John McCormick writes: outside the clouds have rolled in and the rain is sheeting down. It’s a grey day. Inside only the heating system is keeping the cold out. Normally an e-mail from Pete Sixsmith would mean a post bringing cheer and warmth, good feeling and heartiness. So the one that arrived but a few minutes ago was more than welcome.
Alas, some times it’s better to travel than to arrive:
John McCormick writes: for me, this piece by Pete Sixsmith brings back many memories. I was at Goodison when we lost, and at Spurs when Kirchhoff came on and a young keeper who would go on to play for England couldn’t hold back the tide. I saw us come back to snatch that point at Anfield as well. But the game that sticks out, of all the ones below, is one I never got to. The 1-0 win against the Mags. I was intending to go but stayed in Liverpool. My daughter gave birth that day, two weeks late. I have a print of Defoe’s goal ready to give to my granddaughter when she’s old enough to appreciate what she made me miss…
As Sunderland settle in the lowest position of our 140-year history, 13th in the third tier, Pete Sixsmith continues his ramblings through the snow in his daytime job and his rambling through his memory in his spare time. But when it comes to his writing does he ramble? No, most certainly not. He does, however, have a fondness for a ’conspicuous repetition of identical initial consonant sounds in successive or closely associated syllables within a group of words, even those spelled differently´ (thank you, Wikipedia). So be prepared for a stirring story, a heartwarming helping, an intelligent interlude, a… … let’s just let the man himself do the business.
John McCormick writes. Pete Sixsmith is still on Santa duty and mad busy. Even so he found the time to compose another epic piece. It’s better than the Labour manifesto or the Queen’s speech and more honest and compelling than anything from Boris.
And we aren’t even half way through Pete’s series, recalling the men in charge at SAFC during the time Salut! Sunderland has been on the interweb!
John McCormick writes: Jer posted this comment in response to Colin’s piece on Charlie Methven’s resignation as a director: ‘Stopped reading after the left wing diatribe. Keep your views on Brexit and politics out of football. Last I heard you don’t have to be a Remainer Labour lefty to follow Sunderland I live in a safe Labour seat’
Well, I live in a safe Labour seat in a pro-Remain city and I’m making what I think will be my 23rd hospital visit of the year on election day. I can’t think of anything worse than Boris returning to government. Perhaps people would like me not to say so, and perhaps they would like all of us to be, as Andy posted in in response to Bob Chapman’s report from Gillingham:
Very mellow and passionless at a critical time ..
Andy did continue … for the football club and its supporters. Why even bother? Hope you have a great holiday and the cat gets to keep the mouse next time.
If we were mellow and passionless we’d never have kept Salut! Sunderland going for 13 years and Pete Sixsmith would never haver formed opinions on the 13 managers we’ve had in that time, the fourth of which is Martin O’Neill.
John McCormick writes: Nine years ago years ago I was in Sunderland and wondering what the future held. In particular, what the next season would bring. All three of the North East’s teams were in the relegation mix. We had two games to play, at Portsmouth and the the last of the season against Chelsea – sitting in the top three after a long unbroken run of wins. The others had only one. ‘Boro couldn’t catch us (nor could WBA) but they could overtake Newcastle, who in their turn could overtake us. Hull, too, were below us, by only one point. The extra game gave us control of our destiny but if we didn’t win it and the last day’s results went against us we would go down.
Here’s what Pete Sixsmith had to say about it on 17th May 2009, the day before our game at Portsmouth, with M Salut providing the introduction. He titled the piece “Bordering on insanity”
Monsieur Salut looks at the case study in eccentric football management that is Watford FC – a rarity among clubs in making Sunderland look stable and serene – and wonders whether sacking Marco Silva and installing yet another new boss will make the slightest difference to their prospects …
Let us be cruelly blunt. It is not how football should be but no one outside Watford bothers too much which of the main English divisions – Premier, Championship or Leagues One/Two – they play in. Remember how little the rest of football truly savours a Wear-Tyne derby and multiply the couldn’t-care-less-factor by a dozen.
Monsieur Salut writes: Kathryn Townsley, our Hull City ‘Who are You?’ interviewee, talked here yesterday about all sorts of matters affecting her club and ours. Hers was such an interesting and detailed interview that I decided to divide it into two parts. Today, Kathryn – who chairs the Hull City Official Supporters’ Club (I still cannot bring myself to call someone a chair), – reminisces movingly on four trips to Wembley. …
What does Bobby Gurney have in common with Tony Adams, Jimmy Armfield, Billy Liddell, Matt Le Tissier, Sam Bartram, Packie Bonner, Jamie Carragher and Jack Charlton? All were one-club players, each clocking up hundreds of games without ever leaving for bigger, better, richer or more fashionable teams.
Silksworth-born and starting at Bishop Auckland, Gurney scored 228 goals in league and cup, the highest tally in Sunderland’s history, in 390 games for what was his only professional club in a career stretching from 1926 to 1944. See Stat Cat site for all the fascinating detail.
Will we ever see his like, their likes, again in an age when players and managers seem to regard clubs as mere stepping stones and football owners, in common with most employers, give the impression they would struggle to spell loyalty let alone demonstrate it?
Just when you thought being bottom of the Championship made you safe from such things, along comes a website that actually calls itself DirtyPlayers.co.uk and calls into question our fond collective belief that in Lee Cattermole, Sunderland have the most cultured, gentlest and fairest of players without thought of tripping, crunching, nudging or pulling back opponents.