Test Matches and Sunderland playoffs. Part one: Gillingham and Newcastle United

Jake prepares for the play offs

John McCormick writes: I had a taxi booked for this morning. It arrived late. Apparently, there were fewer on the road than usual and those that were there were being driven by Evertonians. It would have been a fine night in the city centre.

All this season and last, Pete Sixsmith has brought us his twin series of reminiscences recalling the first time he visited the homes of upcoming opponents or the first time he saw them on be that on Wearside at Roker Park or the Stadium of Light, or occasionally at places like Darlington or Hartlepool.

Before he started on this epistle from the past he had this to say on last night’s game at Anfield.

My seven-word verdict on last night’s Champions League turnaround would have been: Bottled it and beaten by Farringdon’s finest.

I rarely watch games on television – and never when Robbie Savage is “summarising”- but I did watch this one and revelled in a wonderful team performance by Liverpool. At the head of it was our former player, Jordan Henderson, who never stopped running and tackling, who set up the opening goal for Origi and who was a fine captain deserving of all the success that is coming his way. I’m not a great lover of the club or some of its self-satisfied fans, but I do like Jurgen Klopp.

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FA Cup Third Round: five good, five bad. Everton, Notts County make both lists

Bobby Kerr and the FA Cup, May 5 1973, from Art of Football

… in which Pete Sixsmith looks back on the good, bad and exceedingly ugly FA Cup 3rd Round ties he remembers with affection or disgust …

Excitement levels among Sunderland supporters, it has to be said, have not been high over the impending FA Cup tie with Burnley.

I have my ticket due to the Cup Ticket option but am considering missing out in order to watch a tasty FA Vase tie between Shildon and Atherton Collieries. But it did get me thinking about epic and disastrous third round clashes in the past.

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Winning becomes a habit as Sunderland beat Notts County. Wolverhampton Wanderers next

Pete Sixsmith and memories of a cup run, as opposed to el Alamein
Here’s one we made earlier: no prizes for guessing which of these gents is Pete Sixsmith

Snow in South West Durham ruled out Pete Sixsmith‘s first choice of football on Tuesday evening, just up Busty Bank and along the road from him at Shildon’s own threatre of dreams, Dean Street, but didn’t stop him making his way up to Sunderland for the Under 21s or whatever number you choose at home in the cup to Notts County …

Two games and two wins.

After the triumph against all the odds in Dorset, the Under 23s, or 21s or whatever they are restored pride to the club by battling back to beat our old friends and rivals from Nottingham in a pulsating thriller of a game at the Stadium of Light last night.

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Sixer’s Hartlepool Soapbox: a trophy name to relish, Notts County to come

Bradley: still time to support this event

At Facebook, Nick Barnes could barely contain his excitement at the commentary duties that lay ahead of him: ‘a beautiful evening for the carnival of football that is the Checkatrade Trophy’. Needless to say, our Pete Sixsmith was there too and, without getting too enthralled by the spectacle, quote enjoyed the rare sight of a Sunderland team winning a game …

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Isaac McGorian of Sunderland, Notts County and Carlisle: a tribute revisited

Isaac McGorian in 1939: captain, front row with ball between his knees, of Griqualand West Team in Kimberley vs England

The story of Isaac Moore (“Ike”) McGorian, who played for Sunderland AFC in the 1920s, first appeared here earlier this month under the headline Isaac ‘Jack’ McGorian: echoes of Bardsley from the Roaring Twenties

Salut! Sunderland’s article drew a heartwarming response from members of his family, who also provided the photographs and much of the detail that enabled me to prepare it. Bill Richardson, a Sunderland supporter long exiled in Africa, was the spur: his comment on an e-mail forum had set the ball rolling.

But Bill also has something to answer for: what bemused his colleague, Lilian Martin, the player’s younger daughter, about my report was the use of Jack as her father’s nickname. He had never been known as such, she said. A daughter, you may well say, ought to know.

Indeed, the reference book mentioned in my report confirms this, giving the name as Isaac Moore (“Ike”) McGorian. his later career included stints at Notts County – whose supporters might find this item on Les Bradd of interest, too – and Carlisle United (their fans will most certainly wish to avoid this story).

So this is an attempt both to set the record straight and bring to wider attention the responses received to the original posting, which now follows …

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Luke’s World: bring on Liverpool and Newcastle. I can’t wait

Luke Harvey, another of our regular writers, offers a hardcore enthusiast’s welcome to the return – gormless rioters permitting – of the football season …

You’ll have heard the rumours: football is back.

It doesn’t feel like very long since the season ended. For Manchester United fans I’m sure the defeat at the hands of Barcelona is still providing a dull ache somewhere within, despite the FA Community Shield victory over Man City.

But the football league is definitely back, and it will surely provide the thrills and spills as well as plenty of other assorted clichés along the way.

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Notts County Soapbox: Pies poison us

37 years on from a tight draw at Meadow Lane, Sunderland show that they have learned nothing from the past and turn in a display that has Pete Sixsmith shaking his head in wonderment at such an embarrassing performance


So, the idea of symmetry with the teaching career goes out of the bloody window at the first stage.

What an absolutely shocking performance our players turned in yesterday. I won’t use the word “team” in this, because we played nothing like one. It was a collection of individuals pretending to be a unified group in red and white stripes, nothing more.

Our opponents, a decent third level team, stuck to their task well. They were organised, efficient and well drilled. This proved to be far too much for the assembled red and white superstars, who played as if they were up against some wonder team from the upper echelons of La Liga rather than a mid table Division One team.

As I drove across an empty Wearmouth Bridge towards an empty Stadium of Light, I heard the line up and thought, “Hmm, one or two will be keen to show the manager and the assembled fans that they are good enough to play regularly. This makes me look forward to an afternoon of high tempo football and lots of goals whizzing past the Pies goalkeeper”.

How wrong could I be? Quite a lot as it happened. Our “squad” players made it clear that the only squad that applied to them was one they should be stood in front of.

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