Salut! Sunderland’s end-of-season reviews: (9) Sixer’s closing chapter. No happy ending

Sixer: not a good day to be a Sunderland fan
Sixer: not a good day to be a Sunderland fan

What a relief. Escaping relegation was good enough. Not having to worry about Guess the Score, Who are You? and other items of Salut! Sunderland stock-in-trade has allowed Monsieur Salut to approach in relaxed spirits the part of his work that actually pays. The end-of-season reviews have naturally been time-consuming but in reality needed little or no editing and – notwithstanding the predominantly downbeat tone – have been a pleasure to deal with. Apologies to those who intended to submit reviews but didn’t get round to it in time; nine lives is all the series gets and they’ve all been used up. As is customary, Pete Sixsmith brings the exercise to its climax (a notion more exciting than much we saw during the season). His Soapboxes and Sevens, travelogues, rants and reminiscences are what, more than anything, give this site its identity. I just hope, and every reader of Salut! Sunderland should hope, he gets to more games next season than he currently thinks is likely …

Read moreSalut! Sunderland’s end-of-season reviews: (9) Sixer’s closing chapter. No happy ending

Salut Podcast: Sunderland’s season review! O’Neill, Di Canio, where now?

 

And so another season draws to a close. It’s fair to say the contrast in the campaign’s two managers couldn’t be greater, in both playing styles and in their individual personalities writes Stephen Goldsmith. The overwhelming opinion of Di Canio appears to be that he is either going to be a resounding success or rip-roaring failure of an unparalleled kind. Football never gives you a respite from its uncertainty and excitement. That’s why we all love it, right? You do. You love it.

Gareth Barker joins myself in the studio as always, as we discuss the fall outs from the whole season. As I’ve mentioned previously here, the show always has a loose agenda to follow. The idea behind this is to just give it some direction and a focal point for people to comment on, which in turn, gives others the opportunity to divert away from. This week’s, however, was the most spontaneous and improvised yet. And it was great.

I’d like to thank all the guest that have appeared on the show in the three months it has aired. Without them and their enthusiasm and interest it would be a non starter. I can honestly say that the standard of guests has amazed me and I’m extremely grateful. Many’s former favourite Martin Smith was a highlight last week, as was speaking to his former team mate Darren Williams on the phone. Journalists Richard Mason and Gary Foster have

... Jake suspects PDC may have overlooked a change in the law.
… Jake suspects PDC may have overlooked a change in the law.

given up their time  to help us out, as has writer Andy Dawson – yet all three also asked if they can return. Must be doing something right. The standard of guests we’ve had on the phone  in representation of each of our opponent’s fans  have been the most surprising, and nothing short of tremendous. Thanks to each and every one of them. Roker Report paid us the ultimate compliment by throwing their support behind the podcast and I can’t thank them enough for that, while Michael Graham was a great guest himself of course. This week we’ve had bloody rock stars on man, it’s a huge climb from  Gareth and I sitting in a pub – having first laid eyes on each other – with a shared idea.

But I have to say that a special, special, special thanks goes out to Tom Lynn and Simon Patterson who have also given up their time and helped us out when we really needed it. Tom must have been sick of me texting him and hounding him those first few weeks. Both were excellent and will be back on next season if they so much as wish. Onwards and upwards, hopefully.

Back to this week’s podcast, we had:

  • Gary Foster from Shields Gazette giving his thoughts to all the discussion points.
  • Frankie and Michael from Frankie and the heartstrings, just one of a fine group of bands representing Sunderland in modern times. We hear their latest single Nothing our way.
  • A debate on what went wrong for O’Neill, as we critique his playing style and question his signings.
  • Speak about what we think the future holds with Di Canio and whether his ‘hand grenade’ approach is the right one.

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Salut! Sunderland’s end-of-season reviews: (8) four highs but six lows

John McCormick: Choosing his highs and lows
John McCormick: Choosing his highs and lows

John McCormick writes: As my brother-in-law Ed and I walked from Goodison into the well-worn district of Tuebrook, to await a bus that never arrived, it started to rain. During the long cold winter which followed it felt like there would be no more buses and precious little sunshine coming. And so it proved  until Wigan lost at Arsenal, and even then it was someone else’s bus.

Read moreSalut! Sunderland’s end-of-season reviews: (8) four highs but six lows

Salut! Sunderland’s end-of-season reviews: (7) slower than my 9-year-olds

Another of Jake's Generics
Jake: ‘we had joy, we had fun … and then we had seasons watching Sunderland’


Stephen Goldsmith
is not just a budding broadcast sports journalist, podcast wizard and Salut! Sunderland assistant editor. He also coaches children. In the latest of our end-of-season reviews – the series will end soon with Pete Sixsmith‘s calculations of how well spent his season ticket money was – Goldy says his young charges show more movement and pace than our midfield managed at times …

Read moreSalut! Sunderland’s end-of-season reviews: (7) slower than my 9-year-olds

Salut! Sunderland’s end-of-season reviews: (5) stuck at the bottom with bucketloads of shame

Jake dreams of better school reports a year from now
Jake dreams of better school reports a year from now

Ian Todd,* co-founder of the London and Southern England branch of the Sunderland AFC Supporters’ Association, probably gets to as many games as anyone. Once or twice in the past season, he wondered whether he’d have been better off going to watch the inspirational Sunderland women’s team instead. Ian’s comprehensive review of the season identifies the heroes – unsung Jack Colback notable among them – and the villains …

Read moreSalut! Sunderland’s end-of-season reviews: (5) stuck at the bottom with bucketloads of shame

Sunderland’s season Observed: from bright hopes to barely hanging on

obs

Pete Sixsmith has been more selective in the season that ends today, especially with London away games and ripoff ticket prices. He still got to most matches – including White Hart Lane this afternoon – and, as often happens, The Observer came calling for his appraisal of what he had witnessed, asking him to award marks out of 10 and nominate the season’s best this and that. All before today’s game, of course. Pete wil be back to round off our own series of end-of-season reviews …

Read moreSunderland’s season Observed: from bright hopes to barely hanging on

Salut! Sunderland’s end-of-season reviews: (2) agony, ecstasy, service as normal

Jake as Tony Roffe's caption writer
Jake as Tony Roffe’s caption writer

The end-of-season reviews are beginning to trickle in. In principle, the series will continue until the flow halts or threatens to turn into a flood. Pete Sixsmith will as usual close the series. Now let’s hear from Mick Goulding, whose occasional contributions are always welcome. He pinpoints MoN’s decline, offers a bleak assessment of a squad PDC may be unable to change as much he’d like and urges Ellis Short to back his gamble with cash …

Read moreSalut! Sunderland’s end-of-season reviews: (2) agony, ecstasy, service as normal

Salut! Sunderland’s end-of-season reviews: (1) a tale of two managers

Jeremy Robson: 'We now have a manager how wants to be great'
Jeremy Robson: ‘We now have a manager who wants to be great’

Jeremy Robson is not built in the mould of the docile, acquiescent sort of supporter who takes whatever muck is thrown at him and just rolls over to be tickled now and again. Years spent standing in the Clock Stand Paddock illustrated his passion but made him a critical fan. Here, he kicks off our traditional series of season end assessments …

Read moreSalut! Sunderland’s end-of-season reviews: (1) a tale of two managers

The Lars Word: and the winner is … Paolo Di Canio

Lars Knutsen
Lars Knutsen

Lars Knutsen and Monsieur Salut disagree on one matter – whether Sunderland AFC’s handling of the Paolo Di Canio appointment was exemplary or poor – but that is an honest disagreement which will be familiar to many other supporters. Where we can probably all agree is that the appointment itself has so far, on purely footballing grounds, been thoroughly vindicated. PDC has given the club a spark just when it desperately needed it …

Read moreThe Lars Word: and the winner is … Paolo Di Canio

Transformation since Man Utd debacle reveals more to Paolo than ‘passion’

Gareth in a dugout somewhere
Gareth in a dugout somewhere

Gareth Barker imagines what an onlooker from his own parallel universe might have made of the dismal display against Manchester United that was quickly followed by MoN’s exit, looks back on Paolo Di Canio’s mostly winning start and gets reacquainted with enjoying life …

Read moreTransformation since Man Utd debacle reveals more to Paolo than ‘passion’