Usually, if he’s there, Rob Hutchison dictates one-word player-by-player verdicts and his daughter Olivia passes them on to us. Today, he was absent. She was there – and how she enjoyed the last few minutes of a game we once seems destined to lose by a cricket score. ‘The worst 45 minutes of football followed by the best 45 minutes of football – That’s Sunderland for you,’ she says while hardly preparing top-of-the-form marks for the players …
Oops: this is a repeat: entries here closed though any appearing already will be honoured: enter at https://safc.blog/2018/01/birmingham-city-guess-the-score-meet-the-irish-fan-who-kept-faith/
With no unnecessary fanfare, here is the latest prize Guess the Score.
Can Chris Coleman secure the first back-to-back wins of his Sunderland career? Will we rise to the occasion or slump, having beaten Hull, to the customary after-the-Lord-Mayor’s-Show defeat?
Monsieur Salut writes: a very happy new year to all Salut! Sunderland readers, editors, contributors and advertisers/sponsors. As well as featuring the thoughts of a Barnsley supporter, this is the place for entries in Guess the Score. There’ll be a prize as usual – a book or mug, to be sent to a UK delivery address – and Barnsley supporters are very welcome to have a go.
Thank heavens – though not always – for Twitter. It is, or at least can be, a fruitful place to find supporters of other teams. I was fearing a blank Sunderland -Barnsley ‘Who are You?’ until I found Craig Robinson*.
Craig’s replies, like those of the fan who sat in the same hot seat for the game at their game at Oakwell, are realistic and to the point …
It is fair to say Lee Cattermole has long divided opinion among Sunderland supporters. Perhaps all or certainly most of us appreciate the commitment, that desire to win or at least avoid defeat, that epitomises his game. We may even, occasionally, respect his willingness to ‘take one for the team’. And opposing fans often say he’s someone they’d like in their teams.
But is he now being caught out once too often, and too expensively, even at Championship level? Is he, quite bluntly, a liabilty? Or do we take a kinder view and say ‘let’s not be swayed by one red card, the first in four years, there’s plenty more he has to offer Sunderland’? …. Chris Weatherspoon*, a fan and a seasoned writer on things SAFC, has a view and it’s a harsh one.
There is a Salut! Sunderland poll on this. Scroll down to vote …
Monsieur Salut writes: what strikers want to do is score goals. The best of them, like Brian Clough, Kevin Phillips and Jermain Defoe among our greats, also have a selfish streak. Above all, they want their names on the scoresheet.
Lewis Grabban usually has no one to pass to anyway. But his tally in a miserable Sunderland season must make him, overall, a happy man. He is not bought but borrowed and he is also fully aware other clubs are casting an eye in his direction.
Monsieur Salut writes: Bob Chapman, standing in for Pete Sixsmith (absent on Santa duties), has the sort of home-and-away record of attendance at SAFC games that cries out for a gong in the New Year’s honours list. Today, he saw a valiant backs-to-the-wall display by Sunderland that won an unlikely point at the league leaders Wolves. I had only Nick Barnes and, as another stand-in, Marco Gabbiadini to go by but they seemed as impressed by the resistance as they were appalled by the inconsistency of the referee Jeremy Simpson, sending off Catts as much for being Catts as anything else and missing a number of Wolves challenges of at least equal culpability to the two that earned Catts’s yellows. Look at our Who are You? series: so many of this season’s interviewees say refereeing is poor at Championship level
Marco rated the shifts put in by O’Shea and Wilson. Both he and Nick Barnes saluted an overall performance that, taken on its own, offers modest hope … as Bob’s verdict shows …
Andy Nicholls* , moderator at the Wolves fan site Molineux Mix, is another old friend to this site. Seven years ago, he appeared here for a joint interview with a Sunderland-mad Silksworth lass, then his partner. They are no longer together but still speak.
Andy is naturally as thrilled by the football he is currently seeing as we are dejected by what has befallen SAFC. He lived on Wearside for a time and retains happy memories, which are described below, leaving a mark strong enough to make him look for our score once he knows what has happened to his own team, though he feels we’re in for a pasting on Saturday (as Wolves bounce back from winning only 1-0 away in midweek!)
PS Jody Craddock is aware of – and appreciates – Andy’s kind words …
Sunderland’s shameful home record will become officially the worst in English football history on Saturday if Millwall are not beaten at the Stadium of Light. Nineteen games – 18 in the Premier League and Championship and one in the FA Cup – have passed since a scrappy 1-0 defeat of Watford in December last year. That is a winless home run shared by Dagenham and Redbridge, Derby County and Nottingham Forest. Are we really about to make the record our own? Stand by for a bleak assessment of our club’s present crisis …
Perhaps the best that can be said about the visit to Aston Villa next Tuesday is that at least Sunderland won’t be at home. The match comes four days after the managerless club must beat Millwall to avoid setting that wholly unwanted record for failing to win at home.
What does Bobby Gurney have in common with Tony Adams, Jimmy Armfield, Billy Liddell, Matt Le Tissier, Sam Bartram, Packie Bonner, Jamie Carragher and Jack Charlton? All were one-club players, each clocking up hundreds of games without ever leaving for bigger, better, richer or more fashionable teams.
Silksworth-born and starting at Bishop Auckland, Gurney scored 228 goals in league and cup, the highest tally in Sunderland’s history, in 390 games for what was his only professional club in a career stretching from 1926 to 1944. See Stat Cat site for all the fascinating detail.
Will we ever see his like, their likes, again in an age when players and managers seem to regard clubs as mere stepping stones and football owners, in common with most employers, give the impression they would struggle to spell loyalty let alone demonstrate it?