Recalling Sunderland’s most memorable games in history

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A just-for-fun poll introduces this look at some of the greatest games in Sunderland AFC’s history. Many readers will approve of the choices made by Ben Jones, a sportswriter and ‘massive Sunderland fan’. Others might add the 4-1 defeat of Chelsea in the first of our seventh-top Premier seasons under Peter Reid. Or the first FA Cup 6th Round replay against Manchester United at Roker Park in 1964. Back in 2013, a Roker Report piece on great games over the festive period threw others into the mix: the last-second win against Man City on New Year’s Day, 2012; a 4-1 Boxing Day romp at Bradford in 2000 and two Old Trafford classics (a 5-3 win on Boxing Day 1950 and a 2-1 defeat on New Year’s Day 2003. You decide …

Since Sunderland became the first new team to join the Football League in 1890 and from the earliest seasons, their name has been embroidered prominently in the tapestry of English football history.

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Great series begins at Derby, Bury, Norwich, Sheffield Wednesday, Carlisle, Leeds and Barnsley

Monsieur Salut writes: when Pete Sixsmith suggested a series looking at his first encounters with Sunderland’s opposing teams or their grounds, I had minor doubts. That’s 46 articles plus the cup games – assuming he does each team for home games, each ground for away ties – on top of all else he contributes to Salut! Sunderland.

It’s fair to say the first fruits of Sixer’s latest endeavours are making me eat my thoughts. It is proving a fabulous series, much admired here but also by supporters of the clubs he writes about. Eric Bowers recently described Sixer as a national institution … you decide



The story so far is enough to persuade me that he should really be talking to book publishers. Here’s a flavour (click the team name to see the full piece in each case):

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Sixer’s Leeds United Soapbox: ‘finish above this lot and SAFC go up’

Jake: ‘no walk in the park’

Pete Sixsmith had almost forgotten what it was like to have to churn out, week after week, doom-laden masterpieces combining gallows humour and sharp footballing analysis. It had been relatively upbeat so far, a tolerable pre-season followed by a decent start in league and cup. The visit of Leeds United changed all that. So were we put in our place, ominously so? Or is it just a case of getting back to the drawing board as things will work out fine? Read on …

The thump as we fell to earth was a resounding one and could be heard all over Wearside. After a good start to our (hopefully short) life in the Championship, we came up against the first really well organised side that we have played this season and ended up distinctly second best.

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SAFC vs Leeds United Guess the Score: who’ll be on top on Saturday?

Malcolm Dawson writes….I nearly put SAFC v Dirty Leeds in the headline in an attempt to attract a few irate United fans along to our Guess the Score competition but opted for diplomacy rather than provocation.

If you’ve never been here before then all you have to do is be the first to correctly predict Saturday’s scoreline before kick off and a prize could well be winging its way to you post match should Monsieur Salut feel inclined to dig deep into the pockets of his pantalon.

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The First Time Ever I Saw Your Team: Leeds United

Pete Sixsmith (before the fierce slimming regime began)

Monsieur Salut writes:
in his latest addition to this hugely entertaining series recalling his first encounters with opposing teams or – for away games – their grounds, Pete Sixsmith begins with a confession.

But do not be fooled by his Leeds origins. Sixer moved to County Durham – just up the street from me – as a boy and soon became a Sunderland supporter. While successive SAFC teams, managers and owners have sorely tried his patience over the past half-century, he has remained passionate throughout (save for one season-long sulk after the first of Peter Reid’s relegations). And the only Leeds team he likes are the Rhinos.

But as Sunderland prepare to engage once again with old footballing foes, Sixer looks back on his roots ……

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The Leeds United Who are You?: ‘top six for us and SAFC’

Kevin Ayscough with a miniature Leeds fan, his grandson Charlie

You’ll need to scroll down now if you want to know Kevin Ayscough‘s* link to Salut! Sunderland and why he thinks a certain Sunderland fan ought really be supporting Leeds.

Kevin is a down-to-earth United supporter who sees no point in harking back to his club’s glory days, though he says he still cannot work out how we made his trip home to Leeds such a miserable one on May 5 1973. He rates Simon Grayson highly and, even before this week’s results put us 6th and Leeds 7th, saw both clubs finishing in the top six – a re-run of 1963-64 would suit him and most of us, even if we’d want the positions reversed ….

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Can Simon Grayson’s ruthless streak help Sunderland back to the Premier League?

‘Lead us back to the top, John!’ Source: Sunderland AFC via Facebook

At Salut! Sunderland, we do not necessarily long to hear the thoughts of Leeds United supporters. Their lot aren’t especially keen on ours either. But one Leeds fan with more than a little to do with this article about Simon Grayson’s prospects at Sunderland strikes a happy note: ‘most of us consider him a quality manager at this level.’ That will do for us, too, won’t it?

It hasn’t been an easy ride
for Sunderland in the past year. Sam Allardyce left for the England job leaving the Wearsiders lumbered with David Moyes. Moyes failed to redeem his Manchester United and Real Sociedad failings and ended up taking the club down.

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Bravo Lincoln, Ha’way Sutton, no sorrier for Burnley than for Leeds

A day to remember
A day to remember

OK, it’s just an excuse to revive an old classic from the pen of Pete Sixsmith, last heard of ‘having lunch in Easter Road prior to Edinburgh City vs Montrose at Meadowbank’ (completing his Groundhoppers’ Scottish set). But Monsieur Salut, while not disliking Burnley, is chuffed to bits by Lincoln’s win at Turf Moor  and hopes – less likely and while acknowledging the points made by John McCormick in this piece – Sutton can do the same against Arsenal.

And this is how Pete introduced the FA Cup tie against Leeds United two seasons ago. We won 1-0 but it was not a gem of a match and we rode our luck. But the buildup to the occasion gave Pete a chance to reminisce …

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