Sunderland vs Doncaster Rovers: dare we even ask?

Jake: ‘we’ve had the comic capers. Can we now please be serious again and return to winning?’

Will it be a Good Friday or are we heading for purgatory? With some trepidation, Salut! Sunderland invites readers to do what none could hope to do before the Coventry game and correctly predict the outcome of SAFC vs Doncaster Rovers.

It is reasonable to suggest that the Easter weekend will bring a clearer idea of whether we can still go up to the Championship in an automatic top-two place or have to rely on the painful lottery of the playoffs.

Donny at home on Friday is followed by a tough trip to Peterborough on Monday – not that we currently show much sign of being able to treat any game as other than tough.

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For Sunderland, the only way is up – starting with Charlton Athletic

Jake’s back – and so are Charlton

Monsieur Salut writes: in just over two weeks, only Sunderland’s second season as far down as the third tier kicks off with the televised home game against Charlton Athletic. The striker we wanted but they signed, Lyle Taylor, expects a hostile reception but says he’ll cope and simply concentrate on trying to inflict an opening-day defeat on us. Intriguingly, he volunteered a reason for his reluctance to join SAFC in an interview linked here:’Certain things happened. I’m not at liberty to go into the finer details, but certain things were done and said and at the end of the day, that told me enough’.

Here, Pete Lyons, a freelance writer with our club’s interests at heart, reflects on Sunderland’s decline and the prospects for fighting back… I have italicised song titles I recognise but others, and notably Wrinkly Pete, may spot more and I have added a French singer, Jain, as a new contender …

Okay, so Sunderland have surely fallen as low as it’s possible to go for a club of this stature and with the fan base it has.

But there is a mood of optimism and the feeling that things can only get better (how many song titles?). A new owner and a new manager will hopefully instil a new sense of spirit into the club.

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What a difference: the hope we cannot stand rises again at Sunderland

[polldaddy poll=10001532]

Monsieur Salut keeps his promise (threat?) to repeat the obvious poll as developments present themselves. You can check the results for yourselves but as the number of votes cast reached 600, we were just above 82 per cent not just wanting but believing in promotion …

Salut! Sunderland’s associate editor John McCormick has already bagged naming rights should Jack Ross – could a Sunderland manager be blessed with a better moniker? – restore the tradition of post-match managerial e-mails.  They shall be called Ross on Why, and wye not?

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SAFC vs Wolverhampton Wanderers Who are You?: should this have been us?

Up again: Andy James with son Jacob on the pitch celebrating promotion in 2009. Click the image to view the entire Who are You? archive for 2017-2018

Monsieur Salut writes: here endeth the 2017-2018 series of Who are You?, our detailed interviews with warm, witty and/or wise supporters of Sunderland opponent. Andy James can not make it the Stadium of Light on Sunday but will be with the festive travelling support in spirit. Thanks for the answers, Andy, and now enjoy your reacquaintance with the Premier League, a revival in Molineux fortunes he rather charitably predicts will be repeated sooner or later by Sunderland. So top versus bottom – how many of us actually believed that is how the season would end up? …

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Season End Reviews: (5) we have been through hell and high tide

Happier times: Malcolm Dawson – slimmer these days – with SuperKev

Malcolm Dawson, deputy editor, writes: last week I composed my contribution to Salut! Sunderland‘s end of season review series – see all items so far at this link – in response to Monsieur Salut’s urgings and thought back to my feelings at the end of term when Big Sam had engineered yet another Great Escape.

In 2016 I referenced Ian Dury’s hit Reasons to Be Cheerful Part 3 to follow on from the previous year when I had used the title of the Zoe record Sunshine on a Rainy Day which in turn had followed that of Irving Berlin’s Blue Skies. I chose those songs because my articles all spoke with unjustifiable optimism, despite my constant disappointments following Sunderland AFC. There was always something to give me a little bit of hope.

But time spent recovering from surgery meant that I missed a couple of games in the Moyes reign and caused me to rethink whether or not I needed my fix of footballing disappointment. With Ellis Short in control of the club I could only see it going one way and made up my mind that I would not renew my season card as long as he was the owner. That in turn led to what follows – the bulk of which was written before last weekend’s announcements. For anyone who hasn’t spotted this year’s reference let me refer you to The Smiths and What Difference Does It Make?

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Season End Reviews: (3) wretched management, strip and team (and why I’ve renewed)

Mick Goulding and son Conor

After the humiliating if inevitable confirmation of another relegation, we all start to clutch at straws, says Monsieur Salut. My straws today have been Nick Donaldson’s fascinating mix of gloat, as a Mag, and sympathy, as a decent man with plenty of Mackem mates, and now Mick Goulding‘s superb contribution to our annual End of Season Reviews series. It requires no more build-up; just read on and see whether you’d quarrel with my assessment of this analysis from a man who’s put in a mighty shift as a Sunderland supporter …

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Down and down again. A sorry day to be a Sunderland supporter

A proud heritage trashed by gruesome mismanagement (listening, Ellis?)

Monsieur Salut writes: this is obviously the grimmest evening, in footballing terms, since Salut! Sunderland was created back at the beginning of 2007 (a promotion season under Keano). We’ll all have more to say and we’ll all, by and large, go on supporting our club. Here are some immediate thoughts …

It took me several looks at the bottom of the table, and at the remaining fixtures, before I finally accepted that there was no longer any permutation that could, however remote the thought, keep Sunderland up.

The stark reality is that there can have been few more deserved relegations in the history of English football. Most of the other contenders for that description involved us, too.

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The First Time Ever I Saw Your Team: Burton Albion

Sixer: soon to be reunited with cricket grounds and tasty cornets

Salut! Sunderland didn’t get round to entering this year’s football blogging awards. This was not a case of sour grapes after our also-ran status in previous years; the deadline simply came and went. Perhaps we should just have sent the organisers links to Pete Sixsmith‘s matchday reports and the twin series, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Team/The First Time Ever I Saw Your Ground. In a fair world, we’d then have walked it. Voting still seems to be open so you can keep it in the family and give Roker Report a helping hand.

Here, Sixer admits to being a little lost for words when describing a team Sunderland have played only once (he was there) having written this cracking piece before his visit. What more is there to say, beyond reflecting on a rare SAFC win that should have changed the course of our horrendous season but didn’t? …

Tricky one this:
the Brewers have only ever played us once and that was five months ago when George Honeyman and James Vaughan scored in our 2-0 win at the Pirelli Stadium. This was the game that many of us thought would see us turn the corner, move up the league and maybe get on the fringe of the playoffs.
Shows how much we know.

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SAFC vs Burton Albion Who are You?: ‘let’s jump together into oblivion’

Dave Child: ‘sorry – we met professionally’

Monsieur Salut writes: the pain of relegation is not eased that much because everyone expected you to go down anyway. But Dave Child*, who combines being a fully-fledged Brewer with a spot of radio commentary (that’s how he met PDC), didn’t think the season would be as bad for Burton — or us for that matter – after their escape a year ago. I took the easy option for this edition of ‘Who are You?’, not because there are so few Burton fans to choose from but because Dave did a good job first time round and is a home-and-away regular who’ll be at our last-but-one home game this Saturday.

Dave is also a food critic, reviewing pies at the grounds he visits. Let’s see what he makes of the SoL fare …

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