John McCormick writes: for me, this piece by Pete Sixsmith brings back many memories. I was at Goodison when we lost, and at Spurs when Kirchhoff came on and a young keeper who would go on to play for England couldn’t hold back the tide. I saw us come back to snatch that point at Anfield as well. But the game that sticks out, of all the ones below, is one I never got to. The 1-0 win against the Mags. I was intending to go but stayed in Liverpool. My daughter gave birth that day, two weeks late. I have a print of Defoe’s goal ready to give to my granddaughter when she’s old enough to appreciate what she made me miss…
“The loyalty, well held to fools, does make Our faith mere folly”, said Shakespeare in Anthony and Cleopatra.
Could those words be applied to us? Has our loyalty made fools of us? And of those few players who have kept faith with the club?
It has been a while since Jeremy Robson appeared on these pages. It’s good to see him back and, as ever, he produces not only a good read but also a thought provoking article.
But does he answer those questions? You’ll have to read on and decide for yourselves…
ps: John McCormick prepared this article for publication and wrote his introduction before two of the players mentioned by Jeremy featured in England’s World Cup win on penalties against Colombia. Jordan Henderson was nearly the shoot-out villain, missing his penalty, but otherwise had a fine, all-action match. Jordan Pickford, of course, was the hero with that stunning save. Our friend Barry Emmerson, who knows JP well as his occasional chauffeur, reacts: ‘My pal Jordan the hero. Drove him down to St George’s before they left for Russia. He is a super confident lad and I am always saying to him, “stand still for penalties, don’t dive first”. Well for the save he did that, I’m taking all the credit. He is going to be a giant of the game, maybe Real Madrid one day.’
Monsieur Salut’s daughter Nathalie Randall continues her campaign of contrition for having Sunderland as, maybe, her second club (after Liverpool) by offering her own fond farewell to Jermain Defoe, a personal favourite of hers, and urging Simon Grayson to emulate Rafa’s success as he goes about the search for replacement strikers.
Nathalie actually wrote the piece before the wretched news of six-year-old Bradley Lowery’s death. That touched her very deeply, as it did so many others, and her old dad has made some necessary adjustments to the article to take account of the sad development …
Pete Sixsmith wrote in his report from Bury that the ‘beautifully written elegy‘ from Salut! Sunderland‘s assistant editor Malcolm Dawson left no need for further words on the death of six-year-old Bradley Lowery.
The breathtaking decision taking to allow Jermain Defoe to leave on a free transfer – whoever signed that contract should be strung up – has had its logical consequence: he has joined Bournemouth.
Defoe is a man who knows his own worth and played hard ball by all accounts to get the money, reputedly £65,000 a week, he wanted from that cosy but well-run little club down south. That, and the fact that he will be 35 in October, won’t matter an iota if he does on his return to Bournemouth what he did on loan there, and of course did for us, and scores plenty of goals.
He takes with him from the North East Salut! Sunderland‘s warm best wishes for the future. He served us well and he also proved himself a thoroughly noble character in his friendship with poor little Bradley Lowery.
Here is how the club announced the move:
Jermain Defoe has signed for AFC Bournemouth on a three-year deal.
The striker made 93 appearances in red and white in all competitions, scoring 37 goals while cultivating an ever-lasting relationship with the Sunderland fans.
Defoe, 34, also reignited his England career while on Wearside with Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate recalling him in March 2017, and he did what he does best with a Wembley return resulting in his 20th international goal.
And it’s the goals he’ll be remembered for, with the striker cementing his Sunderland legacy thanks to derby-day magic, hat-tricks and mesmerising solo efforts that will never be forgotten.
He also netted his 150th Premier League goal during his time at the club, and exits Wearside standing seventh on the all-time PL goalscorers list.
Club accolades also fell Defoe’s way and deservingly so, with the England international winning the Player of the Year award in each of his two full seasons on Wearside.
Everyone at the club would like to thank Jermain for his contribution and wish him well for the future.
From the Mirror comes this quote from an open letter written by Defoe: “I feel blessed to have played for such a great football club with some of the best fans I’ve ever come across. The highlight of my time has to be walking out with Bradley against Everton and that volley against Newcastle – a goal people still come up to me and talk about!!
“I want to wish everyone at Sunderland the best for the future. There’s some talented players there and some great youngsters pushing through, so I can’t wait to see you back in the Premier League.”
But no one put it better than our own Pete Sixsmith:
“It wasn’t only Jermain’s form on the pitch that mattered though.
His relationship with Bradley Lowery showed that footballers do have emotional intelligence and the pictures of Bradley and Jermain holding hands with each other, of Jermain carrying Bradley onto the pitch and that incredibly moving one of the pair of them asleep on a hospital bed, will ensure that Jermain Defoe’s name will go down in the pantheon of Sunderland heroes, alongside Ian Porterfield, Charlie Hurley, Jimmy Montgomery and Ned Doig.
Pete Sixsmith offers his thoughts on all the Stadium of Light developments: the exit of Jermain Defoe, the strong talk of Derek McInnes being on the verge of appointment as manager – and, first as you’d expect, the likely departure of Jordan Pickford …
At last things appear to be moving at the Stadium of Inertia, both in and out.
The retained list has been announced and it looks as if some of last season’s players may be moving on now that their contracts are up.
NB: this appears slightly out of sequence ahead of Pete Sixsmith’s report from the Riverside, where the poor man witnessed yet another winless, goalless night for Sunderland.
In the Latchem family, brotherly love means supporting AFC Bournemouth, a tiny club compared with our own but – passion and size of fan base apart – much more deserving of staying in the Premier League. We’ve had husband-and-wife Who are You? interviewees (Everton) but not, until now, two siblings. Step forward Chris Latchem*, one half of the Latchem media duo; he works for 5Live, Tom for TalkSport. Here, Chris comes up with answers as interesting as those of his brother back in the autumn of last year just before we actually recorded our first win of the season …
Salut! Sunderland: high and lows for Bournemouth this season but, inconceivable events excluded, you’re destined for another Premier League season. Has it gone pretty much to expectation?
Chris Latchem: It does look like Bournemouth are set for another season in the top flight which therefore has to go down as another wonderful season for Eddie Howe and the team.
I’m a bit of a footballing pessimist so I assumed we’d have a dogged battle against relegation. But for a few bleak weeks, that’s not really been the case.
There have been joyous highs, including a startling 4-3 comeback victory over Liverpool and taking a crazy point off Manchester United at Old Trafford. But playing the second string in the FA Cup third round defeat to Millwall was a real low.
Arter’s obviously a gem but who else has done well – and who should be doing better or cannot?
Josh King is developing into a brilliant Premier League forward and must be considered among the best players to ever wear the shirt. His hat trick against West Ham will live long in the memory… Especially considering he missed a penalty!
Defender Steve Cook is another who has adapted brilliantly to top flight football.
I am a little worried that as time passes, the club may outgrow or buy bigger than our lower league alumni. That would be a sad day
Is there room at the top for a small club? Do you desperately need a bigger ground or capacity, an injection of serious cash or are you happy as things are?
With the TV money sloshing around now I don’t think any Premier League club needs help to balance the books.
Bournemouth are keen to build a new ground because with success comes growth. But also with that comes an unhealthy expectancy.
I’d sooner stick with the small ground and the old supporters that followed the club when we were rubbish.
I don’t expect the club to be in the top flight forever, but I do appreciate there is fun to be had in the leagues below. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts!
Who are the best Bournemouth players you’ve seen in the club’s colours?
It’s an interesting question because as we’ve progressed up the leagues the ability increases but the wow factor diminishes.
Darren Anderton did sublime things in Leagues One and Two, Matt Ritchie was unbelievable in the Championship and Callum Wilson was a joy to watch before his two knee injuries.
But watching Jermain Defoe on his record breaking goal run as a teenage loanee will stay with me forever.
And who deserved to be allowed nowhere near the colours?
I’ve known our assistant coach Jason Tindall for years and he’s a top man, but I had heart palpitations when he was included on the bench against Dagenham a few years back.
Late in the game, Jase was summoned after injury. He silenced all doubt after an injury time punt up field was picked up by Mark Molesley on the right. He skinned two men and scored one of the best Bournemouth goals I’ve ever seen.
That was the moment we knew we wouldn’t be relegated from the Football League.
We should still have Tindall on the bench!
And your best and worst moments of following the Cherries …
My worst moment was watching Bournemouth relegated from League One at Carlisle when I was working as a reporter for BBC Solent. I was in with the Bournemouth fans getting some colour reaction and interviewed my dad about his feelings on the final whistle. He cried.
The best moment was West Ham away last season. I was working in Manchester that morning – slacked off early and somehow wangled my way onto an earlier-than-booked train.
I then raced across town, arrived just before kick off, and watched us win 4-3 in glorious sunshine. It was our first top flight win and Callum Wilson scored a hatrick. I’ll love him forever
Did you see our problems coming after the previous narrow escapes, or did you feel Moyes could do better when he took over post-Big Sam?
Without twisting the knife I’m surprised Sunderland have lasted so long. Sam Allardyce did a wonderful job last year but that was just papering over crevices.
Moyes has looked a beaten man since day one but he’s not been helped.
My concern would be that once you do go down – things won’t get better for some time
Any other thoughts on Sunderland: the club, the fans, the city and region? Do you think Defoe might return on a free assuming we’re down and you’re not?
My boss is a Sunderland fan so we often talk about the problems at the club.
I think you’d be better off relegated, win some games and get some positivity flowing back through the Stadium of Light. Season after season of defeats is not the way to attract and retain younger fans.
As I said earlier, being in the Premier League isn’t the be all and end all.
It would be great to have Defoe back at Dean Court for a year and give him a chance of going to the Euros but I think he’ll want too much money.
He is a great professional and even better bloke.
Diving: let’s stop caring as everyone’s at it (along with feigning injury, imaginary card-waving and other forms of cheating – or do we still try to stamp it out?
* Chris Latchem on himself: I’m one half of the AFCB Media Mafia. I’m a Lifelong Cherries fan and BBC Sport presenter. You’ll hear me on Radio 5Live
Monsieur Salut writes: masquerading, until it’s corrected, as one Pete Smith, our own Pete Sixsmith was invited by our friends at Art of Football (OK I told them to sign him up) to write about the Jermain Defoe goal captured in that splendid print of theirs, the one you see above. Check it out at Art of Football’s own site …
Monsieur Salut writes: it goes from bad to worse to boorish. Not content with his share of the blame for leading Sunderland’s downward charge to the Championship, our boss is caught – thinking he is off-air – snapping at a BBC reporter, Vicki Sparks, and threatening to give her ‘a slap even though you’re a woman’. Her crime? Asking an entirely legitimate question after the Burnley goalless draw about any extra pressure Moyes may have felt with the owner Ellis Short present for the game. Reports suggest there was no obvious humour in the remark’s delivery. The manager should add to his apology, already given and accepted, a substantial personal donation to a charity of the reporter’s choosing.
Now on to Leicester. Our ‘Who are You?’ interviewee Brian Archie’s* hope for the game, a 2-1 home win, is unlikely to improve Moyes’s mood. The Watford defeat means we can survive only if we do on Tuesday what Leicester did exactly two years ago and begin a sequence of something like seven wins from nine remaining games …