Sunderland 0 Manchester United 1: a hung parliament

A disappointing result. But was it a disappointing performance? The parliament of Sunderland fans is divided …

The mood on platform two of Sunderland’s charmless station, a strong contender for any worst mainline terminus award, was not quite the same as it had been in row 30 of the East Stand.

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Tomorrow, and sounding off to Manchester


The Republik of Mancunia came calling, and these were the questions and my responses. We covered Keano, ticket allocation, Jonny Evans and much more besides. Pete Sixsmith’s answers would have different in several places, and I was almost certainly too kind …

Scott the Red: Sunderland are currently six places higher than where they finished last season. Which player has been your best in helping you achieve that?

Simply no contest. Without Darren Bent’s goals we’d be in trouble. No opponents, however grand, can rely on him not to score and to say, as some do, that he has no game beyond scoring goals is to overlook the function of the striker.

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Who are you? We’re Manchester United


In the second part of his look at Manchester United’s season, Sunday’s game and the meaning of life, Justin Mottershead gives Sir Alex a vote of confidence, tells of a recent encounter with Denis Law, makes passing mention of George Best and berates Salut! Sunderland for remembering David Bellion but inexplicably overlooking Mr Bruce or Mr Evans among men linked to both clubs …

SEE PART ONE, including Justin’s match forecast, BY CLICKING HERE

Salut! Sunderland: Would the Carling Cup and nothing else this season, if it came to that, represent abject failure in your eyes and would that be the time for Sir Alex to stand down?

In short- yes and no. Yes winning the Carling Cup alone is not a successful season at United no matter how you look at it and no Sir Alex should stay on until he believes he’s no longer physically up to the job. He’s always managed to bounce back from a poor season and I’m sure he’ll do the same this time round.

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Sunderland v Manchester United: the view from Old Trafford (1)


No Sunderland player will need lifting for this one. We have played well against all the top clubs at home this season – and we came within an ace of winning at Old Trafford. Free from relegation stress, playing for pride and a top 10 finish, we can confound the received wisdom that this is an away banker.
Salut! Sunderland came across Justin Mottershead, United fan and football blogger*, when he named Kieran Richardson, just entering his best form of the season, in his worst Premier League XI. Who better, then, to star in our last-but-one Who Are You? feature of the season? Justin sees Kieran scoring the winner (sadly an own goal) but accepts that even this wouldn’t be enough to take the title back to Old Trafford …

Salut! Sunderland: So let’s get this out of the way: who will end up as the top four, in order, and – somewhat easier now than when the question was posed – bottom three?

Chelsea, United, Arsenal and Spurs. Pompey, Burnley and Hull.

Chelsea will win then title because Liverpool reserves will lie down and die, like Benitez and everyone else associated with the club wants them to. Spurs will get fourth just so Kia Joorbachian can sell Tevez to someone else in Europe and wipe the smile off the bitter blues faces.

Read moreSunderland v Manchester United: the view from Old Trafford (1)

Soapbox: a walkover for Manchester’s Reds? Don’t think so


Yes, we are underdogs for Sunday. No, we do not deserve to be treated as if incidental to the natural order. On paper, it’s an away win but on a big day for reputations to be reinforced, an outstanding Sunderland display could bring a result. Pete Sixmsith reports …

So we approach the penultimate weekend of the Premier League season. There are two games left until the curtain closes on an interesting, if non vintage season.

Last year it was all about who goes down (Newcastle – hee, hee) while this year, according to the media the entire Premier League season will be decided at Anfield, where Chelsea need to win to go into the last weekend and a home game against Wigan to take their third PL Championship.

However, if Chelsea lose at Anfield, the title will go to United as they will obviously win their final two games against Premier League makeweights like Sunderland and Stoke City – that’s if the entire Stoke side haven’t had a mass fight in a field in the Potteries, watched over by bullet headed men with straining at the leash Staffys.

Read moreSoapbox: a walkover for Manchester’s Reds? Don’t think so

Manchester United: lame ducks and quack remedies

united flag

We begin our build-up to Sunderland’s final home game of a season that started well, promised much, floundered a lot and finally regathered momentum to guarantee our highest Premier League finish since 2001. Salut! Sunderland offers its own welcome to Manchester United …

Chelsea may have all but killed the title race dead by the time Sir Alex Ferguson’s team takes the field to do battle with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. A win at Anfield earlier the same afternoon will leave the Blues needing only to beat Wigan at home the following Sunday, assuming United beat us, to ensure top place. A team that has rammed seven goals past three other Premier sides should surely regard that as a simple task against the only one to concede nine in a game.

Everyone, of course, expects United to beat us. It’s a given. For everyone, that is, except two groups of supporters, one determined (Sunderland) and the other merely hopeful (Chelsea).

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Time to stop hating Chelsea?

chelseaIt has become almost the stock phrase of every fan who doesn’t support Chelsea. Whatever they think or thought of Manchester United or anyone else, they especially hate Chelsea.

In truth, the attitude predates the moneyed years of Roman Abramovich, whose £7.4 billion fortune puts him in second place (ie after Lakshmi Mittal) among the wealthiest characters in Britain. There was always a feeling that despite its fashionable name and location, there was something spivvy about the club. Going to the Bridge was almost always an unpleasant experience.

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Manchester United: a questionable stand

manu fans

Salut! Sunderland‘s spot of innocent fun on how to keep Alan Hutton at the Stadium of Light attracted nearly three times as many people to the site as will be allowed into the away end when we play Man Utd on May 9. All because United fans like to stand. Let us weigh up the arguments …

One thing needs to be clear. I’d prefer Manchester United to win the title. But success for Chelsea is a price I will happily pay for seeing Sunderland beat United as convincingly as we are able in our final home game.

Unlike many football supporters, I do not dislike Man Utd.

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Man United fixture change: when fans come last

“Bastards! I have that whole weekend organised already and this will foul things up! It’s a bit late to change isn’t it?”

That was one understandable reaction to the Premier League’s decision, announced only today, to move our last home game of the season from Saturday May 1 to Sunday May 2, kickoff 4pm. To accommodate Sky Sports, needless to say.

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Manchester United: a standing joke


No, we’re not having a go at the geographical disposition of United’s support, or trying to wind up the occasionally oafish Gary Neville or his professionally grumpy (and phenomenally succesful) manager. We’re actually sympathising with the club’s travelling fans …

Being refused permission to stand up at football is not something that should, in all honesty, bother me.

When the chant goes up to “Stand up if you … ” love or hate this or that, him or them, and is most commonly followed by “hate the Mags”, my heart is with the rival group that responds with “Sit doon if you hate the Toon”.

But there are times, even after rather too many decades of watching the game, when I am moved to rise to my feet because something is happening on the field to bring hope, fear or excitement – or maybe just because I need to be high enough above fans ahead of me to be able to see at all.

Read moreManchester United: a standing joke