Hutch’s Patch: post-Arsenal joy in The Land of the Rising Sunderland

Rob: 'what's Ha'way the Lads in Japanese?'
Rob: ‘what’s Ha’way the Lads in Japanese?’

Monsieur Salut writes:
is there anything wrong with milking this for all it;s worth? There is not. Even Hull, Mag, Leicester, Boro friends/family have been on to congratulate me as if I’d done Dick’s job for him.

Rob Hutchison, it will be remembered, supplied all those punchy one-word ratings until he scarpered off on holiday to Japan, under a wifely thumb rather than fearful of sticking around for the climax to the season. He woke up to some welcome news …

Read more

Sod’s law … but vamos Paraguay all the same, like

paragirl2Image: Rapidgamer

JOYOUS UPDATE from Le Cafe Marly, opposite the Pyramid at the Louvre, where I followed BBC coverage of the penalty shootout. Ha’way Paraguay – even if Maud, the Spanish waitress (really a student at the swish Science-Po happening to be doing a bit of waitressing), thinks they’ll be a pushover in the next round. My thanks to Peter Allen, who texted the Spain v Portugal score to my night train .

Sod’s law dictates that at kickoff time I’ll be inside the Louvre interviewing people about a forthcoming exhibition called Routes d’Arabie. I’d rather be watching Paraguay v Japan.

Read more

Priceless World Cup memories (2)


The competition has begun, with a late Mexico equaliser spoiling a dream start for South Africa, and France failing to overcome Uruguay. I think I predicted two draws on the opening day, elsewhere if not here, so was not surprised. And both were, as Bill Taylor has pointed out here, quite entertaining games. England play tonight and, of course, Salut! Sunderland wants even a Bent-free Capello side to win (though we’re also the highly unofficial site for the Paraguay squad – thanks for the flag, Pete!).

Steve Bruce has said the heart wants England, the head says Argentina; Lorik Cana favours Brazil. But in quiet periods between games, you can browse the outstanding pieces in which the same Pete who procured my Paraguay flag – Pete Sixsmith – reflects with startling recall of detail on all World Cups between 1966 and 2006. Here is a second instalment of the highlights (one of them from an intruder), each article reached by clicking the location or year …

See the first round-up of extracts by clicking here, or scroll down each individual tournament, clickable from the sidebar column to your left

1994, USA

Football and the USA is like Cheryl Cole and Rugby League, Nick Clegg and sticking to your principles and Mike Ashley and sensible managerial appointments – they just do not go together. They like games that they can be World Champions at because nobody else plays them. I like Baseball, but calling the play off the World Series… do me a favour.

Read more

2002: screaming girls, Irish Troubles. World Cup memories (11)


Pete Sixsmith arrives at the penultimate stage of his journey to every World Cups from 1966 to 2006. From the 2002 tournament he remembers the McCarthy-Keano spat, wailing South Korean teenagers, Tommy Sorensen’s howlers and yet another Brazilian trophy …

It’s interesting that as you get older, the more recent memories don’t stay for very long, while the more distant ones linger. When speaking to Neil Martin a couple of weeks ago, I was able to picture the goals he scored in my boyhood far more clearly than I could those of say, Tore Andre Flo or Jon Stead.

Read more