Lee Clark. ‘My mistake: not the t-shirt but leaving Newcastle for Sunderland’

Lee
Hero and villain

Only Peter Reid and Lee Clark, and perhaps whoever served them at the Yarm Country Club, know for sure whether it really took five shared bottles of champagne to persuade the Wallsend-born midfielder to join Sunderland from his beloved Newcastle United.

That is what I recall Reid saying happened in an interview at the time. But whatever the truth of the 1997 booze-up recruitment meeting, it will come as little surprise to Sunderland supporters that Clark now regards the move as a mistake.

Having helped us to promotion, he then chose to wear a t-shirt bearing the slogan “Sad Mackem Bastards” at the 1999 FA Cup final, which he attended as a NUFC fan (they lost to Man Utd).

Read moreLee Clark. ‘My mistake: not the t-shirt but leaving Newcastle for Sunderland’

Not quite Real Madrid, not quite Barcelona. But better than Swansea and Stoke

John McCormick:
John McCormick. we’ve come a long way, some way yet to go.

It’s been a few years since I’ve done a timely review of Deloitte’s “Money League”, which usually comes out in January or February (it was January this year).

But when there’s a battle to be fought there’s not much room, time or inclination to give some thought to a little piece of meaningless self-publicity, which is what the Deloitte Money League is, entertaining though it may be.

Read moreNot quite Real Madrid, not quite Barcelona. But better than Swansea and Stoke

Relegation watch revisited (2): It was the draws wot done it

John McCormick:
John McCormick
number crunching

The season before last we won only 7 games and we stayed up. We even finished above Aston Villa, who won 10, as well as QPR and Hull City, whose 8 wins each could not stave off relegation. The other relegated team, Burnley, had 7 wins, the same as us.

The difference between us and Burnley was that we achieved 17 draws, and lost only (only??) 14 games. They could manage only 12 draws, and their five fewer points meant they finished second bottom, three places below us.

And thinking about that got me started on the notion of win-loss ratios, which became the tool I used to track clubs in last season’s relegation watch.

Read moreRelegation watch revisited (2): It was the draws wot done it

Relegation watch revisted (1): admit it, we fans know nowt about football*

John McCormick:
John McCormick
having a rest between graphs

Regular visitors will know I’ve been in the habit of looking at the relegation spots for the last couple of years. I haven’t wanted to, it’s just that I’m not sure where the top half of the table is.

So, about a year ago, instead of making my own predictions, I asked readers which clubs were going down, with the aim of tracking these clubs as the season progressed.

The poll ran from June until the end of the transfer season. Initially it was more or less confined to SAFC fans then others  came on board, and some of them weren’t complimentary about us.

Read moreRelegation watch revisted (1): admit it, we fans know nowt about football*

The ‘Who are You?’ Awards frontrunners: West Brom, Tottenham … and Exeter

Jake: 'with thanks to all opposing fans who participate'
Jake: ‘with thanks to all opposing fans who participate’

It is that time of year. Salut! Sunderland is preparing to make its annual HAWAY awards, honouring the best of our “Who are You?” interviewees among opposing supporters. The interviews ahead of each match often reach the highest standards (the answers, I mean with due modesty, not the questions) and we are delighted to offer awards to the best as voted by our panel of judges.

Read moreThe ‘Who are You?’ Awards frontrunners: West Brom, Tottenham … and Exeter

In praise of Kone and Kaboul, sharing Newcastle’s grief, acclaiming Houdini United

Gans doon a treet
Gans doon a treet

Here’s the place to have your fun. Subject to the usual rules of decency and legality, use the Comments facility to post anything you like about the outcome of the relegation scrap …

Now, we did try. No gloating, I thought, would make for a noble all-round instruction to the army of Salut! Sunderland toilers. Sadly, maybe even ignobly, the editor has been flattened by the tidal wave.

The truth is the truth. We feel about them much as they feel about us. We may pay lip service to the notion of the North East being a better place if only all the three top clubs – Sunderland, the Mags, and Shildon – could be in the top flight forever. But we know it won’t happen. And we don’t, or not all of us, actually like the Wear-Tyne-Wear derbies that much; just too much stress and anguish except when we go on six-in-a-row expeditions.

So let’s gloat after all. As they would be doing in spades.

Read moreIn praise of Kone and Kaboul, sharing Newcastle’s grief, acclaiming Houdini United

Sunderland v Arsenal Guess the Score: Shakespeare, Shack and shaking expectation

[polldaddy poll=9389387]

So, Guess the Score is again a prize edition and again there’s a catch. Only a correct entry predicting a winning scoreline for Sunderland qualifies; it must be the first to be posted before kickoff to claim the prize. Since the cost would be borne by Monsieur Salut, and he supports Sunderland and we need the points, that can be seen as rough justice but justice all the same. And as the prize is only a mug, it hardly matters anyway …

Football can really be quite simple. If Newcastle United can play like men unaccustomed to the sport for most of the season and then come close to beating a top four team, albeit one that barely bothered to turn up despite bringing its own linesman, Sunderland – having been quicker to overcome the same malaise – must go one better.

But at the very least we have to avoid defeat against Arsenal on Sunday.

Read moreSunderland v Arsenal Guess the Score: Shakespeare, Shack and shaking expectation

Wrinkly Pete’s points projection sends Newcastle and Norwich down. Now you vote

Peter Lynn: on keeping the faith and keeping smiling ...
Peter Lynn: too optimistic or spot-on? …

Read Peter Lynn‘s assessment of the relegation run-in and why he believes it favours Sunderland. Check the remaining fixtures – see footnote – for yourselves and vote. Since Monsieur Salut and his Norwich and Newcastle bloggers at ESPN FC all put their teams to finish 17th, we can hardly be surprised if the poll results reflect similar partisan hopes. But have a go all the same – some people may even be objective …

[polldaddy poll=9389387]

Read moreWrinkly Pete’s points projection sends Newcastle and Norwich down. Now you vote

Norwich City v Sunderland Guess the Score: see us through it again

Jake: 'not for the squeamish'
Jake: ‘not for the squeamish’

No, it doesn’t all come down to this one game. But if we leave aside the crazy mathematics that would theoretically allow for Newcastle to finish on 43 points while Palace and Watford went down with Villa, we know in our hearts what is at stake at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Read moreNorwich City v Sunderland Guess the Score: see us through it again

Let’s roar our support but banish those Leicester and Norwich clappers

Pete Sixsmith : 'where's me pie, Bovril and rattle?'
Pete Sixsmith : ‘where’s me pie, Bovril and rattle?’

Monsieur Salut writes: Pete Sixsmith is a proper football fan. Prawn sandwiches may be an odd thing to call posh (copyright Roy Keane) but you wouldn’t catch Sixer eating one at the game all the same. Nor should you look out for him in the East Stand on Sunday and expect to see him with a happy plastic clapper. Here’s his rather appealing, if reactionary, rant …

Read moreLet’s roar our support but banish those Leicester and Norwich clappers