A key moment in SAFC’s West Brom no-show – and Papy’s little problem

Happier days for Sunderland AFC, and the Echo

One bright spot on a dark day for SAFC supporters was the introduction of the Sunderland Echo’s new chief football writer, Phil Smith, to listeners to Barnes and Benno in the buildup to the limp display at West Brom.

Phil is a Sunderland supporter, not the first to occupy this particular journalistic hot seat or cover the SAFC beat for other media outlets. Like Graeme Anderson and the late, hugely missed Ian Laws before him (not forgetting Chris Young and Nick Barnes’s predecessor as BBC Radio Newcastle commentator Martin Emmerson), he came across as man brimming with passion for the club and sharing the pain of the rest of us. (Not so sure about Chris’s prior allegiance but he writes about the club, even since departing for more glamorous pursuits in LA, in a way suggesting SAFC got under his skin Niall-style.)

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