Pete Sixsmith‘s instant seven-word verdicts on Sunderland games are part of the staple diet of Salut! Sunderland. If he is not present, the supersub’s snap judgement is preceded by an asterisk. Tonight, he was indeed present as George Honeyman gave us an early lead, Grabban and Vaughan missed good chances to extend it and after conceding a seemingly inevitable equaliser (David Jones’s top quality 25-yard strike described by Sixer as ‘an absolute worldie‘), we ended up fighting a desperate but ultimately successful battle to hang on for a point …
Mr Sixsmith – Pete or Sixer to most – has sternly corrected Monsieur Salut. The series is not to be passed off as The First Time Ever I Saw Your Team regardless of context; it’s Ground if we’re playing them away, Team if it’s at the Stadium of Light. So this latest edition is TFTEISYG and emphatically not TFTEISYT. Fine writers, eh? So precious.
But Sixer can be excused all preciousness. This is a wonderful series that cries out for a proper publisher (anyone listening out there?). And once aain he packs history, humour and personal reminiscence to come up with a winner …
Dave Briggs* is a Sheffield Wednesday fan who has seen good times, wretched times and better times. The good times presumably included seven years deejaying in Greece.
Last season’s playoff final defeat was a bitter disappointment but he relished the challenge for promotion after so much underachievement in recent years. Dave thinks we may need to be patient, too, and should not be too downbeat if we cannot make the top six at the first attempt. And he rather likes the three Owls players – Steven Fletcher, Keiren Westwood and Ross Wallace – with SAFC connections …
Pete Sixsmith had a long trek home from East Anglia yesterday. I bet the fish and chips tasted especially good at Wetherby after a fine 3-1 win. We’ll doubtless hear from him some time day – his report of the match, and his travels leading up to it, is eagerly awaited. In the meantime, start thinking about Wednesday and Wednesday, the third league match of the season …
Matches come thick and fast when you drop to the Championship and we already have three winners of Guess the Score waiting patiently for their prize mugs. Since Paul Devinbe (1-1 vs Derby), Phil Davison (1-0 to Bury and Eric Bowers (3-1 vs Norwich) are regulars on the podium, they’ll know Monsieur Salut can sometimes be slow to get round to having the prizes shipped out.
Don’t let my tardiness put you off telling us how the Lads will get on at Hillsborough after a promising start under Simon Grayson.
As usual, the competition is open to all supporters, Sheffield Wednesday’s, ours and indeed neutrals. Be first to post the correct scoreline before kickoff and you will receive a mug (UK delivery only) with a design reflecting your allegiance.
The poll I set up a couple of weeks ago is still running and you’ll find it below, so you can still vote if you have a mind to. (If you’re new to the site and want to see what it’s about follow this link.)
At the time of writing we have had some 3,818 votes cast, with Middlesbrough leading the pack. Sunderland crept up a couple of places and edged Norwich out of the top six by two votes. Given this is a Sunderland fans’ site we could be expected to do well so I’m taking that as a vote of confidence in Norwich. I’m a little surprised by Fulham, who have exceeded my expectations, and by Derby and Reading, who haven’t done as well as expected and at the moment aren’t going to make the cut.
“What cut?” You may be thinking. Well, read on, and all will be revealed
Should I be disappointed? Not with the goings-on at the offices and by the officers of Sunderland Football Club but with the response to my “who’ll be the top six” poll. In 2015 our “who’s going down” poll had over 7,000 votes cast, last year we had over 2,500.
This year it wasn’t until events at the club brought in new readers that we got past 1,000 votes. To date we have had perhaps 200-300 readers bothering to take part. What’s more, whereas in the past we have had interesting and entertaining comments from fans from other clubs this year we had had nothing. Is this what the championship’s like? Or is it the Ellis Short effect? I don’t know.
I was away last week and didn’t log on much, on account of having a temperamental handheld device (a tip – don’t drop your computer onto a tiled surface) and iffy connections courtesy of a not-so-local bar.
But log on I did, twice.
The first time, it was to find three quarters of our readers thought our chances of immediate promotion were scuppered.
On my second log-in Colin’s poll had closed and the number had dropped to 70%. That’s still quite a damning figure.
Me, I’m not so pessimistic.
Following the relegation of Sheffield Wednesday, and the club’s decision not to retain him, Mickey Gray has ended his playing career. He retires from the game with our appreciation and best wishes …
Mickey Gray served his own club of birthright and choice, Sunderland, extremely well.