Salut! Sunderland is proud to contribute to SAFC matchday programmes. Finally free of his annual Santa duties, Pete Sixsmith joined the 46,039 present at the game against Bradford City. Those who bought the programme will have seen these recollections of past Boxing Day encounters …
With nominations about to close in Salut! Sunderland’s annual HAWAY awards – the prizes offered for best interviews with opposing fans over the season just ended – there is a clear front runner.
Since judging is not quite complete, and readers may still take part as previously invited simply by adding their choices in order of first-second-third in the Comments below, it would be premature to give away more.
Nominations close at midnight UK time so there is not much time left for stragglers, and we do have a quorum with votes already cast by several contributors.
John McCormick writes: Pete Sixsmith caps another decent display with a more than decent report. I detect in it a touch of optimism for the future, something I share. We have been dire for a while but hopefully we will soon be rebuilding, and on firmer foundations than have propped up the last few years.
Like yesterday’s game, all is not lost.
Rob Hutchison was driving, he told Olivia, who texted Colin, who group e-mailed asking if anyone could put this up and I (John Mac) picked up the message. That’s teamwork.
Did we see any teamwork at Elland Road? I thought we were OK, Pete’s seven word text suggests we did and now we have some corroboration.
What a pity it’s too late
Unless Radio Newcastle had their effects microphone turned up extra loud today the Sunderland fans at Elland Road were in fine form. The Barnes and Bennett commentary conveyed a pleasing performance from the Lads, who it sounds as if dominated the game for long periods. But at one goal ahead the expectation this season is more one of waiting for the opposition to score than going home with three points. Sure enough Leeds got one back and despite going down to 10 men with a few minutes left the pressure from the boys in red and white was not enough to produce a winner. Pete Sixsmith was there and as usual sums things up in only seven words.
John McCormick writes: Some time in the early sixties, after my dad had taken me to St James Park for my very first proper game, he and I were listening to a match on the radio. It was Sunderland v Leeds or more probably Leeds v Sunderland. I think I’d decided to support Sunderland by then but it was possibly this match that confirmed it for me and turned me away from the Dark Side for all time.
It may have been another ten years before I got round to seeing Leeds live. Not so for Pete Sixsmith; it looks like he was there in the flesh as me and my dad sat listening to the light programme in the kitchen.
Monsieur Salut writes: Black Monday was followed by Blacker Tuesday, the latest home defeat put in grim perspective by Birmingham’s win at Bolton. It all made a mockery of the hope some allowed themselves after the aberration of a Sunderland win at Pride Park.
But life of a sort goes on. There’s a prize Leeds United-SAFC Guess the Score and, now, a return to the Who are You? series (our Sheffield Wednesday interview never arrived, but there was no reason for reproach since the volunteer’s father had just died).
We first met our Leeds-supporting candidate Kevin Ayscough*, related to our own Pete Sixsmith through marriage, before the equivalent game at the Stadium of Light, a 2-0 away win that set the tone for most of our home programme. Here he is again, disappointed at Leeds’s own failings and urging SAFC to keep faith with Chris Coleman for the battles ahead …
We have got used to fantasy entries in Guess the Score. You know, the ones that predict a Sunderland win (especially if there’s already been one in living memory).
Yesterday you might have seen how I – or rather our readers – came to select a number of clubs to follow over the course of the season. They were originally Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Fulham, Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland; Wolves, Bristol City, Cardiff, Derby and Sheffield United joined them at the end of the January transfer window.
Most weeks, readers of Salut! Sunderland drop by on Friday morning to catch the latest instalment in Pete Sixsmith’s twin series, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Ground (if the game in question is away), Team (if it’s at the Stadium of Light).
This week, the Millwall edition was posted earlier than usual – namely at this link.