Salut!’s week: Bolton couldn’t, but we’ve made a cup final

Mrs Logic

There must 50 ways to leave the reader in no doubt it has not been a good week. We’ve probably used them all. But let us all bounce back, get behind the Lads – again – and see how we feel at 5pm. In the meantime, here is another of our nervous backward glances at the stories you may have missed …

It can be tough keeping a promise to be upbeat. But there was one item that stood out a mile as an example of positive thinking. Click on the sub-heading to read each item, starting with a Pete Sixsmith special …

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Bardsley, Mignolet awards, Bolton away and a Salut! ceasefire

Phil Bardsley - Sunderland - Premier LeagueImage: addick-tedKevin

Since it has reached the stage where I can hardly bear to read anything to do with Sunderland AFC, I realise what it must be like for those coming here and feeling curiously forced to do so.

But no apologies whatsoever for returning briefly to action to congratulate Phil Bardsley on winning the Sunderland Supporters’ Association Player of the Year award and Simon Mignolet the young player equivalent.

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Player of the season: Phil Bardsley or Phil Bardsley?

Across at the official club site, it’s already that time of year.

Who, wants to know, do fans make their player of the season and young player of the season, and what were the goal, save and team performance of the season?

Voting closes on May 11 – which I hope does not mean no one will be trying to pull off the goal, save or team display of the season on May 14 against Wolves or at West ham on May 22 – and each vote is entered into a prize draw with a pair of tickets to the May 18 awards dinner at the Stadium of Light as the prize.

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Forget Ashley Cole, Patrice Evra and Dani Alves: meet Bardinho

Phil Bardsley - Sunderland - Premier LeagueAddick-tedKevin

There is a site called* that produces lists each year of the best full backs in the world.

The latest edition has Chelsea’s Ashley Cole and Manchester United’s (er, disgraced) French international Patrice Evra above the rest at left back and Dani Alves, Barcelona’s Brazilian defender, in top place at right back. Very honourable mentions for Sergio Ramos, Phillip Lahm and Maicon (Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan respectively).

All pale into shades of nothingness when compared to the scintillating new sensation that goes by various names: Phil Bardsley, Wee Shuggie McBardsley and now – with thanks to Jeremy Robson of this parish – Bardinho.

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Chelsea Soapbox: beaten but not humbled by Blues

In a model of even-handed match reporting, Pete Sixsmith praises what Sunderland did well, puts aside disappointment that we could not quite rise to the occasion and do better and salutes a powerful display by the Champions in general – one José Bosingwa da Silva excluded – and one man, Nicolas Anelka, in particular …

As games go, it was a good one. There was plenty of exciting and attacking football, some poor defending, controversial refereeing decisions and a sublime performance from one player. The pity was that we lost it.

These are the games where we measure our progress. Too many times in the past, we have come up against one of the very good sides at the top of the League and we have been rolled over. So, on that criterion, we have advanced. We were beaten, but Chelsea did not swamp us.

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Sixer’s Soapbox: Fat Lady (Man) Warbles at Newcastle

“Thank goodness that’s over” says Pete Sixsmith as we scrape a point against a far better Newcastle side. Talk of getting out of jail, fat ladies singing and clutching at straws dominate these observations on a bitterly disappointing derby performance. We need to do better next year !!!!

At 13:48, with the clock running down, I sent my Seven winging across the seas to M. Salut in Penang. “Once again found lacking when it mattered” were my words as we huffed and puffed against a side who were threatening to score a second, and take a deserved three points home with them.

For the umpteenth time we pushed forward with effort rather than skill. The ball dropped to Bardsley who whipped in a shot, Harper parried it and Asamoah Gyan poked it over the line to level the scores.

Wild celebrations from those around me; much jumping about and a feeling that we had not only got out of jail, but that we had kidnapped all the Prison Officers, burnt the place down and reformed the entire criminal justice system. The Fat Lady (or middle aged Man in this case) was singing his head off at this one. Games last for 90 minutes!!!

Quite frankly, we were awful. Whatever weaknesses we had seen against Blackpool and Notts. County were magnified 100x in this scrappy, bitty and, for us, ultimately disappointing derby.

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