Sunderland, Palace, Hull, Swansea, Middlesbrough and Leicester – pick any three

John McCormick
John McCormick: We’re  bottom but the gap’s closing

When I last reported in with the Salut Sunderland relegation watch we had had some recent wins but were still in the relegation zone, along with Swansea and Hull. (Swansea weren’t one of the clubs chosen in our start-of season poll but I included them in December on the grounds that some people did vote for “another club” and they  had begun to fit that bill after a decline).

That was just before Christmas, not long before the transfer window opened, and just around the time struggling clubs might decide a new manager might help them take advantage of it. Now, with all that business done (free agents notwithstanding) it’s time to take stock before we head to the end of season crunch games, six pointers and desperation sackings that define the struggle for 39 points.

Read moreSunderland, Palace, Hull, Swansea, Middlesbrough and Leicester – pick any three

Relegation poll: Middlesbrough, Hull or Sunderland? Arsenal and Manchester Utd? Vote now

John McCormick:
John McCormick. reading the past, looking to the future

I’m getting a bit tired of the title (and Monsieur Salut should apologise to any reader lured here by thoughts it was a poll on religion; the word inexplicably replaced relegation in the headline when published and still appeared some time later at the newsnow.co.uk site) .

But just because we have some decent players, led by one of the Premier League’s most experienced managers and backed by a tremendous crowd, we can’t assume we’re safe.

Our record is not good. We’ve been one of the survivors for too many seasons and we can’t take anything for granted. Even now there will be some fans somewhere rubbing their hands as they look at the fixtures and thinking ‘Sunderland, that’s an easy three points’.

Read moreRelegation poll: Middlesbrough, Hull or Sunderland? Arsenal and Manchester Utd? Vote now

Relegation watch revisted (1): admit it, we fans know nowt about football*

John McCormick:
John McCormick
having a rest between graphs

Regular visitors will know I’ve been in the habit of looking at the relegation spots for the last couple of years. I haven’t wanted to, it’s just that I’m not sure where the top half of the table is.

So, about a year ago, instead of making my own predictions, I asked readers which clubs were going down, with the aim of tracking these clubs as the season progressed.

The poll ran from June until the end of the transfer season. Initially it was more or less confined to SAFC fans then others  came on board, and some of them weren’t complimentary about us.

Read moreRelegation watch revisted (1): admit it, we fans know nowt about football*

Aston Villa, SAFC and Bournemouth bottom, Norwich and Newcastle nearby, Watford wobbling, Leicester laughing

John McCormick:
John McCormick: drowning his sorrows

John McCormick writes: It’s another international break, so another chance to take stock and update my “relegation watch” series. For some of the clubs at or near the bottom, it’s getting scary.

(If you’re new to the series and want to see how it began, or if you want to refresh your memory , you can try this link)

By now regular readers should be familiar with the first graph. It dates from the close of the transfer window and shows our readers’ choices for the relegation spots.  I’m putting it in (again) so you can see how closely it resembles reality or, alternatively, so you can work out just what the clubs have to do to prove our readers right by the end of the season.

 

Read moreAston Villa, SAFC and Bournemouth bottom, Norwich and Newcastle nearby, Watford wobbling, Leicester laughing

Ten things Sixer wants for Sunderland (and others) in 2015-2016

Jake's Ales, Stouts and Yellow Fizz
Jake’s Ales, Stouts and Yellow Fizz

Fresh from his media blitz – video clip for The Guardian, Total Sport on BBC Radio Newcastle –
Pete Sixsmith climbs back upmarket to share with Salut! Sunderland readers the 10 things he’s hoping for in the coming season …

Read moreTen things Sixer wants for Sunderland (and others) in 2015-2016

Bournemouth and Watford; Norwich and Leicester. What about Aston Villa? And what about us?

John McCormick:
John McCormick: reading the ads: looking for one saying “Centre forward, wants club..”

There’s a week to go, more or less, to the big kick-off so it’s time to revisit our dodgy numbers relegation stakes. 6,373 votes were cast in our poll, with Bournemouth and Watford being consistently clear favourites for the drop since the early days:

Read moreBournemouth and Watford; Norwich and Leicester. What about Aston Villa? And what about us?

Relegation watch: still looking at Watford, Bournemouth and Norwich, with Leicester hanging on

John McCormick:
John McCormick: getting ready, only a month to go

What a website! On 15th June, in response to my “who went down, who’s going down?”  Dave left a comment which included:

“… I think Pearson will, at some point, have a big row with a player or a fan, and the team’s spirit that kept them up will dissipate…”

Two weeks later Leicester City’s website contained the following:

“…it has become clear to the Club that fundamental differences in perspective exist between us. Regrettably, the Club believes that the working relationship between Nigel and the Board is no longer viable…”

The effect on team spirit remains to be seen but as I said at the start, what a website!

A week ago I left you with a poll whose results were suggesting the targets of my dodgy numbers “relegation watch” would be the three promoted clubs and Leicester. Since then another couple of thousand votes have been cast but they didn’t make much difference, despite the turmoil  at the Kingpower . Here are last Friday’s and this Friday’s results:

Read moreRelegation watch: still looking at Watford, Bournemouth and Norwich, with Leicester hanging on

Why do we always play Chelsea at the end of the season?

John McCormick:
John McCormick: Where are all the local teams? Blackburn, Bolton, Burnley, Blackpool, even Wigan? All gone.

John McCormick writes:
So you’ve been onto the SAFC home page, clicked the appropriate icon and found the fixtures. No need for me to do much then, is there? Only, M Salut, who is travelling today, would be delighted to find the site that carries his name has not ignored this (pretty much) inauspicious occasion.

Read moreWhy do we always play Chelsea at the end of the season?

Congratulations Chelsea. But eyes down for the drama (Burnley, QPR, us, Leicester, Hull, Newcastle,Villa)

Seb: flashback to our own Stamford Bridge glory
Seb: flashback to our own Stamford Bridge glory

Let’s see if the Sunderland ‘will we survive?’ poll can perk up a little more from our viewpoint. The Yes and Maybe votes, though still lagging well behind, are higher than at any time since poll was launched but always bear there have been many No camp followers among fans of other drop zone clubs) …

[polldaddy poll=8818549]

And now for a quick expansion of the poll to find out who Salut! Sunderland readers (who, don’t forget, may well again include supporters of the other six clubs) think will go down.


Read moreCongratulations Chelsea. But eyes down for the drama (Burnley, QPR, us, Leicester, Hull, Newcastle,Villa)

Burnley, Leicester, QPR, Hull, Aston Villa, Newcastle – and us. Who is doomed?

[polldaddy poll=8818549]

It’s fair to say the headline was designed to attract supporters of all the relegation-threatened clubs, not just ours, so be aware that they may well be influencing the early No vote on SAFC’s chances of survival (whatever our own feelings!) …

Not everyone who supports our favourite club – I nearly wrote “only club” but retain a very soft spot indeed for Shildon AFC – lives in Sunderland or the North East.

Happy days
Happier days

Even those who do may not see the Sunderland Echo or Shields Gazette as often as they should. And we do not all, always, follow what the local press is saying online.

So every now and then, it seems a good idea to draw Salut! Sunderland readers’ attention to a piece that seems to capture our thoughts or put present circumstances in some reasonable order.

Read moreBurnley, Leicester, QPR, Hull, Aston Villa, Newcastle – and us. Who is doomed?