Malcolm Dawson writes…..what with M Salut galavanting around the Orient and me having body parts and invasive extras removed in Sunderland Royal last week, it has fallen to John McCormick to keep the site ticking over and a stirling job he’s done too. But I’m home now and though the bulk of the post Palace postings may still have to fall his way, I’ve just got time to upload this piece from Rob Hutchison before Barnes and Benno keep me updated on events at Selhurst Park, showing that there are still some at the club, the manager included, who understand what a football club means to its supporters.
The London Branch celebrates its 50th year this year and as part of the celebrations, Martin Bain, David Moyes & Kevin Ball kindly accepted an invitation to a small invitation-only pre Palace social at the Southwark Brewery. Here’s the craic . . .
Around 80 well lubricated Branch members greeted the boys with open arms on the rainy Friday evening. Although there was no formal structure to the evening, they mingled and spoke freely to everyone for just over an hour. David Moyes cheerful persona came to the fore as he posted for photos and fed us titbits throughout the evening. Clearly disappointed Ulloa didn’t arrive, it seems the club did enquire about other targets although his opinion on the form of one of the targets (it’s been sh*te) showed how difficult he felt this window has been.
Martin Bain too mingled at length, as did Kevin Ball, who spent ten minutes eulogising with my daughter Olivia @livvhutchison about the steel and inner passion he feels may be lacking with some of the club’s playing staff in recent years.
“Who’s your favourite player?” Bally asked her ? She turned around to show the name Cattermole on the back of her shirt, which was a rather canny coincidence. “He’s not as good as me, (although he’s very good), and not as hard as me either” was the reply. Epic stuff.
He went on to recount how when the going got tough and the lads needed invigorating in games gone by, how he’d grab the odd player by the throat, kick someone up in the air or do anything to awaken them from any lethargy. God how we miss that this season.
The man still gets it all those years later and you can’t help but feel the passion he still has.In fact everyone felt it all evening, that reconnection with with the club feels like it’s coming back and irrespective of what happens this season at least there feels like there is a slow-burn plan again.
It’s never been easy supporting Sunderland, but every now and again it’s great to be reminded of the togetherness that’s created when people come together to share a pint and support the lads.
So it’s well done Olivia and Happy Birthday to the London branch. Don’t forget that we, too, are celebrating an auspicious anniversary. Only 10, nothing as impressive as a half-century, but still worth celebrating with a competition. Share your thoughts on any Sunderland-related topic, with 10 years being the theme, and you could win a miniature version of Nick Barnes’ Matchbook, courtesy of our friends at Tales from the Red & Whites, publishers of a series of books on SAFC. Follow the link for a chance to win.
Ian Todd, a lifelong Sunderland supporter who moved away for university and has spent his adult life in London, has graced these pages intermittently throughout Salut! Sunderland’s nine-year life. He is the man without whom the London and SE branch of the SAFC Supporters’ Association wouldn’t have been created, or at least not as early (1967) or successfully as it was. It was, until this season, unthinkable that he’d be absent from more than a handful of games. In fact, while he continues to attend home games and has already renewed his season ticket, his presence on Sunderland’s travels has become a rarity.
Here is how he explains his decision in the new edition of Wear Down South, the branch newsletter, with a footnote* from the Blackcats e-mail loop on why he gave the derby a miss. Taken together, it’s a mix of the reason you perhaps wouldn’t expect, and one you would …
FA Cup semi-finals weekend: we weren’t involved after our meek early exit. We now know Man City will be back at Wembley for the final, having beaten Man United. Bolton and Stoke battle it out – hardly the phrase now I’ve seen the 5-0 scoreline in City’s favour – today to decide who will be the pundits’ tip for losing finalists. We also have yet another Sunderland Premier defeat to try to forget, as we will in time. So while Pete Sixsmith sharpens his pen (and maybe knife) before delivering his Soapbox view on that one, let’s take another shameless dip into the archives, from the days when Salut! Sunderland had so few readers such postings were probably not seen at all. It did also appear in a matchday SAFC programme but if you missed it in either place, and have a soft spot for other people’s hard luck stories, read on. You’ll learn about a Big Match day out – our last appearance in an FA Cup semi-final, back in 2004 – that sticks nastily in the memory for some Sunderland supporters …
It is bad enough being dumped out of the FA Cup after reaching the semi-finals and a game against Millwall that we all expect to win.
But you know it’s not your day when you are then dumped in the mud near Derby – sorry, County fans, nothing personal about the location – on your way home.