Bravo England and Sunderland’s Jordans. And now, Allez les Bleus

Monsieur Salut writes: so sad. England should have been two or three up at half time but lost their way after the interval. Only the sort of toerags who jump on ambulances would deny that Croatia grew stronger and stronger in the second half while England wilted.

For Sunday’s final, Monsieur Salut’s personal disappointment – having warmed to this England manager and side more than any since 1966 – is lessened only to the extent that he can shout for Mme Salut’s Bleus.

I’ve been impressed by France, and especially by how well the racially mixed team has gelled. Look at the players belting out the words of La Marsellaise – the rotten far right in France has lost a spurious reason for doubting their allegiance. Here is a piece, for anyone interested, that I wrote for The National (UAE). The editor is happy for me to reproduce my work here ….

Read moreBravo England and Sunderland’s Jordans. And now, Allez les Bleus

Sixer makes a good weekend better, calling Harry Maguire today’s Charlie Hurley

Pete Sixsmith

Jack Rodwell has gone, that’s a fact, and rumours abound that Whabi Khazri’s on his way out, with  a decent wedge coming through the revolving door in return. Over in Russia our local boys continue to do good, drawing praise from Alan Shearer and earning the club that taught them everything at least a few more thousands, money which presumably won’t be squandered on absent players. The  SOL is getting new seats and the weather remains brilliant.

So how could the weekend improve?

With a post from Pete Sixsmith, that’s how:

Read moreSixer makes a good weekend better, calling Harry Maguire today’s Charlie Hurley

Robson Report: England and Sunderland’s Jordans and loyalty, that rare and elusive thing

Jeremy Robson

“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.’

Read moreRobson Report: England and Sunderland’s Jordans and loyalty, that rare and elusive thing

Preston North End Who are You?: ‘Grayson thought he was stepping up’

Mark Collard: ‘a friend took this from Sky coverage of the Colchester game I mention in my answers. I am the baldy man with glasses and the moment captured is when Colchester were about to take a penalty but it sums up the day’

And now, Simon Grayson and Sunderland’s search for a point or three, as opposed to a search for a point even lower than reached so far, goes on Saturday to Deepdale, the famous old ground of the equally famous Preston North End with its Bill Shankly, Sir Tom Finney and Alan Kelly stands.

Mark Collard*, our PNE ‘Who are You?’ volunteer, was found at Twitter via Monsieur Salut’s electronic acquaintanceship with the singer and writer Maggie Holland. Mark, whose Twitter profile reads ‘archaeologist. director at Rubicon Heritage Services. PNEFC fan’, welcomes the newly positive Preston style under Alex Neill ‘after the tedium of a lot of the games under Grayson’. He sees our misery continuing with another defeat for the former PNE boss …

Read morePreston North End Who are You?: ‘Grayson thought he was stepping up’

Jordan Pickford: a fond farewell and good luck at Everton

Jake: ‘thanks, Jordan and good luck’


We knew it was happening
and have said as much here. So let’s just record, via the two clubs’ websites, the confirmed departure of Jordan Pickford for Everton. From us? A simple message of good luck – and gratitude for what he did and tried to do for the club we – and he – love.

Read moreJordan Pickford: a fond farewell and good luck at Everton

Jordan Pickford, formerly one of our own: Everton buying ‘an absolute gem’


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.

Read moreJordan Pickford, formerly one of our own: Everton buying ‘an absolute gem’

Au revoir Jordan Pickford, Everton-bound. As good as we’ve had since Monty

Jake: ‘Jordan Pickford: thanks and good luck’

Monsieur Salut‘s immediate thoughts on news that Jordan Pickford is following Bournemouth-bound Jermain Defoe out of the SoL door …

To no great surprise and, I am sure, to very little misplaced Mackem anger, Jordan Pickford is all but confirmed as an Everton player.

Read moreAu revoir Jordan Pickford, Everton-bound. As good as we’ve had since Monty

A daughter asks: what is Jordan Pickford worth, should Liverpool buy him?

He’s one of our own, but may soon be supporting us and not playing for us

We all know Monsieur Salut’s football-playing younger daughter Nathalie is not a Sunderland fan. OK, she quite likes us, maybe we’re her second team. She’s been dragged to see us a few times in her life. But her allegiance is Liverpool mainly because as a kid, she fancied John Barnes. So, what now for Jordan Pickford? We’ve all seen the crazy prices – crazily low as well as high – but what would you be happy to pay for him if your club was not Sunderland? ….

Read moreA daughter asks: what is Jordan Pickford worth, should Liverpool buy him?

Jordan Pickford on his goalkeeping heroes: De Gea, Lloris, Hart and Schmeichel

Jake: ‘Keep ’em out, Jordan’

Monsieur Salut writes: we’ve acclaimed Jermain Defoe. So has the country at large. Pete Sixsmith’s Observer Q+A talked of a man who, at Sunderland AFC, had enhanced his reputation as a striker and – through his quite beautiful bond with Bradley Lowery – as a man.

Pete’s piece, reproduced in expanded form here, briefly mentioned the other positive from our truly awful season: the superior goalkeeping of Jordan Pickford, albeit interrupted by a midseason injury layoff.

Jordan deserves and will probably attain the status of England’s Number One. He may well do it while keeping goal for a club other than the one he has always supported, SAFC. That is his right, maybe even a personal duty, as a pro. I wish him well and, while regretting that Sunderland are unlikely to provide the platform for his ambition, will follow his progress much as I follow Jordan Henderson’s.

Here are some excerpts from an interview with Jordan (P), speaking to EASPORTS.com to mark his EA SPORTS FIFA 17 rating being upgraded (that’s a football video game for the unitiated). To read the full interview, go to https://www.easports.com/uk/fifa/news/2017/jordan-pickford-interview

Read moreJordan Pickford on his goalkeeping heroes: De Gea, Lloris, Hart and Schmeichel

Pickford injury a terrible blow but gives Vito chance to shine again

‘Get fit soon, Jordan’

With great respect to Vito Mannone, who has had fine moments in goal for Sunderland and is quite capable of stepping back successfully into first team action, the loss of Jordan Pickford for up to two months can be seen only as a cruel and massive setback.

Read morePickford injury a terrible blow but gives Vito chance to shine again