Monsieur Salut writes: Pete Sixsmith makes 10 points from the opening sequence of the Euros but I seem to have reduced them to seven. I began yesterday in a rage against the moronic English ‘fans’ who, as I have witnessed at first hand, are as obnoxious a group of people as you’d hope not to meet. But if they – and of course I mean the sizeable minority of trouble-seeking louts – had already behaved atrociously in one of my favourite French cities, Marseille, their lowlife thuggishness was more than matched by an evil bunch of Russians, in particular, and by some French ‘fans’.
Pete fears there will be trouble wherever England play, even when the English are not wholly or even mostly to blame. As for the football, disappointment for England, a dark start for a man with SAFC pedigree – Lorik Cana, who must have even Lee Cattermole tit-tutting – not to mention another red, albeit away from the Euros in the Copa America) DeAndre Yedlin – and a great opener for Wales. Now let Sixer admire French stadiums and French midfielders …
Until David Cameron gets round to banning foreign travel as part of his austerity programme, we will be accustomed to coming across fellow Sunderland fans wherever we go. It may be the tops they wear, though caps, badges or rear window car stickers also give the game away.
If there is a grimmer town in the world than Portadown, I don’t wish to go there. I didn’t especially want to be in Portadown the day I went looking for a man widely assumed – and sometimes, in semi-private, claiming – to be a bloodthirsty sectarian killer. The newspaper I worked for wanted his reaction to being ordered, by other sectarian killers (nominally on the same side), to get out of Ulster.
He was our cultured polyglot, a man more interested in Durham Cathedral and Hadrian’s Wall than ringing up Anthony Stokes for a list of North-eastern nightspots. A never-say-die midfield rock who’d not shirk at the toughest tackle, or worry unduly about the ref’s cards. And now he’s gone, after just a season. Pete Sixsmith wishes him bon voyage …
My brother, who now lives in extreme penury in Thessaloniki, speaks well of Albanians. Hard workers, great work ethic, but inclined to bugger off for more money/ better working conditions at the first available opportunity.
How’s your Albanian? The applause when Arsenal was mentioned, during Lorik Cana’s recent TV question-and-answer session back in Kosovo, was a little worrying for those of us who seriously rate him. Add a touch of discipline, and much greater consistency, to his unrivalled passion and strength and you’d have another Patrick Vieira at the peak of his powers. Unfortunately, Arsène Wenger may feel the same way …
How long will Gooner memories be if speculation about Lorik Cana and renewed interest on the part of Arsène Wenger turns out to be true, and leads to an attempt to lure our captain to the Emirates stadium?
If Pete Sixsmith can swan off to Scotland in his traditional FA Cup Final avoidance mode, I can be allowed to indulge my passing interest in French football. Can’t really speak for the Queen, though …
… un grand bienvenue aux supporters de Marseille en provenance du site OM Planete
Well, we should own up that we can only guess the emotions of the English monarch as OM step out tonight to celebrate their first Ligue 1 title for 18 years in what should be party style, top versus bottom with poor, relegated, 20th placed Grenoble as lambs for the slaughter.
Of course, there could be a shock away win. But Marseille have the championship and while Salut! Sunderland has no idea of the travel plans of Lorik Cana and Bolo Zenden this weekend, we couldn’t be remotely surprised to hear they at least considered a trip to the stade Vélodrome for old time’s sake.
On the Ramsey/Shawcross affair, we still await the thoughts of Monty and Rupert, names that somehow seemed to personify posh London football support when they were announced on tannoy at Arsenal v Sunderland. Lots of others, notably Gooners, have had their say, however, and not least at Salut! Sunderland …
Just before the kickoff of Stoke v Arsenal, the TV screen (sound down) showed Arsène Wenger and my football-loathing wife started on about how much better dressed, better spoken, more intelligent, better everything he was than your usual football character.
She’s French so would say as much. But it’s a view that I happen, up to point, to share.
Not really a piece in praise of Premier refs. Not really a go at Graham Poll. Just a plea for some even-handedness in our approach – and even the approach of refs who have become pundits – to their decision-making, at least until the next bad one goes against us…
On TalkSport today, Graham Poll talked about recent refereeing decisions.
Of the four really bad and unpunished, or inadequately punished, fouls committed in the Premier League last weekend, he singled out Lorik Cana’s challenge on Eboue, in the first half of Arsenal v Sunderland, as having been easily the worst.
Gooners have been active at Salut! Sunderland since the match, claiming that whatever the rights and wrongs of Cesc Fabregas staying on the field after what they agree was a challenge deserving his second yellow (the dissent concerns his first booking), Cana’s tackle was a shocker and should have earned him a straight red from Steve Bennett.
Steve Bennett, not Salut! Sunderland‘s favourite referee by a long shot (even when we get his name right – see comments), so comprehensively annoys opposing sets of fans that he probably feels he must be getting something right. While Gooners bleat that he allowed our ruffians to hack away at their cultured elite, Sunderland supporters point to his failure to dismiss Fabregas for as clear a second yellow offence as could be imagined.
Pete Sixsmithintensifies the war of words …
That’s the weekend games over, and incredibly, we have only dropped one place in the Race To Get Out Of The Premier League And Into the Championship Table. This is clearly not good enough, and Bruce must ensure that we lose the next four games so that we can join the Doncasters, Bristol Citys and Watfords of the footballing world.
If the world were turned upside down, that would be a distinct possibility. There appears to be a lemming like rush to get out of the top league as all the bottom eight teams bar one, lost – and that was West Ham, who beat Hull City, a fellow struggler.
After Stoke,we welcome another footballing giant in Wigan Athletic. Pete Sixsmith may well give that one a miss for a ride on a potential Wembley bandwagon..
After the display we were forced to sit through on Monday night, only the most devoted followers of the Marquis de Sade can be looking forward to the visit of the Wigan pie eaters with any enthusiasm or expectation.
Wigan had an even worse result than we did, losing at home to serial bankrupts Notts County in an FA Cup replay, which prised 4,000 Latics out of their armchairs and into the DW stadium to watch open-mouthed as their team were dumped on.
That should reduce the Wigan following from the tiny to the miniscule, and should lead to a huge number of empty seats in the South Stand. Add to that the fact that there may well be an empty seat in the East Stand (Row 34, Seat 404) as I am caught on the horns of a footballing dilemma.
Salut! Sunderland presents a challenge to Arsenal supporters – the poster of the best comment received by 10am tomorrow WED NOV 24 will be offered a Nick Hornby book (regular, that is, not special edition) of his of her choice …
We’ve had our say. Sunderland fans, even those who have a lot of admiration for the players Arsène Wenger chooses and the way they play for him, think he went way beyond the limits of reason and fairness in his post-match comments. Notably this:
“Sunderland were aggressive but you expect that. I think that they tried to stop us from playing, sometimes on the fringes of the rule, but that’s part of the game.”