Somewhere in the archives, under the “Who are You” byline, is a comment by a Man United fan. It’s to the effect that American investment does not end well. I can think of three times when he may have been proved right: one being his own club, where they have moved from being debt-free to owing £300 million since 2005, and the second being Liverpool, where legal action forced the sale of the club. The third case is, of course Sunderland, where Ellis Short managed a decline that exceeded all expectations, but did enough to ensure the survival of the club when he finally left.
Yet Man United are still one of, if not the, richest and most successful club(s) in the world and Liverpool are champions of Europe, and both are still owned by Americans. So should Sunderland get back into bed with another American billionaire? Here’s what Pete Sixsmith thinks:
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 …
Amid all Sunderland’s more pressing problems, it seems almost incidental to reflect on how old you now have to be to have any dependable first-hand memory of May 5 1973: Porterfield’s goal, Monty’s double save, Stokoe’s sprint and our cup.
Never forget that the London branch of the SAFC Supporters’ Association voted years ago to change the name of its newsletter from 5573 to Wear Down South, an excellent title but the choice reflecting younger – and also some older – members’ reluctance to be reminded quite so regularly of how long had passed since the arrival of serious silverware at Roker Park or the Stadium of Light.
And we all know what has happened to the status and allure of the FA Cup in more recent times. It was different in 1973. And if Monsieur Salut’s younger daughter, Nathalie Randall, were somewhat older, enough to have seen that win against lofty, dirty Leeds, it’s a fair bet that the emotion and glory of that day – and her father’s celebrations – might have have steered her into lifelong support of Sunderland, not Liverpool.
But let Nathalie explain how her own feelings about the competition have been affected by two unexpected results, Wigan’s heartening act of giant-killing and Rochdale’s draw against Spurs to ensure at least one day out at Wembley …
John McCormick writes: I get regular
abusebanter from certain people who believe Anfield is a good value, top-class stadium. It isn’t, as I keep telling them, and now there’s proof.
But first I must make mention of Huddersfield, whose fans were told – some nine or ten years ago, apparently – that any who kept their season ticket would be able to renew it for £100 in the event of promotion. That’s not a bad way to reward loyalty and it surely resulted in the best value season ticket in the premiership. In contrast, former “who are you” guest Will Panduro paid about £1500 for his ticket at White Hart Lane last season, admittedly for a pretty good seat.
You might be tempted to say that Londoners earn a lot more, so can afford to pay higher prices but that’s not necessarily so, which poses the question “whose season tickets are the most affordable?” One answer comes from Ticketgum.com, via one of Colin’s colleagues at journalistic.org.
And where do you think Liverpool, Huddersfield and Spurs come in Ticketgum’s quite impressive analysis? Read on, ladies and gentlemen, and all will be revealed.
We all know Monsieur Salut’s football-playing younger daughter Nathalie is not a Sunderland fan. OK, she quite likes us, maybe we’re her second team. She’s been dragged to see us a few times in her life. But her allegiance is Liverpool mainly because as a kid, she fancied John Barnes. So, what now for Jordan Pickford? We’ve all seen the crazy prices – crazily low as well as high – but what would you be happy to pay for him if your club was not Sunderland? ….
Nathalie Randall, daughter of Monsieur Salut, rues the collapsing act of the team she disloyally supports, Liverpool, predicts an Arsenal place after all in the top four and says Hull are going down with Boro and us …
There will be no “little” team winning the Premier League this year.
Normality seems to have been restored with Chelsea more or less certain to win the title once more (hands up anyone who actually likes them though!).
Arsenal have had their usual flirtation with the top four, and it remains to be seen if they manage to scrape into a Champions League place, as they always seem to do.
The future of Arsene Wenger is yet to be revealed as well as those of players such as Ozil and Sanchez.
Liverpool had their usual great start to the season, lauded as potential champions before going on a dismal run which may yet land them outside the top four, with points dropped against lesser teams (even including Sunderland in that 2-2 draw in January).
Man City are finishing strongly but they will be disappointed that they weren’t able to make a challenge for the title.
Man Utd have been disappointing in the league but are flying high in the Europa League so could yet qualify for the Champions League by winning that.
Tottenham, as last year, got themselves in great position but seem to be pipped at the post for the second year running.
The usual mid-table teams have cemented their places there again, the likes of Everton, West Brom and Southampton.
Leicester caused uproar when they sacked Claudio Ranieri after he had guided them to an unprecedented Premier League title the previous season but have recovered [egg on Monsieur Salut’s face, maybe, for suggesting the dismissal was an example of corporate obscenity]
Sam Allardyce looks to have performed his miracle survival act once more with Crystal Palace although they aren’t safe yet [see my ESPN piece showing they are still in danger depending on final results – Ed].
As for relegation, Sunderland could not repeat previous seasons’ escape acts and ensured their drop to the Championship recently after a woeful season. It is not known yet who will join them except that it will be any two of Hull, Swansea or Palace.
So my predictions for the final two weekends are:
* Chelsea to win the title (no big surprise there)
* 2: Tottenham / 3: Man City / 4: Arsenal all qualifying for the Champions League.
Relegated: Hull to fill the final place.
* My dad to give me some pocket money for writing this
Monsieur Salut writes: Pete Sixsmith won’t mind Michael Goulding, a more occasional contributor, intruding on his new series about Sunderland’s 10 relegations. After Sixer’s priceless if detached reminiscences of the time our club lost its proud record of having played only in the top flight, Mick posted this as a comment. It cried out to be elevated to a proper part of the series even though he, like Sixer, has no direct memories of that first experience of dropping a division.In fact, Mick’s story is about supporting the club rather than seeing it suffer the humiliation of relegation …
Sixer’s was a good piece full of engaging memories (even if they aren’t all mine). I was too young, aged five, to remember that first relegation.
Five-year-olds then were very different from five-year-olds now. We lived in blissful ignorance. Nothing was on the telly, which was just as well cos we didn’t have one, and the only other media outlet that I engaged with was in comic form (Dandy, Beano, Topper etc).
Down here in Liverpool the red half of the city reveres Louis Suarez. They see it as no surprise that Liverpool FC achieved their highest ever PL position, not to mention winning the League cup and making the FA cup final, when he was there. They don’t forget he was their highest scorer for three consecutive seasons. But what they seem to remember more than this, or his undoubted skill, is his will to win. During his time at Liverpool Louis Suarez fought for everything, never gave up and lifted the team around him. He deserves massive respect for that and he still gets it.
Monsieur Salut writes: on quiet days, two thoughts cross the mind: one of relief that Sunderland are not playing, therefore cannot lose, and a second on what to put on the site to stop interest flagging. The slack times would be unimportant if our readers generally had the habit of dipping into a substantial archive of material accumulated since Salut! Sunderland breathed its first in early 2007. They do not.
Perhaps we need to give more thought on how to make historical items attractive and easy enough to look up. We were better at this in the past, but much of the ‘furniture’, the links that appear in the sidebar column to the right as you look at this page, vanished either when the site crashed under cyber-attack a while ago or when our much-missed web guru Sam later sorted out lingering problems.
Let me introduce Ten Years After, not the ancient rock band but a new category to accommodate articles from 10 years ago that may still have merit, whether because they have historical interest or because they may stir memories or simply entertain. Our associate editor John McCormick, has other ideas for doing more to alert today’s readers to what Salut! Sunderland has got up to and these will be implemented where possible.
Ten Years After starts with a piece that first appeared about but not exactly 10 years ago, ie on Feb 22 2007, and looked at some rotten refereeing decisions of what was, already in 2007, the past. I will make minor tweaks to take account of the passage of time. You may have better examples from before or since …
On a weekend off, if it’s too soon to do a relegation review (which it is), I’d normally take a trip around the Northwest and bring you up to date with the tribulations of clubs such as Blackpool, Bolton, Blackburn and even some who don’t begin with B – Morecambe being the most recent.
And that was my intention until I read earlier today that Green Go Waste won’t be making an appearance on Monday’s TV.
I don’t know who they are, I don’t know exactly what they do, but I do know who their replacement is, and I don’t like them, not one bit.