Salut! Sunderland would much rather people visiting the site arrived on the landing page to see this fetching Mini and not the growling caricature of Mr W Rooney, or for that matter the growls of hypersensitive Arsenal supporters for whom the slightest criticism of their (rightly) acclaimed team is on a par with serious crime.
Before that spat began, pride of place on the home page was occupied by an interview with Phil Cronin, chief executive of Tombola (the company prefers it as tombola), Sunderland AFC’s main sponsors.
Phil is Sunderland-born and, despite his own modesty about his credentials as a fan, a massive supporter of the club. He now gives that support a more tangible aspect, the results of which can be seen most obviously in the logo on the playing strip.
In this exclusive interview – Phil rarely steps into the limelight – he tells us about the car, and its somewhat perilous former parking habits, and about the highs and lows of being a supporter. He was at Man City on Sunday but still feels we are on the right track and, in some parting words when sending the replies to our questions, said something along the lines of “fingers crossed for three points at the weekend.”, a thought we all nervously echo.
Phil also deals with T(t)ombola’s solid Sunderland links which may help persuade doubters that his company name has every right to be on a Sunderland shirt. In a phone call after the replies had been sent, he said the firm employs 150 people, most of them in Sunderland.
Here, for those who missed it the first time around (and it did reach a decent position in the newsnow.co.uk top 20 for Sunderland-related postings), are Phil’s responses in full ….