Sixer’s Hartlepool Soapbox: bravo Benji, bravo (later) France, bad show Byrne’s boys

Hero, villain or just working the system?

Not so cool at the Pool, said Peter Sixsmith. Benji Kimpioka was cool, as were others of the young players at Jack Ross’s disposal. Catts and Honeyman, despite Ross saying the right things about how they were working for him, were distinctly uncool. What we all think of their agent, the club’s former CEO Margaret Byrne, may be best left unsaid. Sixer’s report – he chose the Victoria Ground over pub or armchair view of England losing decisively to Belgium – fills in the gaps while Monsieur Salut happily fetes France’s World Cup success, broadly deserved …

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The Lars Word from Bristol City 3-3 SAFC. From disgust to euphoria

Lars Knutsen: ‘still mired in a relegation dogfight but at last showing¬†signs of gelling’

Lars Knutsen knows how to choose them. Back from his USA exile (correcting the earlier reference, he still travels there a lot but family needs prompted him to relocate), he made it to the Bristol City game. Pete Sixsmith has already woven his familiar magic; here is an outstanding account from Lars of his own extraordinary afternoon …

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Lee Cattermole: for better or for worse, time to go? Vote now

Jake: ‘love him, hate him?’

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It is fair to say Lee Cattermole has long divided opinion among Sunderland supporters. Perhaps all or certainly most of us appreciate the commitment, that desire to win or at least avoid defeat, that epitomises his game. We may even, occasionally, respect his willingness to ‘take one for the team’. And opposing fans often say he’s someone they’d like in their teams.

But is he now being caught out once too often, and too expensively, even at Championship level? Is he, quite bluntly, a liabilty? Or do we take a kinder view and say ‘let’s not be swayed by one red card, the first in four years, there’s plenty more he has to offer Sunderland’? …. Chris Weatherspoon*, a fan and a seasoned writer on things SAFC, has a view and it’s a harsh one.

There is a
Salut! Sunderland poll on this. Scroll down to vote …

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The Chapman Report from Wolves: ‘my game of the season so far’

When Sixer’s away, Bob gets to play …

Bob Chapman is always a great stand-in for Pete Sixsmith, a home and away stalwart who lives so far south that even a home game means a trek. Wolbverhampton wasn’t next door but neither was it anything like as far. And Bob was rewarded by a display of outstanding commitment (and a decent day out with pals) …

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What me, dirty? Get yourself a good lawyer, Lee Cattermole

Jake: ‘asset or liability?’

Just when you thought being bottom of the Championship made you safe from such things, along comes a website that actually calls itself DirtyPlayers.co.uk and calls into question our fond collective belief that in Lee Cattermole, Sunderland have the most cultured, gentlest and fairest of players without thought of tripping, crunching, nudging or pulling back opponents.

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Sixer’s Norwich Soapbox: Players are showing commitment to the club and to the support

Pete Sixsmith then (as in not so long ago)

John McCormick writes: Pete Sixsmith has finally made it home from seat U2 in the Carrow Road football stadium (hence the reference in the introduction to Saturday’s Sevens). ¬†He probably has just enough time to grab some rest before he heads off to Sheffield. But before he gets his head down here he is with the heads up on a game more than a few of us expected to be difficult.

As ever, it’s a fine piece of writing. The bonus is that this time it’s about an excellent Sunderland performance:

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Norwich Who are You?: ‘we couldn’t even cheat properly, but watch Fulham!’

Gary Gowers

Towards the end of the 2015-2016 season, Sunderland went to Norwich and won 3-0 as part of the Big Sam race for survival. We stayed up, they went down. Before the game, we were able to introduce readers to one of the best Who are You? interviewees of the season, Gary Gowers*. So good were his replies that he took second place in the HAWAY awards – he never received his prize, but we are trying to rectify this now.

As Sunderland’s second Championship game takes us back to Carrow Road, it seemed an ideal opportunity to catch up again with Gary, the editor of http://norwichcity.myfootballwriter.com. Sit back for another terrific read in which he lays into the arrogance of City’s squad last season and expresses no surprise at our own predicament. He’d quite like Catts in Norwich colours but is distinctly cool on James Vaughan and Lewis Grabban. All the same, he predicts a top six place for Sunderland (and for his own side) …

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