Luke’s World: so have we acquired a new Lee Cattermole?

It would be unrealistic to draw from two card-free performances the notion that Lee Cattermole will not see yellow again relatively soon, and red again some time thereafter. For now, Luke Harvey is happy to salute a much-criticised character for trying to set his house in order …

As Sunderland left the field with a point against Manchester United, a mixture of emotions overcame me.

Should I be pleased with another point against another powerhouse team from the finest league in the world? Or should I be disappointed that we failed to get all three points in a match where we were more than deserving?

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Prejudice and all that: coming to Lee Cattermole’s defence

Image (from Munster v SAFC): L09C

Salut! Sunderland makes no apology for rebuking Lee Cattermole for his failure, for a second time in only three games this season, to stay on the pitch for all of one half. But we like a good argument. As if in quick response to my appeal for help when a forthcoming operation restricts my ability to post, Geoff Bethell pops up from New Zealand with a refreshingly different analysis …

I haven’t
lived in Sunderland since 1961. I haven’t been there since 1968. I haven’t lived in the UK since 1970.

But out here in the glorious rugby-playing nation of NZ it’s still the case that to be a whole human being you can no more give up your love of Sunderland AFC than you can your brain.

Since the advent of the internet, keeping in touch has become so much easier. So it was on Sunday morning (we’re 11 hours ahead of UK) that I went on to as usual for the results.

One-one away to Wigan. I’d hoped for better, feared for worse, but appreciated that 1-1 was acceptable. Was it a point well won or two points thrown away? The match reports and comments were the next things to check up on. It was then I lost it.

“Oh for eff’s sake.”

“What a complete and utter cretin.”

“Why do we persist with this twerp?”

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The Birflatt Boy: he’s no Cool Catt this one

Didn’t (doesn’t) the Sunday Sun have a column by one Mr Angry? Well, it seemed time Salut! Sunderland had one, too. Ours will take a different name – see above – but the spluttering anger will be undiluted. Where better to start than with our recalcitrant card-loving midfielder? The stage belongs to Birflatt Boy ….

Cattermole!, Cattermole! Cattermole! Why do you keep kicking people up in the air, Cattermole?

Depending on your point of view, this lad’s either a little bit over enthusiastic, or he’s a complete nutter.

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Soapbox: can we send Cattermole back to Wigan?

“It’s becoming ridiculous.” When a manager says that about his captain, and he’s not defending him but describing his immaturity and indiscipline, you know things are serious. Pete Sixsmith chose the headline; it’s unforgiving but reflects the complete exasperation of supporters Lee Cattermole has again let down …

We are sitting tenth in the league, a position that would probably keep us happy if it were May. However, after four games, three of which were against sides we had hoped to beat, a return of five points is a little disappointing.

Of course, had we managed to keep 11 players on the field for 50 per cent of those games, there is every possibility that we would have had nine points and would have been sitting pretty in third place with Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United to come.

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Wigan 1 SAFC 1: Gyan’s magic not quite enough

In the end, it was a disappointing result because, having shot ourselves in a foot now riddled with self-inflicted bullet wounds, we’d put ourselves in a winning position. But to gain a draw when forced to play with 10 men for three quarters of the game, as Pete Sixsmith says in his one-line verdict elsewhere, shows character …

Asamaoh Gyan cost an awful lot of money. He repaid a small chunk of it with a finish of delightful aplomb after magnificent play on the right from Jordan Henderson.

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HT: Wigan 0 SAFC 0. A shocking lack of maturity

This posting has now been superseded by Wigan Athletic (0) SAFC (0): Gyan’s magic not quite enough. CLICK HERE

Asamoah Gyan on as a sub and off the mark with a superbly cool finish after Jordan Henderson’s sublime work on the right followed by a great cross. Sadly, despite Simon Mignolet’s great work in our goal, Wigan equalised late when a shot going nowhere was headed past him. Earlier, another depressingly familiar story: Sunderland a player down and needing a backs-to-the-wall second half performance ……

Make immediate allowance for the ridiculous harshness of the first Lee Cattermole booking.

Then remember that a man given the responsibility of Sunderland’s team captaincy is presumably aware that having been booked, he must now take care to avoid rash tackles or general indiscipline.

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Soapbox: stupid, stupid, stupid


Immediately before 3pm, Anthony Taylor and Lee Cattermole shook hands, both proud to be performing new roles for the first time: one as a Premier referee, the other as captain of Sunderland AFC. The amity lasted less than three-quarters of an hour. Was Lee the victim of an overzealous debutant, or clattering Cattermole? This, ladies and gentlemen is how Pete Sixsmith saw things …

Thanks to Colin for the kind words in his introduction to Sixer’s Sevens. I’m not sure that my analysis is always first rate as I have more mood swings than a nightclub full of hormonal females over the course of a season. Brilliant one week, hopeless the next – but it is Sunderland we are talking about……

However it doesn’t take the perceptions of a Hugh McIlvanney , a David Lacey or a Frank Johnson to work out that the combination of a rookie ref and Lee Cattermole was liable to end in tears. And it did as our captain was given his marching orders just before half time for two offences that barely deserved a yellow card in common sense terms, but which did in refereeing by the book terms.

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SAFC (1) 2 Birmingham City (0) 2: normal service resumes

darren bent

Two up early in the second half, but with only 10 men, Sunderland were forced onto the back foot and had to make do with a point after Birmingham fought their way back …

Normal service is Darren Bent getting on the scoresheet.

Unfortunately, it is also Sunderland players falling foul of the referee, to the extent that Lee Cattermole was sent off for his second yellow a few minutes before half time.

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Sunderland and Hednesford Town: bubbling under together

It’s a long way from the top half of the Premier League to a similar place in the UniBond Northern Premier League (oops, that is no longer the case; I should have said the Zamaretto Premier League). That, the Zamaretto, is where Hednesford play their football.
But if that seems lowly league stuff, look at how many people visit the unofficial Hednesford fan site The Price is Right.. For days, as Salut! Sunderland rose through the ranks of football sites listed by Soccerlinks, we were neck and neck with them. Not exactly soaraway stuff: bubbling under the top 50 more like, but each site receiving hundreds of visits daily (a gap has now opened up; we were 52nd when I last looked, they had slipped to 61st).

It’s great for football, as it happens, that such a club can generate so much interest – and even better to see the site ranked ahead of, say,

When I asked whether anyone supporting “The Pitmen” might like to write for Salut! Sunderland, preferably finding some link between our clubs, it was just a throwaway line and I was not sure whether I’d see a single response (unless they’d spotted Pete Sixsmith on one of his non-league forays).

But this is what came back, roughly in order …

* terrymc:

Hello salut,
Just thought you might be interested to know that we have a former Sunderland player in our current ranks.
Sam Aiston was at Sunderland from 1995 to 2000 according to Wikipedia.

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The A to Z of Sunderland’s Marseille connection


The injury to Lee Cattermole seriously tests the strength of our squad. But Colin Randall feels that in Cana and Zenden, Sunderland have two of this season’s canniest Premier acquisitions …

Confirmation that Lee Cattermole will be out for three months means that we will come to rely ever more heavily on the qualities of our pair of Marseillais. A for the Albanian Lorik Cana, captain of club and country (and captain at OM until his move), Z for Boudewijn “Bolo” Zenden.

The loss of Cattermole – cue for abject apology from the Liverpool players and officials who whinged so pitilessly when this strong, battling midfielder crumpled in a heap – is a serious blow.

He has been hugely impressive in every game since arriving on a transfer that, if we are honest, divided Sunderland fans.

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