Vergini: adiós amigo. Forgive us for remembering that goal for Southampton

Not being part of Dick Advocaat’s plans
does not make Santiago Vergini a bad player. Nor does scoring the wonder goal you see above, sadly against his own side. Anyone selected to play for Argentina deserves respect.

But trips with the Development Squad to Tow Law – see Sixer’s first-class report at – are not what he came to the UK for. And, clearly, he’s not a player Advocaat would ever again willingly choose for a Premier League game.

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Sixer’s Sevens: Everton 0 SAFC 2. Deflected glory for Danny Graham and Jermain Defoe

    Jake pins Sixer to the wall
    Jake pins Sixer to the wall

    Monsieur Salut writes: I suppressed the temptation to add “or luckier” to my original headline (‘Results don’t come much bigger ..’). This was, beyond doubt, a magnificent defensive display and no one who knows the first thing about football challenges the notion that having a solid defence comes into the reckoning when plaudits are distributed.

    But how did Sunderland score two goals at the other end while keeping out everything Everton threw at us? First because Danny Graham, whose recent form has richly deserved a break, got one – his deflection of a shot by Jordi Gomez bringing his first goal in 28 Sunderland games. Whoever doubted Martin O’Neill’s wisdom in wanting him will now be eating his words (along with me, having predicted a defeat today). Second, because very soon after a borderline penalty shout went in his favour (at our end) he got a thigh and possibly a hand, equally unintentionally I’d say, off Adam Johnson’s shot. I ordered Pete Sixsmith, our star seven-word judge, to send smiling texts from Goodison and he complied. Come back in due course for his full account of an enormous, enormous win …

    Jake: 'them's the breaks ....'
    Jake: ‘them’s the breaks ….’

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Brazil 2014: Anita Lovren’s show of love for Southampton-playing Croatian husband

Anita Lovran's Instagram verdict
Anita Lovran’s Instagram verdict

Now let us be honest. If Dejan Lovren had gone feet-high into Fred’s throat, leaving stud marks and threatening life itself, we can safely assume a devoted wife might have protested when the referee had the audacity to give a penalty. And a yellow card.

But it wasn’t quite like that, as we know. Fred, untouched by Lovren except when falling dramatically into him, simply cheated to gain his penalty. Since I am not prepared to suggest anything criminal, let me just repeat that this was a wretched decision, as bad as any to be imagined for the opening game of the world’s grandest sporting tournament.

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SAFC v Newcastle: a few last words of encouragement

Jake asks the Lads - ours - to get the season started, just nine games in
Jake asks the Lads – ours – to get the season started, just nine games in

You will go a long way to find a better buildup to the Wear-Tyne derby than here. Hands up the man who said, ‘you would say that, wouldn’t you?’.

But truly, we’ve had two pretty good “Who are You?’ interviews, a Guess the Score, a statistical review of the history of Wear-Tyne derbies and a well-argued debate on the jail sentence imposed on the Newcastle horsepuncher.

You can see all that by going to the home page – – and navigating from there.

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McCormick’s Craic: where was England’s flair?

John McCormick: nostalgic reading calls for a beer

Spain stutters through to the final, France ponders the rights and wrongs of stripping surly players of their bonuses and, once again, the national side leaves a major competition, outplayed and outclassed. John McCormick, on furlough in Westmorland, reflects upon the words of his wife and asks “where’s the flair?”…

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Sunderland Observed: the midterm report

The Observer had an excellent feature on the football pages, copied by others, in which one supporter of each club in each game gave his or her own assessment and out-of-10 ratings. Pete Sixsmith was a regular
for our games. The feature is no more – more fool The Observer – but Pete was asked for his midterm assessment (NB ahead of the Spurs game) …

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The Newcastle Soapbox: bad news comes in threes

The morning after. As we bid farewell to the thousands of gloating Mags who headed here yesterday, (and we’d have been smug, too, if we’d won), Pete Sixsmith has plenty to get off his chest and does so with customary eloquence, warning Steve Bruce that the rumblings in the stands are gathering force …

Three times
in Steve Bruce’s time as manager have we played our Tyneside neighbours and three times we have played in a manner that can, at best, be called disappointing.

Of the three, this was the worst. Last October was a one off, January was a game in which both sides were so awful that it can quickly be consigned to the far recesses of memory. But this one was different.

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Soapbox: goodbye Jordan, give us a wave at Liverpool

Niall Quinn describes the deal as right for the club, says what no one denies, that Jordan Henderson “is a credit to himself, his family and Sunderland’s Academy”, and promises that work is in hand to strengthen areas that need it. Pete Sixsmith takes it philosophically, recalls another momentous transfer and adds his own tribute …

See also: Liverpool lullabies: Jordan Henderson, David Ngog and the wicked media

I remember where I was when news came through that Colin Todd had been sold. I was having a lunchtime pint in the Continental in Athaneum Street when someone came in and quoted from the Echo billboard outside: “Roker star leaves.”

This was long before the internet, mobile phones, Sky Sports News etc. In those days, that kind of headline usually meant someone like Colin Symm had gone to Lincoln City or Ralph Brand had signed for Invercockieleekie Wanderers. But we knew what this one was.

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