John McCormick writes. Like Blackpool, this one was on the itinerary I compiled early in the summer. Like Blackpool, it didn’t survive my first scrutiny of the fixture list, which is a pity as I’ve never been to the Valley and I was looking forward to it.
Pete Sixsmith has, of course, so here he is setting the scene for our second away trip of 2019 and, as he says, it’s a cracker
With hours to kill before we either stop up to catch coverage of Toronto vs SAFC, or just go to bed, here’s another bout of Summer Madness. Long ago, Salut! Sunderland ran a series of celebrity supporter interviews. Even longer ago, most of these had appeared in 5573, later – and still – Wear Down South, the magazine of the London & SE branch of the SAFC Supporters’ Association. Monsieur Salut was the interviewer, Joan Dawson – sister of our esteemed deputy editor, Malcolm – the instigator, from when she was the magazine’s “co-ordinator”, which meant she did the lion’s share of the work.
One of the best articles to result was based on the story of avid Sunderland supporter Melanie Hill, a terrific actress who played the wife of Coco the Scab in Brassed Off and also had starring roles in Bread, When Saturday Comes and much more besides.
Now Melanie is the new love – if it’s reached that stage yet – of strange old Roy Cropper in Coronation Street. I do watch when in England despite finding many of the storylines preposterous – has any street in the land ever had so many murders, kidnappings, adulterers, disasters and road accidents? – and from what little I have read, this one is nearly as implausible. But I bet Melanie is playing “Cathy” superbly and, in honour of her success in obtaining a role I know she really wanted, here is a re-run of her Celeb interview which – as the names and events suggest – first appeared a long time ago. Apologies to anyone who has seen it before; it’s worth a read if you haven’t …
When I thank you for the stream of visits to Salut! Sunderland that has sent us rocketing up the Soccerlinks hit parade to the dizzy heights of the mid-40s, “you” includes the away fans attracted by the Who Are You? feature and such controversies as the Ilunga/Jones affair. While I stand by for an invasion by Spurs fans later in the week, ahead of Saturday’s game at White Hart Lane, I will give another airing to an interview from the Celebrity Supporters series that began with 5573 (later renamed Wear Down South), the magazine of the Sunderland supporters’ association London branch, and continued at the old site.
Melanie Hill, whom I described as a “smashing actress known from Bread, Brassed Off and much more” was easily one of the nicest interviewees in the series. She agreed to an interview two days before the fateful Arsenal match in Oct 2002, Peter Reid’s last in charge, and rang again just before kick-off to fix a time. The interview took place the day after Reid’s sacking. As I said at the time, it felt like a whirlwind telephone romance.
Here, for those who missed the interview when it first appeared (and apologies to those for whom it is just a repeat), is one of the stars of our wider support base …
This starts as a tale of two celebrities with strong Sunderland links, of one door opening while the echo of another slamming shut is ringing in the ears.