Salut! whimsy: talking tee shirts, cats and magpies

Malcolm Dawson writes…… claims in a recently published book by football agent Jon Smith, only add weight to my belief that not only is Salut! Sunderland monitored by Sunderland AFC to find out just what the thinking fan is thinking, but is also the go to site for the players themselves (though maybe not ex players like Jozy Altidore or Danny Graham). The author claims that last season the Sunderland squad wanted to have special tee shirts printed up showing a black cat mauling a magpie. The club denies the suggestion was ever seriously considered and I can well believe that it was proposed in a light hearted way by one of the more fun loving, combative members of the squad after seeing some of our graphic maestro Jake’s illustrations. Jake’s contributions are most welcome and the site just wouldn’t be the same without him.

Take these examples for instance, following our wins at the ground that we stopped calling Sid James Park and renamed the 03 Arena.

Jake: 'no live Magpies were hurt in the making of this image'
Jake: ‘no live Magpies were hurt in the making of this image’
Jake is the Sunderland fan exiled in Spain who provides the vast majority of illustrations we use on the site. Either of these might have been passed around the Academy of Light and it doesn’t take a great leap of imagination to picture the Lads after training having a laugh and using them as inspiration for their upcoming derby battle last season which we won – by 3-0 for a change.

Jake: black and white bird 0 Black Cat 3
Jake: black and white bird 0 Black Cat 3

Tee shirt controversy is nothing new.

There are still Sunderland fans who can never forgive Lee Clark for wearing one which bore a Geordie phrase seen as insulting by Wearsiders. Personally I couldn’t get worked up about that. As I saw it, at that time he was at Wembley supporting the team he had followed as a lad with a few of his mates and they would have treated it as a laugh to get him to wear it. I know plenty will disagree with me – but he never let us down where it mattered, on the pitch wearing a shirt with the Sunderland badge on it.

Lee Trundle, when playing at Wembley, removed his shirt to reveal a tee shirt with a cartoon image of a semi naked man in a Swansea top taking a leak (note not a leek) on a Cardiff City shirt. Trundle was later arrested for public order offences after his post match celebrations.
safcnufc
Not quite in the same league but both former Sunderland star Kieran Richardson and current squad member Steven Pienaar have demonstrated their faith in Jesus through the medium of underwear.

But just to show that sometimes things are more important than tribal rivalries, Jake came up with this image on the right.

Finally another image that tickled me, though Jake informs me that it isn’t one of his.

Salut! Sunderland commemorates another victory over our friends up the road
Salut! Sunderland commemorates another victory over our friends up the road

* Voting has begun in The Football Blogging Awards. Salut! Sunderland will not get even close to winning but we have been invited to enter. If you feel like casting a vote in our favour, the obvious category is Best Football Club Blog and you can support us at http://www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk/about/vote-now-football-blogging-awards/

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*

Sunderland season reviews (1): the rocky road to survival

John McCormick:
John McCormick
looking forward to next season

It’s time again for Salut! Sunderland writers, regular or occasional, to look back on a season that carried the now customary threat of relegation before bursting into life with another of our extraordinary late escapes. The reviews will appear pretty much in the order they are received – feel free to have a go if there’s something pressing on your mind – and end with the thoughts of our indefatigable chronicler Pete Sixsmith. Accordingly, we start with associate editor John McCormick

Read moreSunderland season reviews (1): the rocky road to survival

SA’s Everton essay: fantastic (with things to sing when you’re winnin’)

Jake's take on Big Sam
Jake’s take on Big Sam

John McCormick writes: Petula’s singing quietly in the background as I finish my beer. I’ll shortly be going to bed, where I’ll hum “I believe” until, at midnight, Radio 4 lets the sound of Big Ben ring out with: Jer-main-De-foe, Jou-nas-Ka-boul; Kha-zri-Ko-ne, Ca-at-er-mole.

Tomorrow, I’ll wake up to Oklahoma’s “Oh what a beautiful morning”, which will be followed by Louis Armstrong and “it’s a wonderful world” but, really, I’ll be waiting for Stevie Wonder and “Overjoyed”, which will accompany Pete Sixsmith’s report.

But that’s tomorrow. Before then, after Petula finishes and before Big Ben begins, we have  “The Letter”:

Read moreSA’s Everton essay: fantastic (with things to sing when you’re winnin’)

Relegation watch: Villa, plus two from Newcastle, Norwich and Sunderland.

John McCormick:
John McCormick
Nervous? Aren’t we all

Another international weekend, another look at the bottom of the table. And, yes, we’re still there. In fact, looking at the numbers, it looks very much as if we’ll be there until the bitter end.

Read moreRelegation watch: Villa, plus two from Newcastle, Norwich and Sunderland.

Villa plus Sunderland, Newcastle or Norwich? Maybe Bournemouth or Swansea? But not Watford, in our relegation watch

 

relegation poll results after the close of the transfer windowRelegation poll results after the close of the summer transfer window
John McCormick:
John McCormick, popping in a quick one

 

By now you must be getting bored with the graph above on the left, especially as it has been less than a month, and only three games, since it was last posted up.

Read moreVilla plus Sunderland, Newcastle or Norwich? Maybe Bournemouth or Swansea? But not Watford, in our relegation watch

Villa, Sunderland, Newcastle? Norwich, Swansea or Bournemouth? Not Watford, and ha’way Leicester

John McCormick:
John McCormick: let’s drink to next season

John McCormick writes: there’s no Premier League football this weekend, so it’s another chance to take stock and update my “relegation watch” series. If you’re new to the series and want to see how it began, or if you want to refresh your memory, you can try this link)

By now regulars should be familiar with the first graph. It dates from the close of the summer transfer window and shows our readers’ choices for the relegation spots.  I’m putting it in once more so you can remind yourself how closely it resembles reality or, alternatively, so you can work out just what the clubs have to do to prove our readers right by the end of the season. If that’s too difficult you can jump to the end, where I’ve made it simple for you.

Read moreVilla, Sunderland, Newcastle? Norwich, Swansea or Bournemouth? Not Watford, and ha’way Leicester

Aston Villa, SAFC and Bournemouth bottom, Norwich and Newcastle nearby, Watford wobbling, Leicester laughing

John McCormick:
John McCormick: drowning his sorrows

John McCormick writes: It’s another international break, so another chance to take stock and update my “relegation watch” series. For some of the clubs at or near the bottom, it’s getting scary.

(If you’re new to the series and want to see how it began, or if you want to refresh your memory , you can try this link)

By now regular readers should be familiar with the first graph. It dates from the close of the transfer window and shows our readers’ choices for the relegation spots.  I’m putting it in (again) so you can see how closely it resembles reality or, alternatively, so you can work out just what the clubs have to do to prove our readers right by the end of the season.

 

Read moreAston Villa, SAFC and Bournemouth bottom, Norwich and Newcastle nearby, Watford wobbling, Leicester laughing

Six in a row, and I was there

John McCormick:

I had a ticket well in time but had to keep travel arrangements flexible right up to the weekend, which meant the car rather than the train, and a trip on my own on Saturday afternoon. After watching Forest Green see off Margate I headed north, pressing the search button on the radio to pick up sundry football channels as I made my way up the Ms 57, 58 and 6.

Read moreSix in a row, and I was there