McCormick’s Craic: 2020 beckons and a star of Salut! Sunderland bids farewell

Colin Randall writes: 

John McCormick’s contributions to Salut! Sunderland have been immense, as writer and editor. Despite the serious health issues that have confronted him, he has continued in his tireless way to post articles and research and write his own exemplary work, often analytical and backed by meticulous statistical date, all presented with far more technological nous than I can muster. He has been a great mainstay of this site and deserves the rest he has now prescribed for himself.

John McCormick introduces his own farewell:  regular readers will know I was told I had a malignant tumour in December last year and was given a scan to see if I had secondaries just before Christmas 2018. That scan revealed a lesion on my liver but couldn’t determine whether it was malign or not. It was only a couple of weeks ago that I received final confirmation that it wasn’t, which closed a sequence of tests – all clear – and ensured that this Christmas would be merrier, and this New Year happier, than the last.

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In conversation with Charlie Methven: (4) what is the least Sunderland should expect?

Can we keep the faith?

It is time to conclude our series based on (mainly) electronic conversations between Salut! Sunderland writers and Charlie Methven, executive director of the club and a minority shareholder.

We thank Charlie for his time and full, diligent responses. Not every Sunderland supporter is yet convinced, either that the takeover from Ellis Short leaves Stewart Donald, Charlie and their team in a strong financial position or that bargain acquisitions from Scotland will win us League One.

We will see. For now, the right noises are being made and the level of communication between club and fans is healthier than in the past, possibly healthier than at any time in the history of Sunderland AFC.

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Sunderland season reviews (1): the rocky road to survival

John McCormick:
John McCormick
looking forward to next season

It’s time again for Salut! Sunderland writers, regular or occasional, to look back on a season that carried the now customary threat of relegation before bursting into life with another of our extraordinary late escapes. The reviews will appear pretty much in the order they are received – feel free to have a go if there’s something pressing on your mind – and end with the thoughts of our indefatigable chronicler Pete Sixsmith. Accordingly, we start with associate editor John McCormick

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Sunderland and Salut: how do we regain our Quinn/Drumaville peak?

John McCormick:
John McCormick:
Looking for answers

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 …

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The highs and lows of Sunderland’s season, at a handy glance

Didn't think we'd have to play this card again so soon
Didn’t think we’d have to play this card again so soon

John McCormick writes: regular readers will know that I’ve been tracking the progress of SAFC and other at-risk clubs by means of my “dodgy numbers”. I’ll look back on how they all fared some time after Pete Sixsmith finishes the end of season reviews, with a view to selecting teams and methods for next season’s relegation watch.

In the meantime, here’s a by-product of my tracking exercise, a chart detailing our climb to safety and the key events of what turned out to be a long hard slog. Click for a clearer view …

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Reviews of the Season: ‘got lucky. Twice as many wins as defeats’

John McCormick:
John McCormick: looking back, looking forward

John McCormick writes: when the fixture fairy first waved her wand I thought I might struggle to make more than a handful of matches. It turned out I was right; over the season pre-booked flights, rearranged games, competing demands and a pregnant daughter all took their toll. So, too, did my lowly position in the loyalty points league. Our away support is so good that there are loads of fixtures where I can’t get tickets in my own right and, sometimes, even the best efforts of stalwarts such as Pete Sixsmith aren’t enough, as became clear from game one; Burnley away was the first target I missed.

In fact, I only managed three games. Even so, in a season when we did little, they all stood out for some reasons.

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McCormick’s Craic: the half term report says Sunderland must do better

John McCormick:
John McCormick: looking to the future


John McCormick writes: I’m beginning this on December 29, the day after we’ve drawn against Villa in our 19th game of the season. With match reports from Villa (er, whatever happened to Bob Chapman’s?), then a game on New Year’s Day, then a cup match, the site will be busy with posts for the next few days, so my reflections will take their chances and appear when there’s a gap (just identified! – Ed).

I don’t think it’ll need much updating. My forecast is that Jozy won’t score against Man City. I seriously doubt whether Fletcher or Wickham will, although I don’t think the result’s a foregone conclusion. In fact, I’d keep Fletch at home and save him for the Leeds game rather than have him battered and risking injury against City … let us see

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Liverpool vs SAFC Who are you?: ‘Hendo good, unconvinced by Mignolet’

Jake wants answers ...
Jake wants answers …

John McCormick writes: Tony Fay and I were colleagues once but our paths diverged a good few years ago and I didn’t know whether I’d be able to contact him or if he’d want to take part in the Who are You? series.

I’m glad to be able to report that I was and he did as Tony, with apologies to Blackadder, is redder than a red squirrel which fell into a bucket of red paint at a Simply Red concert. Here’s his view on all things Liverpool, and some things Sunderland:

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