https://safc.blog/2013/08/mcclean-break-1-bitter-disappointment-as-he-joins-wigan-or-good-riddance/

Read moreMcClean break: (2) maybe he should try his luck with Wigan Warriors

McClean break: (1) bitter disappointment as he joins Wigan, or good riddance?

James McClean. By Jake ... disappearing into the lower leagues
James McClean. By Jake … disappearing into the lower leagues

Forget Suarez and Bale. The real transfer buzz is, as it has been all close season, at Sunderland. After the assorted arrivals comes another departure, one that divides Sunderland supporters along the lines suggested in the headline.

Pete Sixsmith
and Monsieur Salut decided to have their say on McClean’s descent into the Championship where he will be trying to help Wigan Athletic bounce back to the Premier in one go.

Read moreMcClean break: (1) bitter disappointment as he joins Wigan, or good riddance?

James McClean: the good causes that profit from his supposed villainy

James McClean. By Jake

James McClean’s spell as pantomime villain has come to an end, though we can be sure this is a role he will go on filling from time to time. Out of the sow’s ear of a couple of the controversies has come the odd silk purse …

Read moreJames McClean: the good causes that profit from his supposed villainy

James McClean and Poppy Day



This year I have bought two poppies.
One went straight into the lapel of my replica 1937 Sunderland top for the Aston Villa game. The second was purchased when I was realised it was still there (on the shirt, in a cupboard). One of them will be worn with special pride today.

Not everyone takes the same view. This weekend, there was been a row of the sort that is a logical extension of the authoritarian zeal that obliges television presenters and reporters to start wearing poppies absurdly early to avoid causing offence to retired brigadiers in Dorset.

Eyebrows have been raised, dismay expressed and insults levelled because James McClean would not wear the SAFC poppy top at Everton.

Read moreJames McClean and Poppy Day

Salut’s Week: Hillsborough reflections, the McClean tweet and preparing for Liverpool

Jake captures the theme

Much space at Salut! Sunderland has been devoted this week to articles that I am proud to have published on this site but wish had never been written. Naturally, I refer to the impassioned, decent and – yes – angry pieces written by individual Sunderland supporters with voices worth hearing on the Hillsborough disaster and this week’s shamefully late official exoneration of the Liverpool fans who were cynically blamed for its occurrence.

Read moreSalut’s Week: Hillsborough reflections, the McClean tweet and preparing for Liverpool

An open letter to James McClean – plus the winners of tickets for Liverpool

Jake has laptop issues. This is how he previewed last season's game

As the international break meanders on, three things are on Sunderland supporters’ minds: the hope that Adam Johnson’s injury has no effect in his availability, the even stronger hope that we get our first Premier win of the season at home to Liverpool on Saturday and the James McClean tweet saga (of which more, indirectly, later) …

Read moreAn open letter to James McClean – plus the winners of tickets for Liverpool

Salut! reflects: has James McClean burned his bridges with Republic of Ireland?

James McClean, a wiser use of enegry. By Jake

McClean Twitter rant sure to throw Republic of Ireland future into doubt

James McClean should maybe think about handing his phone and laptop to his big pal David Meyler when he has something to say. Meyler providing a vetting service may be in the best interests of McClean’s career after yet another ill advised outburst on Twitter last night. Following on from what some described an offensive joke last month, McClean has now used the social networking site to share his continuing discontent with his autonomy in the Ireland set up.

Read moreSalut! reflects: has James McClean burned his bridges with Republic of Ireland?

James McClean, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland: eligibility and divided sympathies

IrelandImage: NASA Goddard

Monsieur Salut writes: it began, so far as Salut! Sunderland was concerned, as a straightforward defence of James McClean’s decision to make himself available for Republic of Ireland selection and not Northern Ireland. It provoked the longest and most animated discussion thread in months. As a gesture of goodwill, I have removed an anecdote from the original article; it dealt with lowlife sectarianism but although the incident occurred at Windsor Park, home of NI football, it concerned a club, not international, game. Otherwise, I stand by the thrust of my article. But I did invite Andrew Rodgers, easily the most rational of my critics from the other side of the Irish Sea, to set out his own views …

Read moreJames McClean, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland: eligibility and divided sympathies

James McClean: the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and a festering row

Jake adapts Tony Roffe's photographic magic to humour Salut! Sunderland

There is a good little debate in progress at this site on the rights, as I see it, and wrongs, as supporters of the Northern Ireland team have argued, of James McClean choosing to play senior international football for the Republic of Ireland.

The original article can be seen at this link: https://safc.blog/2012/06/shades-of-green-northern-ireland-should-respect-mccleans-republic-of-ireland-choice/

Read moreJames McClean: the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and a festering row