In the continuing saga of Stewart Donald’s attempt to buy Sunderland AFC, Monsieur Salut has a minor interest to declare.
Many of you will have seen references to one Charlie Methven, a public relations wizard and a director of Madrox, the company created by Stewart to take over SAFC and – who knows? – make it great again.
He and Monsieur Salut are former colleagues and also got on well when working for the same newspaper.
With nominations about to close in Salut! Sunderland’s annual HAWAY awards – the prizes offered for best interviews with opposing fans over the season just ended – there is a clear front runner.
Since judging is not quite complete, and readers may still take part as previously invited simply by adding their choices in order of first-second-third in the Comments below, it would be premature to give away more.
Nominations close at midnight UK time so there is not much time left for stragglers, and we do have a quorum with votes already cast by several contributors.
Pete Sixsmith pays tribute to an early mentor of his football writing, George Forster, a man who exemplifies all that is good about the Sunderland AFC family of supporters and has just collected an appropriate accolade …
In a season of deepest gloom, there was one bright spot – two if you count the reduction in Jolly Jack Rodwell’s salary.
The positive one was the award of EFL Championship Supporter of the Year, won by 91-year-old George Forster, a man who can rightly be called “Mr Sunderland AFC”.
Monsieur Salut is left at a loose end, feeling a little redundant with no need to post a Guess the Score or the Derby County “Who are You?” that is already tucked away in the safe …
It comes as something of a relief to have no forthcoming weekend match to fret about.
In truth, the international break could not have come too soon. Some of us would almost like it to continue until May when, in silent shame, we accept our fate and prepare for life in the next division down, knowing there will be no Eric or Marco or Benno to get us straight back up again.
Welcome to the strange world of Ellis Short, reluctant and reclusive football boss. In the past, Salut! Sunderland may have been too kind to the SAFC owner, accepting that he had put lots of his own money into the club only to be let down in horrific fashion by managers, executives and players.
But now we learn from the Sunderland Echo that Chris Coleman has never spoken to Short.
Monsieur Salut writes: just as well I have Boro-supporting relatives. Another Boro fan, exiled down south and writing about another Championship side for a living, had instantly agreed to sit in the Who are You? hot seat only to let us down a few days later (no names as he may have a good excuse). But my nephew Andy Falconer, who did a good job of answering the questions back in November, came up with a pal, Alex Gunn*, who readily stepped into the defector’s shoes … he thinks Boro will win but offers us two consolation prizes: nominating Sunderland for an imaginary ‘loudest away support’ award and saying we’ll scrape 21st place, ie survive …
For Paul Summerside, the time is right to wish a happy 2018 to all at Salut! Sunderland and its Facebook page – and to reflect on “Groundhog Day. 2017 revisited”. It’s hardly an open letter to Ellis Short, more a quick reminder that if we set aside changes in personnel, what is needed now if Sunderland are to avoid a humiliating drop into the third tier is pretty much what was needed a year ago …
It’s Christmas and Little Drummer Boy is one of those songs you cannot always escape from.
But into the stocking of a Salut! Sunderland stalwart who signs his comments here as Drummer will go a t-shirt depicting two heroic figures of Sunderland’s not-so-distant past, Niall Quinn and SuperKev.
The only other clue I shall give is that he wants it in large. It is for Drummer to reveal his true identity if he wishes.
And now on to even more serious matters. Sunderland vs Birmingham City and your chance to get the Niall/SKP print on your wall or the t-shirt on your chest.
Until as recently as the weekend, no one could seriously fault the bookies’ belief that Sunderland were relegation probabilities. Now, Chris Coleman has made the sort of start after replcaing Simon Grayson as manager to encourage measured hope that a swift ascent of the Championship table is more likely. Here, William Sundin, a media production graduate from Sunderland University, looks back at the short but successful stint of one of Coleman’s predecessors Sam Allardyce, who has now steered Everton to ninth top, and wonders when the two clubs may meet again in the top flight …
Big Sam already has the team climbing back up the table and it wouldn’t be out of the question to suggest that having taken over a team staring relegation in the face, he could even steer them towards a top six finish.