A chance for Sunderland fans to have their say on naming the Stadium of Light stands

We’ve chosen one of Jake’s generic Salut! Sunderland images as this is a democratic effort

Monsieur Salut writes: we’re all hoping the football from Jack Ross’s new-look Sunderland side will generate an electric atmosphere for today’s opening game against Charlton Athletic. But would you feel better if you were sitting in a stand named after a SAFC hero rather than the geographically sound but dull East, West, North and South? Have your say here …
[polldaddy poll=10070350]

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Sixer, Stan Anderson and er.. ..some others

Pete Sixsmith

John McCormick writes: events down here have conspired to keep me apart from all things North-Eastern – I even missed a family reunion that my sister reckons will be hard to beat, and that’s after some doozies.

Luckily, Pete Sixsmith chips in with an update every now and again and allows me to gain a glimpse of what’s going on. Where would us exiles be without him, and what will we do when he takes his impending break?

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Club of 92: Manchester rambler acclaims Pickford, Defoe, Victor and the SoL

Shaun Best: ‘out of the dark’

NB: what follows is a light-hearted read on what is otherwise a grim day for football. Salut! Sunderland declares its sympathy for all those killed in or bereaved by the Colombian air crash, whose victims include players and officials of the Brazilian top flight club ACF, or Associação Chapecoense de Futebol. As a Manchester Utd supporter, our guest writer will be well aware of his own club’s association with aviation disaster.

There are train spotters, bird twitchers and philatelists. And then there’s the Club of 72, whose members collect football stadiums, not to dismantle and take home but to visit. As Shaun Best – already familiar with the 72 Football League grounds – prepared to tick Sunderland off his to-do list, he was wondering who would be the manager by the time got there. We were winless and seemingly broken beyond repair. Then a funny thing happened: we won a game. Let Shaun take up the story of his newest collector’s item, the Stadium of Light …

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Clare’s quest: does this lost treasure ring a Sunderland or Norwich bell?

With this ring I thee search
With this ring I thee search

After the great Scottish referendum debate inspired by Birflatt Boy and drawing in a couple of thousand new readers, the next item for posting needed to be a golden. Here is it …

An unusual request
suddenly popped up at the Facebook group of Salut! Sunderland.

Back in February 2012, Clare Owen found the wedding ring you see above outside the Stadium of Light after SAFC thumped Norwich City 3-0 to roar to an unlikely eighth top under Martin O’Neill.

Not the easiest of things to lose, you may feel, unless it was very loose fitting in the first place or the wearer’s finger had suddenly lost a lot of weight. But lost it was.

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Changing places: Newcastle and other away fans (plus their prison cells)

Go to jailShayne Kaye

So you didn’t know the Stadium of Light had a secondary role as part of HM Prison Service? Read on …

From the Sunderland Echo‘s Graeme Anderson comes as welcome a spot of news as we’ve seen since, well, Danny Welbeck returned from injury.

Sunderland, he says, are considering how to move away fans to a different part of the Stadium of Light than the large, usually too large, section of the South stand they are currently allocated.

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OK, so let’s help Niall get the crowds flocking back

Niall Quinn made plenty of sensible points in his lament to the Sunderland Echo about the disappointing size of attendances at the Stadium of Light.

The season’s average so far is 38,342 which is 2,000 down on last season even though the quality of football is much higher, the squad stronger and hope at its highest level for 10 years.

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World Cup: Saffron, Republica and Sunderland

republica 2

David Jaymes, who occasionally sends information in my direction for use at Salut! Sunderland’s folk and roots music offshoot, Salut! Live, may well be unaware that Ready To Go and Republica – whom he manages (he is not, as I suggested when first posting, their publicist) – are inseparable from the recent history of Sunderland.

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Salut! History (1): a jewel from bleaker times

colin irwin

Colin Irwin is best known as a music writer, with a passion he shares with Salut! Sunderland, folk music. But in 2006, he brought out a smashing book,
Sing When You’re Winning, based on travels into the heartlands of football. They were grim times when his odyssey reached Sunderland. We were on our way down and visiting the Stadium of Light brought to mind “an official observation of the last rites”. It’s a treat to see how well he managed to make it sound the great place it is …

I can’t think ill of Sunderland, who are the only Premiership club to respond to my plea for information, encouragement, tickets and dusky handmaidens when I am researching this book. They return phone calls, e-mails and cinvivial banter and furnish me with a press pass for their local derby with Middlesbrough.

The days of Roker Park are long gone since Sunderland moved into this gorgeous space age stadium on the outskirts of town, so close to the Wear that you fear it may topple in and get us all wet.

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Who are you? We’re Aston Villa (3), lurking in Sunderland


Long ago – long even before this photo* was taken in 1995 – I had a colleague who suddenly ended his lifelong support for Villa. They’d given him quite enough grief, ruined far too many Saturdays. No more. He’d even stopped looking too hard for the scores, and felt tons happier. Somehow can’t see that happening to Gary
**, the last in our procession of Villa fans. He lives minutes from the Stadium of Light and was until recently chairman of the Villa supporters’ club branch in the North East. Read on to see why we should hope he gets to Villa Park tomorrow night …

You’re having the sort of season we’d love: one final already, another maybe to come and still pressing for top four. I bet you’ll tell me you’re not satisfied!

I’m very very satisfied. It’s difficult to argue that a cup final, the possibility of another cup final and being in the mix for the 4th place Holy Grail is not a very successful season so far. If I have to make a prediction, I think we’ll lose to Chelsea in the FA Cup semi final and finish 6th in the league behind Spurs and Liverpool. The immediate aftermath to that will be a huge feeling of anti-climax amongst the majority of the Villa faithful. “Faithful” is probably a poor term though. I’ve noticed grumblings in recent weeks that intimate to me a feeling of entitlement amongst some Villa fans. I’m more pragmatic, although living 200 miles from Villa Park probably allows me to see a bit more of the “woods for the trees”.

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Another evil of corporate football, or just a fuss about a name?

Are the suits intent on chipping away at the soul of football until nothing’s left, as I suggested elsewhere in response to SAFC’s new Big Idea, hawking the name of the Stadium of Light? Or does it not matter a jot what the place is called as long as we are given something to appreciate once inside? Colin Randall thought he was sure of the answer …


So there I was, driving through France and feeling happy with life. I’ve just about persuaded myself (perhaps prematurely) that we’re not going down. I love France and shouted as much when I saw the first road sign – Aix-en-Provence/Toulon/Nice – that told me I was on the last leg (Toulon being little more than a Jonny Wilkinson drop kick from where I live).

Then came a succession of noises from the mobile, enough to give me the idea there might be a hot new debate on the Blackcats e-mail loop.

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