As the World Cup looms, we remember why Sixer just loved Brazil 2014

Barry Emmerson: ‘Just delivered England’s No 1 goalie safely for last training before Russia. Brilliant lad, super confident, proud to know him and our other Jordan – superstars that have come through our Academy. Well done Ged McNamee & Kevin Ball’

The World Cup is almost upon us. Time will tell what Salut! Sunderland’s contributors will make of it. All offerings welcome. Pete Sixsmith always comes up with interesting aspects and at least we have a handful of players to keep our interest up: Jordan Pickford (pictured by his occasional driver, this site’s great friend and massive Sunderland supporter Barry Emmerson) will be there for England, as will the other Jordan, and we even have two not-quite-left-yet players, Wahbi Khazri (will he score for Tunisia against England?) and Costa Rica’s Bryan Oviedo making the trip to Russia.

Sixer wrote an outstanding series of World Cup memories when South Africa provided the setting in 2010. And he again wrote compellingly about his enjoyment of the 2014 event in Brazil. Here is another chance to see what impressed him so much …

Read moreAs the World Cup looms, we remember why Sixer just loved Brazil 2014

World Cup Soapbox: off we go and viva Paraguay

soapbox

For Pete Sixsmith, the first big one comes tonight with our boys – Paraguay (our boys, for latecomers, because they have Paula da Silva, Cristian Riveros AND red & white stripes) – expecting a comfy stroll against Italy. But the first weekend of the World Cup gave Pete plenty to enjoy, admire and deplore …

So, after a couple of weeks of looking back at previous World Cups, the 2010 tournament is up and running. First impressions are quite positive and I particularly enjoyed the sight of the huge dung beetle wandering across the stadium in Friday’s opening ceremony.

Read moreWorld Cup Soapbox: off we go and viva Paraguay

World Cup memories (10): around the world in 18 days

reggae girlz


Not really a break for Pete Sixsmith, whose series of World Cup reminiscences resumes tomorrow. But I also have reason to remember France 98. It was the year I feared I’d be keeping my head down in street battles, but ended up travelling the world …

Imagine you’ve been told at work that you’re going on a month of night shifts, and suddenly you’re given a paid holiday instead. Or that instead of representing your company at a winter conference in Skegness, the location has been switched to the Seychelles.

That was a bit like my France 98. I spent the first four months of the year or more expecting The Daily Telegraph to send me to report on hooliganism, especially any outbreaks involving England fans, or more accurately violent English criminals drawn to the location of football games. It would be an understatement to say I was not looking forward to it.

Read moreWorld Cup memories (10): around the world in 18 days

Soapbox on England: book a holiday now Darren

soapbox

Did anyone in the England camp actually want Darren Bent to go to South Africa? Do Rooney and Lampard have as much say as Fabio? Did Darren miss a sitter or just a half chance in a token appearance in which it was pre-ordained that he’d barely see the ball? Pete Sixsmith wonders …

I watched the first half of the England game today. I was hoping to see a sparkling performance from Darren which would ensure that he would be joining Lampard, Gerard, Cole and Terry on that flight to South Africa.

Read moreSoapbox on England: book a holiday now Darren

World Cup: support England, Paraguay and the Global Football Monitor

Salut! Sunderland is resolutely club before country. But it will not avoid being caught up in the excitement of the World Cup in South Africa.

Read moreWorld Cup: support England, Paraguay and the Global Football Monitor