Substitute Sixer’s Soapbox: an ultimately shaky win over MK Dons and ‘unhelpful constant criticism’ of Ross

Readers will know we have been experiencing technical problems caused by a malicious redirection of certain of our pages to a scummy Turkish escort site. Salut! Sunderland is now more secure (at a hefty price) but neither that, nor as much self-help and professional cleansing as we have been able to do without further expenditure, has rid us of this Turkish blight.

When a page redirects to Istanbul – as happened with Sixer’s Sevens after the MK Dons match and this full report by our deputy editor Malcolm Dawson – we are excluded from the invaluable headline-grabbing site and the number of readers plummets alarmingly.

Reposting, while irrtating for readers who have already seen the relevant item, has been known to help. So we are today republishing Malcolm’s outstanding analysis in the hope it may avoid the vulture-like attentions of our friends from the east and attract the audience it deserves.

A full professional clean-up to eliminate (maybe!)  the bug would be too expensive so if anyone knows a SAFC-supporting IT wizard who would be happy to do it for a pittance, please say so …

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Sixer’s MK Dons Sevens: a flying start but nervy 2-1 win

Monsieur Salut writes: Pete Sixsmith greatly enjoyed his midweek trip to Bramall Lane, a winning display on the field enhanced by a feelgood, relatively sober atmosphere among our travelling fans.

And so back to the mundane but – surely for us – more important world of League One. Sixer was there with our associate editor John McCormick in the East Stand, deputy editor Malcolm Dawson back in his usual seat so a decent turn-out for the Salut! Sunderland editorial team.

A bright start produced two goals, another cracker for Max Power – ‘even better than on Wednesday at Sheff Utd’, said Sixer – and a second from Luke O’Nien. At half time, Pete deplored ‘another spineless referee’ for failing to reduce ‘Franchise FC’ to 10 men for an assault on O’Nien that screamed red but drew yellow.

Jake: ‘from Spain, it sounded like the classic game of two halves’

In true Sunderland fashion, we failed to build on or convincingly defend even a two-goal lead and, as Ipswich coasted to victory at home to Tranmere, a goal was duly conceded.

Sixer reported us ‘living on our nerves’ while Gary Bennett said we looked too much like an away team clinging on desperately to a slim lead. That said, we did hang on and three valuable points are ours. Pete’s seven-word verdict – take your pick from the two he offered – will be followed by a full appraisal …

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Sunderland vs MK Dons. How many of SAFC’s Bramall Lane stars will feature?

Jake: ‘now for some points on the table … please’

Football talk thrives on whats ifs.

What if Jack Ross, suitably impressed by his much-changed team’s latest winning exploits in the Carabao Cup, decided the same side can surely coast past MK Dons in the more important matter of the League One promotion race?

It was, after all, a fine 1-0 win against Sheffield United, albeit also much changed after their 2-0 Premier League triumph at Everton.

But we know it won’t happen because football doesn’t tend to work that way. A few of Wednesday night’s stars may get into the squad but the chances of Ross announcing an unchanged side are less than zero.

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Portsmouth then Sunderland, Ipswich, Rotherham, Peterborough and Coventry top our poll. But where are Lincoln?

On Friday we had over 3,000 visitors, followed by a quiet weekend. Not everyone took part in our top six poll  but over 1200 votes (not voters) have now been cast. That’s not bad, I suppose, for a League One fans’ site but I am expecting a few more will chip in before the season kicks off.

Early results suggest the headline I used then – for which I visited a couple of betting sites to find the promotion favourites – was on the right lines. Of the six clubs I named five are in the top spots. Lincoln (currently lingering in 8th place) are the exception with Sunderland, unsurprisingly, replacing them. There’s a gap – slight but quite evident – between the top three and the next three,  after which numbers drop off, so Lincoln and Doncaster, who made last season’s playoffs and now lie seventh, have quite a bit of ground to make up.

All of the clubs in the League received votes, which I’m taking to signify that we  managed a wide reach. It will be interesting to see if enough fans of so-called smaller clubs, which are predominantly towards the bottom of the poll, visit in large enough numbers to move their favourites upwards. Crowdwise, numbers are against them but we have only small numbers voting so you never know.

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Ipswich or Portsmouth? Rotherham or Peterborough? How about Lincoln or Coventry? It’s your choice

Last season our punters got it more or less right and correctly predicted most of the top six. Luton were missed but that was mainly down to the Coventry Ninjas, whose hijack of last year’s poll pushed them (Luton) out of the top places.

Maybe the ninjas or another club’s fans will do the same again this season. As far as I’m aware the polldaddy vulnerability that allowed multiple voting still exists and all I can do is disable the ability of readers to see the results in real time. That might change how the poll coding works (it’s built-in and can’t be changed) but it takes something away. A pity, but there we go.

I’ve got a lot on for the next few weeks so I won’t be conjuring up a novel method of tracking and displaying our chosen clubs’ progress or the lack of it. All I’ll be doing is monitoring the accretion of points for now, though I might come up with something different later in the season.

As always, your comments are welcome. We hold posts for moderation but they do go up eventually, subject to meeting commonsense rules of decency, manners, libel etc.

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From MK Dons to Rochdale via Oxford, Peterborough and Portsmouth: it’s a short financial ramble

It was on 18th June that I put up the first in this series, covering the League One clubs beginning A-L, apart from Bury, Blackpool and Bolton. This, part two, was intended to cover the back end of the alphabet but, at 2,300 words, ended up far too big for a single webpage.

There was only one answer. I had to split the piece and cover only five clubs, meaning there will be a part three for the last five and part four for the Lancashire Bs and Sunderland. These will arrive at some yet undetermined point in the future, bet you can’t wait.

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Letter from Liverpool: colour blind in Hull, Cardiff and Sunderland

John McCormick:
John McCormick:
Once too young to drink. Now too old to stand

It’s not just M Salut and Mr Sixsmith, not to mention MOTD, who are celebrating 50 years of supporting, as you can see from my photo. It really was a different era then, and not just because televised football consisted of an hour of black and white on a Saturday night. The Land of the Prince Bishops was the land of heavy industry and a predominantly male workforce, measured in the tens of thousands, many of whose jobs continued until 12 on Saturdays.

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Salut! Sunderland Podcast: what’s gone wrong with Ji Dong Won?


On time again, says Jake
On time again, says Jake

One of the most encouraging things about the live podcast last week was seeing many journo and editor types in the audience, writes Stephen Goldsmith. This was particularly pleasing as it meant I could remind them face to face about their assurances of featuring on the podcast.


James Hunter from the Evening Chronicle was one the recipients of this direct method and popped in to the studios to discuss all things SAFC. Being the Sunderland correspondent in a Newcastle paper, it was a change in environment for James, here he could witness Sunderland fans moaning instead of Newcastle fans goading over airports or housing estates that aren’t even in the same county. Gareth Barker and I were also joined by Craig Clark from over at Roker Report who sparked off a massive Phil Bardsley debate at the live pod last week. If he hadn’t have asked somebody else would have in all fairness.

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MK Dons Soapbox: master class in retention and passing. Guess who from

Jake's excitement could be felt all the way from Spain
Jake’s excitement could be felt all the way from Spain

If the ghost of the English poet and playwright William Congreve will pardon yet another distortion of his most famous line, hell hath little fury like Pete Sixsmith watching Sunderland against lower league opposition in the cup. That was for 75 minutes of Sunderland v MK Dons. Suddenly, imminent humiliation was pushed aside, anger turning to exhilaration as goals flew in according to script. But Pete steels himself to the task in hand and presents his brutally honest appraisal of a night that threatened for so long to end in gloom …

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