Monsieur Salut writes: Billy Grant* talks about his beloved Brentford the way we all wish we could talk about our beloved Sunderland. They’re a joy to watch, he says, and he really does believe they’re on the point of walloping someone (to be fair, he didn’t actually say it would necessarily be us, but given the sorry state of our confidence … ).
I have a soft spot for the Bees since I live only a mile away from Griffin Park when not in France and my younger daughter’s first senior game was for their ladies’ team. I see huge posters for the club on the back of local buses. At least one neighbour gets to most home games.
Read on for another fine, authoritative interview from another fine supporter of proper football. Saw our decline a mile off, considers Terry Butcher maybe the worst manager he’s seen, says Sunderland away is Brentford’s ‘big game’. Brentford away, meanwhile, offers a great awayday/away-weekend and if you are among those likely to be there (I get home from France two days too late) you can follow the links below to see where friendly pubs, plenty of them, are located …
Steve Colwell, a beer buff who runs the website beer.meister.co.uk, supped at our table just before the first game, which was won by us 3-2 at Loftus Road, and has since become a welcome fixture at the Salut! Sunderland Facebook group. He likes the craic there, and he likes us. But he wants a result on Saturday – and could hardly be in better spirits after last night’s comeback to beat Liverpool…
Where does the Rangers passion come from?
At Loftus Road, it’s the atmosphere for passionate matches, away, it’s the meeting mates from the QPR diaspora you haven’t seen for a while, personally, I fell in love with the Rs when I saw the team that included Rodney Marsh, great football played then.
Ever been tempted by “big” clubs or are you just biding your time for Rangers to become one?
Haha, we are big! OK, not as big as some, but, when I lived in Sheffield (nearly 16 years) I was asked once, ‘Why don’t you support either the Blades or Owls?’ I said, I’ve supported QPR since 1970… No further explanation required.
Name one high and one low of supporting QPR.
High, in the 1970s, was winning at Leeds, Gerry Francis’s goal the difference. The low was trying to get back to the station alive!
Greater Rangers hero: Stan Bowles or Rodney Marsh?
I’m a Bowles supporter with this debate. Both very skilful players, but I believe Bowles was more of a team player, and he had Francis to play off too!
And is Anton Ferdinand a hero in the making?
A Mackem pal of mine (she’s female) loves Anton and now, sort of, follows us. He started off well, the business with Terry appeared to effect his form for a while, but he seems to be getting it back now. Hopefully a hero in the making, yep.
A Rangers blog described us as “limited” when we beat you in the Loftus Road game. What did you think?
I think we didn’t deserve to lose, and I think you’ve vastly improved under O’Neill. Probably then, yes, but not anymore.
Since answering our questions before that game, you’ve become a fixture at Salut! Sunderland‘s Facebook group. Is a northward change of allegiance looming?
Ooh! Yes, I like the group, good banter and chat, I’ll just say you’re my ‘northern team’, LOL.
Whatever you answer to that, do you wish you had Martin O’Neill instead of Mark Hughes?
I’d lie if I said ‘no’.
Have you changed your mind on who will finish top four, in order, this season, and who will go down?
I won’t look back at any earlier predictions, top four has to be the two Manc teams, Arsenal, probably Spurs. Down… sounds like a cliche, but definitely Wigan and Wolves, and one of the other three, hopefully not us.
And if not mentioned, where will each of our clubs finish?
Us? Somewhere between 16th and 18th. You? 8th?
Which form of cheating in football most annoys you and who is the worst culprit?
Winding up opposition players with racist, homophobic or other personal comments. Have to say John Terry, you’ll understand why (I think we need an ‘alleged’ or ‘allegedly’ in there somewhere – ed!).
Club versus country: which comes first and why?
Always club. Some dodgy people follow England, can’t go along with their political opinions (eg attacking Irish fans in Dublin). Why? They attacked Irish people, I’m half Irish. Other reasons too, but I’ll not pad it out anymore.
Will you be at our game? If not how will you keep tabs? And what will be the score?
I’ve been to Sunderland a couple of times in the past, sadly not this time. I’ll watch on the internet. Score? 2-2 draw, Anton heading in the equaliser in the 82nd minute. Cheers, and have a great season (after Saturday).
* Visit Steve’s site at http://www.beer-meister.co.uk/
Interview: Colin Randall