Sixer’s Southend Sevens. The world is just a great big O’Nien

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In the meantime, you can always have your say on anything that appears here, or for that matter any SAFC topics which do not, at Salut! Sunderland’s Facebook group. Click on any of the preceding four words. If you are told that you need to join the group, you can do so easily. Approval is very quick.

We’ve often enough fallen foul of  clubs who have made recent changes, so it came as non surprise that we struggled against Southend. But we won, which keeps us in the running. Pete Sixsmith ‘s seven word text, immediately on the final whistle, tells us what makes the difference between a team on the edge of an abyss and one that just might, at some indeterminate point in the future, get into the playoffs:

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What Sixer made of Southend United: a repeat of last season’s 3-0 would do nicely

                               Sixer by Jake

Monsieur Salut writes:
it is now fairly well known that Pete Sixsmith‘s wonderful twin series at Salut! Sunderland – the First Time Ever I Saw Your Team (or Ground when  Sunderland were the away team) – ran its sublime course at the end of last season. From time to time while we are still in League One, and maybe beyond, we will reproduce the pieces he wrote about our next opponents.

As ever, bear in mind that this was written a year ago, just before we recorded a fourth win a row, beating Southend United 3-0 to keep up pressure on the top place. This time, we nee a similarly emphatic scoreline to restore a fair amount of diminishing faith. Let Pete’s restored gem from October last year set the scene …

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Sunderland vs Southend: most Black Cats eat shrimps but are Shrimpers edible?

Jake: ‘time for a Will Grigg hat trick?’

NB: our technical problems have not been completely fixed. Readers cannot post comments. We are working on this.

In the meantime, you can always have your say on anything that appears here, or for that matter any SAFC topics which do not, at Salut! Sunderland’s Facebook group. Click on any of the preceding four words. If you are told that you need to join the group, you can do so easily. Approval is very quick.

Even after three shameful away defeats
, not counting our league cup exit at Oxford United after Will Grigg and Marc McNulty flopped in the penalty shootout at Oxford, Sunderland would be most people’s tip to beat Southend this Saturday in some style, writes Monsieur Salut.

Despite recent form, patchy at best, SAFC are just outside the playoff zone at eighth. The Shrimpers (or Seasiders or Blues, according to taste) , with Sol Campbell newly installed as manager, are second bottom and would be bottom if it were not for Bolton’s point deduction. Our goal difference may be a thoroughly unimpressive +5 but their is -27.

There is a but coming.

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Portsmouth then Sunderland, Ipswich, Rotherham, Peterborough and Coventry top our poll. But where are Lincoln?

On Friday we had over 3,000 visitors, followed by a quiet weekend. Not everyone took part in our top six poll  but over 1200 votes (not voters) have now been cast. That’s not bad, I suppose, for a League One fans’ site but I am expecting a few more will chip in before the season kicks off.

Early results suggest the headline I used then – for which I visited a couple of betting sites to find the promotion favourites – was on the right lines. Of the six clubs I named five are in the top spots. Lincoln (currently lingering in 8th place) are the exception with Sunderland, unsurprisingly, replacing them. There’s a gap – slight but quite evident – between the top three and the next three,  after which numbers drop off, so Lincoln and Doncaster, who made last season’s playoffs and now lie seventh, have quite a bit of ground to make up.

All of the clubs in the League received votes, which I’m taking to signify that we  managed a wide reach. It will be interesting to see if enough fans of so-called smaller clubs, which are predominantly towards the bottom of the poll, visit in large enough numbers to move their favourites upwards. Crowdwise, numbers are against them but we have only small numbers voting so you never know.

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Ipswich or Portsmouth? Rotherham or Peterborough? How about Lincoln or Coventry? It’s your choice

Last season our punters got it more or less right and correctly predicted most of the top six. Luton were missed but that was mainly down to the Coventry Ninjas, whose hijack of last year’s poll pushed them (Luton) out of the top places.

Maybe the ninjas or another club’s fans will do the same again this season. As far as I’m aware the polldaddy vulnerability that allowed multiple voting still exists and all I can do is disable the ability of readers to see the results in real time. That might change how the poll coding works (it’s built-in and can’t be changed) but it takes something away. A pity, but there we go.

I’ve got a lot on for the next few weeks so I won’t be conjuring up a novel method of tracking and displaying our chosen clubs’ progress or the lack of it. All I’ll be doing is monitoring the accretion of points for now, though I might come up with something different later in the season.

As always, your comments are welcome. We hold posts for moderation but they do go up eventually, subject to meeting commonsense rules of decency, manners, libel etc.

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The Salut! Sunderland Haway awards: Peterborough, Wycombe, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers in the running

Jake: ‘thanks to all who participate’. Click this image to see all of this season’s interviews

It has become
a bit of a stuck old gramophone record, Salut! Sunderland‘s pride in a tremendous season of Who are You? interviews with opposing supporters.

Judging is at an advanced stage for our HAWAYs – annual awards for Highly Articulate Who are You?s – and with only a couple of sets of votes still awaited, front-runners are emerging.

League One has been a goldmine for the series (not forgetting our cup-game interviewees from other divisions)

As Monsieur Salut put it when writing to the judges: “I could have put them all in a hat and drawn three at random, so good have so many of the interviews been.”

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Sixer’s Southend Soapbox: old grounds, new towns and penalties

Pete Sixsmith was planning a sporting Bank Holiday weekend, which is one reason why you’ve had to wait a little longer than normal to read his take on what was a disappointing end to our league campaign down on the Essex coast.

Friday was meant to be a stop off in Lincolnshire, where Durham were supposed to be playing in form Nottinghamshire in the One Day Cup but that game was abandoned without a ball being bowled, which was perhaps not a bad result for the visitors.

Then on Sunday he was due to break off his journey home in Northamptonshire, where Spennymoor Town were involved in a play off semi final of their own against Brackley Town, a game which finished 0-0 but the team from the North East ensured their involvement in the final by winning the penalty shoot out 5-4. Brackley wear red and white stripes but play at St James’ Park and Spennymoor’s first choice kit is black and white stripes, but their home ground is the Brewery Field. Knowing Pete’s sensitivities he would have had to put his emotions on the back burner to support a team in black and white stripes at St James’ Park, so The Moors obligingly wore yellow for this fixture. (Match report here.)

Sandwiched in between of course was a visit to Roots Hall where the regular season ended with a whimper. I wasn’t sure if Pete had gone to Headingly today, where Durham made a decent start against Yorkshire (though as I type Tim Bresnan has just taken a wicket) but it turns out it was Internet issues which delayed his report. But finally, he managed to get his views on Saturday’s game to us and though he pulls no punches, expect a balanced and accurate account of what went wrong.

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Sixer’s Sevens: Southend survive. Sunderland slump. Some season!

We’ve had our own last game celebrations and it would be churlish to deny Southend theirs today. In a game that lacked quality they deserved as much as Sunderland and on this showing they’ll have a  chance to repeat this feat next season.

Yet, I feel the team that started today won’t be the one Jack Ross puts out in our next game. At least, I hope not, because this was a shadow of what I saw on the opening day. Drive, passion, creativity all seem to have gone.

Pete Sixsmith has seven words to explain today. We might only need the first two:

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The First Time Ever I saw Your Ground: Southend United and Roots Hall.

There are people who go onto websites and blogs in order to vent their spleen, or give abuse from behind the anonymity of the internet. Not on this website. They come to experience quality.

I haven’t been keeping count but we’ve had two seasons, home and away, and various cups. I’d be surprised if this series comprised less than a hundred posts, and haven’t they been invariably good?

Take a bow, Pete Sixsmith, and a well-deserved rest as we bring your journey to a close.

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