Sunderland – Middlesbrough U21: Sixer’s Smoggy Snapshot

Here’s a quick warm up for tonight’s main event. Another game against another Yorkshire club.

Not as important, perhaps, but it gives us a glimpse of some players who might yet grace the famous grounds of the English Football League such as Roots Hall, Adams Park, Highbury, The Kassam three sided,  The New Meadow and the Stadium of Light.

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Will Cardiff or Fulham join Wolves, and will Derby join Villa and Middlesbrough?

no slide rule needed

This will be my final dodgy numbers post of the season. (If you haven’t seen the previous ones you can follow the link above, and/or those below). There is still a game to go, and two questions remain unanswered, but we can now look at the league table and judge how well our start of season pundits did. Their choices for the top six spots, in order of popularity were: Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Fulham, Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland.

Three out of six, and wrong about the top two. Is that a “not bad” verdict or something worse? 

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Wolves and Cardiff, then Fulham and Villa. Then pick two from three (or four?) (or five?)

now it’s very dodgy

Yesterday you might have seen how I – or rather our readers – came to select a number of clubs to follow over the course of the season. They were originally Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Fulham, Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland; Wolves, Bristol City, Cardiff, Derby and Sheffield United joined them at the end of the January transfer window.

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Wolves, Cardiff, Bristol, Derby and Sheffield United join Middlesbrough, Villa and Fulham as our ones to watch

no slide rule needed

Let’s go back to the start of the season (and don’t we wish we could).

I polled our readers as to who would make the top six. These clubs came up favourite ( in the order given) and I began tracking them and reporting on their progress from time to time:


Aston Villa


Sheffield Wednesday


and Sunderland

By Christmas, if not earlier, it was obvious some changes were needed.

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A champion Championship series: the first time Sixer saw your ground or your team

Sixer tastes the tropical flavour of a County Durham winter as he delivers the papers

Most weeks, readers of Salut! Sunderland drop by on Friday morning to catch the latest instalment in Pete Sixsmith’s twin series, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Ground (if the game in question is away), Team (if it’s at the Stadium of Light).

This week, the Millwall edition was posted earlier than usual – namely at this link.

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Sixer’s sevens: Middlesbrough take one point. Do our players get another?

Jake: ‘it’s not always pretty’

We were 1-0 up when I started setting this up, just after half time. By the time I’d got the page ready for Pete Sixsmith we were 1-2 down, with the second being a Grant Leadbitter penalty.

Could we overcome being struck by the curse of the former player? Yes and no. Yes because we scored to equalise but no because they scored a third shortly afterwards.

But yes again because we came back strongly, which led to Pete changing his text at the very last minute:

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The First Time Ever I Saw Your Team: Middlesbrough FC

Sixer by Jake

John McCormick writes: I’d really have to think hard about whether or not I’ve seen us play ‘Boro at Roker. Away, yes – I’ve been to Ayresome Park – but I have no recollection of any game against them at home. I wouldn’t have been at the 1961 game Pete describes below, being only 10 at the time (my SAFC career began about the time Cloughie’s ended and I never saw him)  and for much of the sixties I think we were were in different divisions.

Even so, this series by Pete Sixsmith is beginning to make me think my memory is seriously deficient.

I blame the drink. I’m clearly not getting enough

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SAFC vs Middlesbrough Who are You?: ‘Coleman’s great but what a mountain to climb’

Chris Blackwood: ‘sorry lads but my Boro to win 2-0’

Monsieur Salut writes: having used up virtually the entire Boro-supporting side of my family (my sister has lived there throughout her adult life, for some years just around the corner from Ayresome Park), I scoured Twitter for a fresh pair of eyes. There I found Chris Blackwood*, a York-based lifelong Boro fan. He readily agree to share his thoughts with us. He rates Chris Coleman highly, thinks he might just pull us one or two places clear of the drop but clearly sees the necessary Sunderland points coming from a tough-looking run-in since he sees yet aother Stadium of Light home defeat looming for this weekend …

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