Message to Rangers, Celtic and Scotland: keep your Wee Bit Hill and Glen British

Birflatt Boy adding weight to the argument
Birflatt Boy adding weight to the argument

Birflatt Boy emerges from his customary shadows to rue the possible departure of the Scots from the UK. Has Fletch let on as to where he stands? What do George Herd and Billy Hughes make of it all? We cannot honestly imagine Phil Bardsley having a view one way or the other. The headline reference to Celtic is naturally tongue-in-cheek with no intention of offending people who believe a big chunk of the west of Scotland is already a fifth province of Ireland …

The devolution debate and upcoming referendum on Scottish independence has got my mind racing.

By the end of next week we may be facing the prospect of a genuine border crossing as we head north. Who can say which way the vote is going to go. Alex Salmond claims that Scotland is on the brink of history. The same might have been said about all manner of eye-watering historical blunders too.

Read moreMessage to Rangers, Celtic and Scotland: keep your Wee Bit Hill and Glen British

When Scotland beat England and the Tartan Army liberated chunks of Wembley

Forever young. And forever shouting for Sunderland?
Forever young. And forever shouting for Sunderland?

England vs Scotland or Shildon vs Crook Town? Guess which Pete Sixsmith has chosen for tomorrow night’s entertainment and guess, too, which international game he feels moved to recall from long ago. And what a great excuse to parade Jake’s images of celeb Sunderland fans …

Read moreWhen Scotland beat England and the Tartan Army liberated chunks of Wembley

Salut! Reflections: Fletcher for Scotland, Bramble’s form and Villa’s Darren bloody Bent

Stephen Goldsmith ponders Fletcher, Bramble and Bent

Stephen Goldsmith writes: I can’t believe I’m about to venture into Darren Bent territory once more. Well actually, I can. He simply doesn’t make it easy for us Sunderland fans not to. There are two developments directly involving Sunderland to discuss on Salut! Reflections this week, with Darren Bent being another. Let’s get to it…

Read moreSalut! Reflections: Fletcher for Scotland, Bramble’s form and Villa’s Darren bloody Bent

Fraizer, England and fatherhood; Larsson, Sweden and goals; McClean, Ireland and romance

Jake captures the capped dad

SO it was quite a proud night all round for Sunderland players on international duty, and 79 was a magic number.

Read moreFraizer, England and fatherhood; Larsson, Sweden and goals; McClean, Ireland and romance

Craig Gordon for Scotland? Maybe first decide: Gordon for Sunderland?

Craig GordonImages: Addick-tedKevin

So according to the Telegraph, Craig Gordon is hoping to be involved at some stage of Scotland’s friendly with Brazil at the Emirates on Sunday. This appears to run counter to Steve Bruce’s insistence that he can play only in an emergency because SAFC are still trying to solve his tendinitis problems …

But more intriguing was this quote:

“I would not rule out playing for either club or country if needed. I don’t expect to play in the next few weeks for Sunderland, but if I am asked to I will.”

If you’re fit to play, you’re fit to play. Is Gordon saying it’s only a friendly. Or is he saying he thinks Simon Mignolet has edged ahead of him in the pecking order and would be Bruce’s first choice anyway, at least for now?

Read moreCraig Gordon for Scotland? Maybe first decide: Gordon for Sunderland?

Doing it for England: a good day for our Lads

Darren Bent, Danny Welbeck and Jordan Henderson are basking in international glory tonight after playing crucial parts in England victories …

Darren Bent off the mark for England and would have scored twice had Shaun Wright-Phillips not made a mess of an easy pass in front of goal. Not bad for a substitute, securing the 3-1 win in Switzerland after the home country had halved the lead established by Rooney and Johnson.

But it doesn’t end there.

Read moreDoing it for England: a good day for our Lads

1978, corned beef and dirty wars: World Cup memories (4)

Where to next? Don’t cry, it’s Argentina that Pete Sixsmith recalls for the fourth chapter of his World Cup book of memories. Another England-free tournament, more crushed Scottish hopes and a final that tore up the romantic script …

No England yet again as Don Revie’s flops failed to make it to Argentina. But Scotland did go and were, in the eyes of many of their fans, and their manager, Ally McCleod, outside bets to bring the trophy back to Glasgow.

Read more1978, corned beef and dirty wars: World Cup memories (4)

1974, Cruyff and Tito: World Cup memories (3)

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Pete Sixsmith‘s World Cup reminiscences reach 1974. It was a year the Scots made it to the finals and England didn’t, Johan Cruyff should have ended up in the winning side and didn’t and Marshal Tito would have made Pete’s day by turning out on the left wing for Yugoslavia, but also didn’t …

This was the first tournament where they played for the “new” World Cup, Brazil having won the right to keep the old one in in perpetuity (which translated as 13 years, the time it took for someone to steal it).

It was staged in the Federal Republic of Germany (West) and it came at the end of my teaching career at Broom Cottages Secondary Modern School as it was subsumed into Ferryhill Comprehensive School.

England didn’t make it to the finals, having been knocked out by a splendid Polish team. How these names roll of the tongue: Gregor Lato, Jerzy Gorgon, Kazimiersk Deyna, Robert Gadocha, Zbigniew Gut and Jan Tomaszewski.
They really were a good side and had had little trouble dumping a poor England team out of the qualifiers, sending Sir H’Alf to spend more time with his family.

Read more1974, Cruyff and Tito: World Cup memories (3)

SAFC 3 Birmingham 1: is Craig Gordon the new Monty?

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SEE ALSO: guess-who-was-our-star


In praise of a footballer who has had to triumph over doubt – and done so in style …

More years ago than Salut! Sunderland would willingly own up to to remembering, an away game took us to Huddersfield, where Sunderland won 3-0 in a game that began with a blitz on our goal.

The reason we weren’t left with an uphill struggle before scoring ourselves was simple: Jimmy Montgomery’s form that day was not so much outstanding as extraordinary.

Read moreSAFC 3 Birmingham 1: is Craig Gordon the new Monty?