Another international weekend with Sunderland players called up. You might wonder how, given that we’re a League One club and we can barely score, never mind keep a clean sheet. But let’s be thankful for small mercies, not only does it give the players a weekend without conceding, it also gives me a chance to bring us up to date before Pete Sixsmith starts a new series (I won’t tell you what it is but I will assure you of its quality) that will take us to Christmas and the site’s wind-down.
For my part, I’ll be keeping things brief. I still have neuropathy following my treatment (follow the link to find out what I’m on about) and it’s likely to last a lot longer. Typing isn’t easy and creating and manipulating graphs takes forever, which explains why this lot aren’t a uniform size.
Still, things could be worse, I’ve now had two all-clear blood tests and we are still within spitting distance of the playoffs, as you will see below:
NB: our technical problems have not been completely fixed. Readers cannot post comments. We are working on this.
In the meantime, you can always have your say on anything that appears here, or for that matter any SAFC topics which do not, at Salut! Sunderland’s Facebook group. Click on any of the preceding four words. If you are told that you need to join the group, you can do so easily. Approval is very quick.
John McCormick writes: Pete Sixsmith isn’t travelling beyond The Wash, or the M62, or something like that. So tonight’s seven word summary arrives courtesy of me until someone who was there forwards their opinion, and while we’re on the subject of forwards what do you think of our penalty takers?
Our illustrator Jake offered this answer to John’s question in the form of an alternative seven-word verdict: ‘Penalty. Grigg blazes over. Is anyone surprised?’ </strong >
The EFL Round of 16. We’re in it and can make the quarter finals by winning, away yet again, on Tuesday night, says Monsieur Salut.
Salut! Sunderland wants to know how you think we’ll fare at Oxford United, having previously beaten Premier League opponents Burnley and Sheffield United on their grounds. But we still cannot publish comments.
John McCormick writes: I was surprised at that line-up and wonder how much it had to do with match fitness. Whatever the reason, the performance in the first half will have given Jack Ross some food for thought. Still, a point is better than nowt, as my granny never said. But myself, Pete Sixsmith, who was at the match whereas I wasn’t, and Jake all have the same dread thought. “is that single point a harbinger of another long grind and an unforgiving season?”
We’ll have a better idea after tomorrow, when Pete has had time to compose a more considered opinion. For now you’ll have to do with the seven word text he sent winging over flood-threatened valleys and a forlorn Bury in order to brighten your evening:
Well that went down well. Our cheeky attempt to draw some thoughts from Oxford United supporters ahead of Saturday’s opening League One game at the Stadium of Light, fell on deaf ears.
Charlie Methven, Sunderland executive director but also a fervent Oxford United fan, has spoken on these pages of the passion his fellow supporters feel for their club. So we will give it one more try. If you support Oxford and feel like answering one or more of the questions below, just post a comment and specify the number/s of the question/s (one to seven) to which you are responding …
Thank you @SunderlandAFC for everything, it has been nothing but a great adventure.
— Bryan Oviedo (@Bryan_Oviedo) July 29, 2019
The goals we wanted finally came – and no fans were there to witness them, says Monsieur Salut. Our new striker Marc McNulty grabbed a confidence-boosting hat-trick and one apiece from Aiden McGeady and Chris Maguire gave Sunderland a 5-2 win over Hartlepool.
I could find no trace of this on the club site – the game was played in private (behind closed doors seems a daft phrase when applied to the Academy of Light) – but you’ll find a brief account at the Sunderland Echo site.
And now – while bidding farewell to Bryan Oviedo, off the payroll with a move to the Danish top-flight side FC Copenhagen (he goes with our thanks and good wishes, reciprocated above) – on to the real business. Tell us how you think SAFC will fare in Saturday’s League One opener against Oxford United.
It began more than 11 years ago as Who are They? and evolved quickly into Who are You?, Salut Sunderland‘s series of interviews with fans of each of Sunderland’s opposing clubs. We’ve had the famous and the not-so-famous, creating a rich archive of often quite outstanding features. There have been few gaps and those that have occurred did so mostly because supporters who promised to answer our questions failed in the end, for whatever reasons, to deliver.
All good things come to an end, however. The business of finding willing fans, pinning them down and getting the interviews published can be complicated and is usually time-consuming. The resulting readership figures do not always justify our efforts or those of the interviewees.
We shall start this season with a rough-and-ready replacement. A shorter list of questions will be posted here before each game and the fans of each club due to face Sunderland will be invited to answer.
If the idea works, we will maintain the annual HAWAY (Highly Articulated Who Are You?) awards for the best sets of answers. If it doesn’t, it will be quietly dropped. Salut! Sunderland thanks the army of opposition fans who made the series something of which we and they can be reasonably proud.
And here are the questions for Oxford United fans. Don’t worry if your responses fail to appear as soon as sent; an anti-spam device means comments submitted by visitors who have not done so in the past are held briefly for moderation …
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.
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.
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.