As Moyes goes shopping, Salut! Sunderland stokes the rumour mill

Malcolm Dawson writes….aficionados of Vic Reeves Big Night Out in the early 90s will doubtless recall the Living Carpets. Basically this was just Vic and Bob with carpet sample masks talking rubbish. carpets

A typical conversation might go like this:

Carpet 1: You know if you see a ginger cat with a cabbage sellotaped to its back and you turn round three times while singing Bananarama’s Cool, Cool Summer it will permanently rid you of troublesome warts forever.

Carpet 2: I’ve heard that rumour.

Carpet 1: I know. I started it.

Carpet 2: You lying get!

Where is this leading I hear you cry. Well bear with….

Salut! Sunderland relies on a team of regular contributors for its content. On the whole these are original pieces, supplied by genuine Sunderland fans from places as diverse as the South of France, Canada, the USA and Shildon. Not forgetting Spain, Merseyside and Wearside of course.

Now and again M Salut is happy to grant webspace to outsiders if he feels it relevant, especially if it contributes to the upkeep of the site, but while attracting visitors is obviously something we strive for, there is no real pressure to provide fresh copy every few hours. M Salut earns his living from other journalistic sources and Pete Sixsmith and I wallow in the luxury that years of contributions into the Teachers’ Pension Scheme and the top ups that the odd paper round brings. John Mac and Jake too do not look to this site as a means of funding a life of debauchery.

Click me for a better view of the ingredients: geographical references to Jake, M Salut & Sixer, Malcolm Dawson and John McCormick
Click me for a better view of the ingredients: geographical references to Jake, M Salut & Sixer, Malcolm Dawson and John McCormick
So not for us the rehashing of other people’s writing nor the repeated presentation of the same stuff under different headlines with the sole purpose of bringing in extra hits and generating advertising revenue. “Fat chance of that!” I hear M Salut mutter.

We write what we want, when we want. Usually that’s when there is something happening at the club and rather than just report on things you have probably read elsewhere, we like to look at them from our own perspective. To me the things I say and the comments that I read are a bit like the conversations I might have with fellow supporters in the local, except our community of fans is based all around the globe. Above all we seek to entertain. But sometimes nothing seems to be happening.

When I worked in primary schools I would occasionally set my pupils little research tasks but would always stress that wherever possible they should check their facts and above all not to rely solely on the Internet. “Just because it’s on the web doesn’t make it true – anyone can write anything and put it up there,” was my mantra. But this close season when transfer business has so far been non existent I have been trawling the inter-web trying to glean any morsels of gossip hinting at who may be coming into the club. And there’s the rub. Anyone can put up anything these days, when it will immediately be picked up by others as gospel and repeated until it must be true.

So I have decided that to liven up this dead period I will set cogs in motion and wait for the Daily Mail, The Northern Echo, Melody Maker and Bunty for Girls to send these snippets around the globe.

No-one tell Lionel that Fray Bentos is in Uruguay!
No-one tell Lionel that Fray Bentos is in Uruguay!
Five times world player of the year Lionel Messi was spotted in the Ryhope branch of Morrisons earlier today, buying three slices of corned beef and some haslet. Having already shown his love of Sunderland by copying Fabio Borini’s hairdo, he is expected at the Academy of Light tomorrow to put his signature to a five year deal.

David Moyes has tempted Portuguese cry baby Cristiano Ronaldo to move to Wearside by telling him that once the move is finalised he can live in Hylton Castle. “I can’t wait to get behind the drawbridge and raise the portcullis” he said. “I just hope the Moysiah doesn’t adopt similar tactics on the pitch and stifle my attacking flair.”

Shack's back
Shack’s back
The spirit of Shack lives on. Illusionist and part time spiritualist Derren Brown has been spotted on the green at Plains Farm, burning animal bones and dancing around a pair of steel toe capped 1950s football boots, whilst shaking a pair of maracas and chanting “I’m not biased against Newcastle. I don’t care who beats them.” It is thought that when they are handed over to one of the academy lads, they will inherit the twinkle toes of soccer’s Clown Prince allowing club owner Ellis Short to save a fortune on the wages that Marouane Fellaini would require.

Finally, a system of mist nets, similar to those used by bird ringers, has been invisibly installed into the crossbars at the Stadium of Light. Undetectable by referees and anyone else with suspect eyesight, the nets will drop into place when the home side are defending, therefore ensuring that no goals will ever be conceded by the Black Cats. It is hoped the system will be effective, though experiments conducted a couple of seasons back failed to produce conclusive results when Jozy Altidore was used as the guinea pig in secret trials.

Ha’way Sunderland – get some players in sharpish, then maybe I can regain my sanity.

Glories of the past: Len Shackleton’s coin-shoe-pocket flick. At 72

Monsieur Salut writes: Big Sam sends on a midfielder in place of a forward to save a point at home against strugglers. Thousands of SAFC fans see the writing on the wall. So let’s dwell briefly on real Sunderland heroes, heroes of other ages …

Read moreGlories of the past: Len Shackleton’s coin-shoe-pocket flick. At 72

The Johnny Crossan Story (1): Manchester City 0 SAFC 1

With thanks to

To Sunderland supporters of a certain vintage, Johnny Crossan – who scored 39 times for us in 82 games between 1962 and 1965 – is something of a legend.

“Before him, all my heroes were those of my dad,” one fan, Keith Scott, was telling Pete Sixsmith at a recent (Reserves) match. “Johnny Crossan was the first who was my own.”

Salut! Sunderland‘s mission to obtain an interview with the former Northern Ireland inside forward, 46 years after he last kicked a ball at Roker Park, is a legacy of another long-in-the-tooth SAFC follower’s trip to Johnny’s home town, Stroke City (as in Derry-stroke-Londonderry, according to where you fit in the nationalist/loyalust divide).

Pete Horan had been sent to work with people at the local tax office. In his luggage on departure was a book on Crossan that Pete Sixsmith asked him to take to his sports shop and have autographed. Raising the question at work, Pete was told: “You’re in luck: come along for a spot of five-a-side tonight and you’ll meet him.”

Read moreThe Johnny Crossan Story (1): Manchester City 0 SAFC 1

The Roker End: still standing, on a great site

Mrs Logic**
Hats off to Brian Leng and all others concerned with a website called The Roker End*.

Technically home to the Sunderland Former Players’ Association, it is packed with material of interest to every supporter of Sunderland AFC – and a good many supporters of other clubs, too, especially those our players also served.

There are interviews galore, proper features and Q&As, news of events and more besides. Try this list for size and quality: Len Shackleton, Johnny Crossan, Johnny Mapson, John Byrne, Nick Sharkey, Ritchie Pitt, Chris Makin. All of them – and more, yes King Charlie included (see comment) – have been interviewed or quoted. Some quotes are familiar – Shack’s “Listen, I’ve nothing against Newcastle – I don’t care who beats them!” – others less so (Mapson: “For the one and only time in my career, I received an approach to throw a game”).

Read moreThe Roker End: still standing, on a great site

Len Shackleton: our clown, our genius … and more golden memories

Close season seems a good time to be dipping gratefully into the archive. Here is a gem you may have missed, or rather the story surrounding it and the additional reminiscences it inspired. There are one or two links to follow but it is worth the effort …

It is not often that comments keep trickling in long after a posting has all but been forgotten, buried in the archives and popping up again only when someone does a specific Google search.

But there will be no surprise that it has happened with an article that appeared here last year, since the article was about Len Shackleton and was published not before the 10th anniversary of his death. The reason for returning to the Shack theme is simple: among the comments that were posted were three or four that added superbly to the fund of knowledge we have about one of the most gifted and also most eccentric players to grace the English game, better still in Sunderland colours.

Read moreLen Shackleton: our clown, our genius … and more golden memories

Len Shackleton: a clown, maybe, but a genius too

Two months from now, we will reach the 10th anniversary of the death of Len Shackleton, one of the greatest players – and arguably the most charismatic – to wear the red and white stripes of Sunderland AFC.

Salut! Sunderland thanks Mark Walton, at the Blackcats list, for a link to a superb BBC 5 Live documentary presented by Jimmy Armfield a few years before Shack’s death.

Read moreLen Shackleton: a clown, maybe, but a genius too