Adieu Martin Bain


Monsieur Salut knew, or had a good idea, this was coming, but thought it prudent not to say. Now it has happened. Martin Bain, CEO of Sunderland AFC, is now Martin Bain, ex-CEO of SAFC. No one takes his place because the “place” has been declared surplus to requirements – quite a dramatic change from being one considered worthy of £1.2m a year.

Read moreAdieu Martin Bain

The bane of our lives on ‘making Sunderland great again’

Jake: ‘when will we next see sunny times for Sunderland AFC?’

It would be an exaggeration to suggest Martin Bain as a name to inspire great affection and confidence among the fans. He may merely be doing Ellis Short’s bidding in energetically cutting costs to please the owner. But the cost to the club of that exercise has become painfully clear and Bain must realise he bears a sizeable share of responsibility for our shocking position.

Salut! Sunderland would be quite pleased to see the back of him, and suspects most supporters feel likewise. But in the interests of fairness, and in line with our desire to report all sides on major issues affecting the club, here is a piece quoting his remarks to local media. The comments – drawn from interviews with the Sunderland Echo/Shields Gazette, Newcastle Evening Chronicle and the BBC (*see footnote for links), seemed designed as much to send upbeat messages to potential buyer as to appease supporters, though he says he ‘totally understands’ their anger, anguish and frustration ….

Read moreThe bane of our lives on ‘making Sunderland great again’

Sunderland: a tragic tale of lost love, disconnect and rebuilding from scratch

A proud heritage under threat

Monsieur Salut is left at a loose end, feeling a little redundant with no need to post a Guess the Score or the Derby County “Who are You?” that is already tucked away in the safe …

It comes as something of a relief
to have no forthcoming weekend match to fret about.

In truth, the international break could not have come too soon. Some of us would almost like it to continue until May when, in silent shame, we accept our fate and prepare for life in the next division down, knowing there will be no Eric or Marco or Benno to get us straight back up again.

Read moreSunderland: a tragic tale of lost love, disconnect and rebuilding from scratch

A View from the Avenue: have the miracles run out?

Paul Summerside prays for better times

Paul Summerside doesn’t mince his words. He calls himself a ‘lapsed SAFC fan’ but is one of 20,000+ longing to resume active support. Ellis Short and Martin Bain may throw up their arms in proclaimed innocence, but what can either of them actually offer those who can take no more? As ever, the pages of Salut Sunderland are open to the owner and/or chief executive. As ever, don’t hold your breath …

At church this morning
, the crew of Fulwell 73 (oh the irony) were filming for a forthcoming documentary on this season at SAFC, called Keep the Faith.

Read moreA View from the Avenue: have the miracles run out?

A View from the Avenue: a fan’s Post-it note to Ellis Short

Paul Summerside offers Ellis Short some advice the chairman may find has a familiar look

For Paul Summerside, the time is right to wish a happy 2018 to all at Salut! Sunderland and its Facebook page – and to reflect on “Groundhog Day. 2017 revisited”. It’s hardly an open letter to Ellis Short, more a quick reminder that if we set aside changes in personnel, what is needed now if Sunderland are to avoid a humiliating drop into the third tier is pretty much what was needed a year ago …

Read moreA View from the Avenue: a fan’s Post-it note to Ellis Short

Enter Simon Grayson from Preston – plus exclusive transcript of the job interview

Credit: MattytheWhite at Wikipedia

First a club statement on Simon Grayson’s appointment as manager. Read it here or see a summary in the footnote*.

And secondly, apologies to Martin Bain, chief executive, and Simon for hacking their phone conversation. In fact, it’s so exclusive that it isn’t true. All imaginary, just a spot of fun – and a warm welcome to the new boss …

Read moreEnter Simon Grayson from Preston – plus exclusive transcript of the job interview

Already given up on SAFC promotion? Have your say in our poll

[polldaddy poll=9771633]

Even before the lamentable SAFC club statement on the bleak farce of the supposed attempts to sign a manager, Pete Sixsmith had – with customary eloquence and gallows humour – captured the miserable state of affairs with his piece entitled “The comic opera that is SAFC just now“.

Then came the extraordinary statement announcing that Ellis Short’s business affairs, specifically his desire to sell the club, were holding up an appointment.

“Thanks for utterly wasting my time,” Derek McInnes must have been thinking.

Read moreAlready given up on SAFC promotion? Have your say in our poll

Sixer Says: the comic opera that is SAFC just now

Malcolm Dawson writes……..David Moyes might have been lured to the North East with false promises about a year ago but surely no self respecting potential candidate for the vacant manager’s office at the Stadium of Light can be under any illusions about which way the club is going. Peter Sixsmith isn’t either as he considers yet another situation which reflects badly on the club.

Pete Sixsmith: reflects on the comic opera that is SAFC


For reasons that are of no significance, I have been listening to an excellent recording of the Gilbert and Sullivan opera “The Mikado.” It’s a great combination of Gilbert’s brilliant lyrics and the sparkling music of Sullivan and it gave me much pleasure as I drove back from Leeds Rhino’s 18-14 win at Wakefield Trinity.

One of the songs is a duet between Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner and Yum-Yum, his betrothed entitled “Here’s a how-de-do,” the second verse of which starts;

“Here’s a pretty mess, In a month or less”

That just about sums up the predicament that Sunderland AFC are in at the moment as Derek McInnes turned down the manager’s job on Thursday night. Three weeks today, our pre-season opens at Gigg Lane, Bury and at the moment we are sans manager, sans players, sans ideas, sans everything, as the Bard of Avon says – although I personally think that Shakespeare (Bill not Craig) would have said it better.

I would imagine that McInnes turned it down for a number of reasons.

Firstly, there is a new majority shareholder at Aberdeen who is making some very positive noises about moving the club on. He spoke very well about McInnes and the faith and trust that he appears to have put in his current manager must have played a part in the rejection.

Secondly, he may well have realised that there is not a great deal of money to spend at Sunderland despite the parachute money and the sale of Jordan Pickford. Debts have to be paid and allowances have to be made for the impending departure of Ellis Short.

Which brings us to the third point and that is the rumours of new ownership. New owners, be they German, Chinese or the re-incarnation of Barry Batey, may well have different ideas from the current owner and Chief Executive and may well want to bring their own management team in. McInnes has a good job at Pittordrie, has his family settled there and is sufficiently well paid not to have to up sticks and move south.

All of which are perfectly laudable and acceptable reasons, but you wonder if there is anything else. Chris Sutton suggested that he would be mad to take the job and, despite the encouragement of Walter Smith, there must have been other voices from Scotland and from England telling him that this was not a club that would do much to advance his career. And you can see why. There are Aberdeen players in the Republic of Ireland system who may well have heard Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane talking in somewhat disparaging terms about the club administration.

Dick Advocaat left complaining about promises that were not kept. Sam Allardyce said not a word about the club as he clumped off to run the England team for a single, solitary match.

Security at Aberdeen or a shambles at Sunderland? I know which one I would choose.

McInnes knows which side his bread is buttered

And so we move on to the next name on Martin Bain’s list. It could be Simon Grayson or Nigel Clough or Sven Goran Erikson, who was dismissed by his Chinese club yesterday. What about Neil Warnock? How about Michael O’Neill? Kevin Phillips might be enticed back to the Stadium.

Whoever it is (and I assume we will have someone in charge before the English Football League season starts), it is not encouraging for the support. Most of us have had a low key summer, keeping our heads down while other clubs in our division appoint managers and clubs above us revel in fixtures that pit them against Liverpool rather than Leeds and Chelsea rather than Cardiff.

Our faith in the current ownership and administration is ebbing away quickly and Martin Bain has much to do if he is to win a sceptical and suspicious support over. We have given up with Ellis Short; the quicker he sells up the better now. His time at Sunderland AFC is done.

The patter song in The Mikado (most G and S operas have a patter song) is Ko-Ko singing “I’ve got a little list.” Martin Bain’s looks to be getting shorter as each day passes.

SAFC London Branch welcomes Bains, Ball and Moyes pre-Palace

Malcolm Dawson writes…..what with M Salut galavanting around the Orient and me having body parts and invasive extras removed in Sunderland Royal last week, it has fallen to John McCormick to keep the site ticking over and a stirling job he’s done too. But I’m home now and though the bulk of the post Palace postings may still have to fall his way, I’ve just got time to upload this piece from Rob Hutchison before Barnes and Benno keep me updated on events at Selhurst Park, showing that there are still some at the club, the manager included, who understand what a football club means to its supporters.

Rob Hutchison: posing somewhere, not in London

The London Branch celebrates its 50th year this year and as part of the celebrations, Martin Bain, David Moyes & Kevin Ball kindly accepted an invitation to a small invitation-only pre Palace social at the Southwark Brewery. Here’s the craic . . .

Around 80 well lubricated Branch members greeted the boys with open arms on the rainy Friday evening. Although there was no formal structure to the evening, they mingled and spoke freely to everyone for just over an hour. David Moyes cheerful persona came to the fore as he posted for photos and fed us titbits throughout the evening. Clearly disappointed Ulloa didn’t arrive, it seems the club did enquire about other targets although his opinion on the form of one of the targets (it’s been sh*te) showed how difficult he felt this window has been.


Martin Bain too mingled at length, as did Kevin Ball, who spent ten minutes eulogising with my daughter Olivia @livvhutchison about the steel and inner passion he feels may be lacking with some of the club’s playing staff in recent years.


Olivia – often sends us her dad’s post match comments. Here she tells DM what’s needed

“Who’s your favourite player?” Bally asked her ? She turned around to show the name Cattermole on the back of her shirt, which was a rather canny coincidence. “He’s not as good as me, (although he’s very good), and not as hard as me either”  was the reply. Epic stuff.


He went on to recount how when the going got tough and the lads needed invigorating in games gone by, how he’d grab the odd player by the throat, kick someone up in the air or do anything to awaken them from any lethargy. God how we miss that this season.


 The man still gets it all those years later and you can’t help but feel the passion he still has.In fact everyone felt it all evening, that reconnection with with the club feels like it’s coming back and irrespective of what happens this season at least there feels like there is a slow-burn plan again.


 It’s never been easy supporting Sunderland, but every now and again it’s great to be reminded of the togetherness that’s created when people come together to share a pint and support the lads.


 So it’s well done Olivia and Happy Birthday to the London branch. Don’t forget that we, too, are celebrating an auspicious anniversary. Only 10, nothing as impressive as a half-century, but still worth celebrating with a competition. Share your thoughts on any Sunderland-related topic, with 10 years being the theme, and you could win a miniature version of Nick Barnes’ Matchbook, courtesy of our friends at Tales from the Red & Whites, publishers of a series of books on SAFC. Follow the link for a chance to win.

The Sunderland waiting game that is football’s version of the phoney war

Malcolm Dawson: things getting better
Malcolm Dawson: things getting better

Salut! Sunderland’s deputy editor Malcolm Dawson shrugs off the torpor of the early close season, pre-transfer window, pre-fixures list and all, and considers what seems to be going right, and what more he’d like to see, in the world of Sunderland AFC …

Back in 1939/40 at the outbreak of World War 2, the whole of Britain was on tenterhooks waiting for an invasion that never came. It became known as “the phoney war”.

Here in the summer of 2016, the celebrations of Sunderland fans relieved at a 17th place finish, may not have been on a par with those on VE Day but were pretty impassioned nonetheless. For some the fact our survival condemned our local rivals only added intensity to the festivities.

Read moreThe Sunderland waiting game that is football’s version of the phoney war