The Hammers hate Bolton: we just fear them


West Ham 1 Bolton 2. Highly unwelcome news from the East End. Please let that be the end of the Wanderers’ revival …

Rapidhammer, one of my partners in crime at, has just posted a match report headed “I hate Bolton”.

Since I had come to regard the Hammers as certainties to climb out of trouble, I hate them tonight. This was surely a home banker. How could they do it to us?

Read moreThe Hammers hate Bolton: we just fear them

A six-pointer against Bolton at home: not for purists


For his second piece for Salut! Sunderland, Luke Harvey – whose presence would be welcome if it did no more that bring down the average age around these parts – looks forward, if that is the correct phrase in our current state, to Bolton at home on Tuesday …

Michael Owen
is injured. Alex Ferguson is complaining about a pitch. Ian Wright is having a good moan as well.

It seems that the world is back to business as usual following the reckless challenge from Ryan Shawcross last week that put Aaron Ramsey out for the rest of the season and captured our attention for the majority of last week.

We, too, are moving on. With a clichéd “make-or-break” match with Bolton coming up on Tuesday, we’ll be much happier to compete against our fellow knuckle-dragging northerner neanderthals. Rather than being up against another slice of football’s elite, it will be a case of 22 men spending 90 minutes kicking legs, ankles, faces and occasionally the ball too. Won’t it?

Read moreA six-pointer against Bolton at home: not for purists

Bruce in

Back to normal business – ie worrying about our own problems – we question the wisdom of clamouring for Steve Bruce’s dismissal but caution Sunderland AFC against taking future support for granted …

The man behind me, in row 31 of the East Stand, was calling for Steve Bruce’s head before the first half was over against Fulham.

In the second half, I heard – well, couldn’t fail to hear – him shout: “You’ve half an hour to save your job, Bruce.”

Read moreBruce in

Supporting Arsène, Arsenal and Aaron. And, a little bit, Ryan.

On the Ramsey/Shawcross affair, we still await the thoughts of Monty and Rupert, names that somehow seemed to personify posh London football support when they were announced on tannoy at Arsenal v Sunderland. Lots of others, notably Gooners, have had their say, however, and not least at Salut! Sunderland …

Just before the kickoff of Stoke v Arsenal, the TV screen (sound down) showed Arsène Wenger and my football-loathing wife started on about how much better dressed, better spoken, more intelligent, better everything he was than your usual football character.

She’s French so would say as much. But it’s a view that I happen, up to point, to share.

Read moreSupporting Arsène, Arsenal and Aaron. And, a little bit, Ryan.

Grand Central’s pledge to messed-about travellers

Sunderland and Fulham fans, students and all others caught up in the events of last night, when services came to a standstill on the Home Counties stretch of the east coast main line: take note.

Our report of the delay has attracted a full response from Grand Central, the operator used – generally with great satisfaction – by London-based SAFC supporters. Passengers are invited to return the relevant part of their tickets for refunds for the affected journey.

Read moreGrand Central’s pledge to messed-about travellers

Soapbox: where do we go from here?


Pete Sixsmith looked for something positive to say about the excruciating bore draw against Fulham. He looked, you will not be surprised to hear, in vain. You would do your own looking in vain if you wanted sharper analysis of our present malaise …

The gents’ toilets in the East Stand is a pretty good place to test the post match feelings of those refined and cultured Red and Whites who frequent that august structure. After a famous victory, it is buzzing with laughter and joy. After a humiliating defeat it is a place of doom and gloom. After horrible games like Sundays, it is a place of almost sepulchral quiet.

Read moreSoapbox: where do we go from here?

SAFC 0 Fulham 0: Grand Central blues


Colin Randall crowns a grand, pleasure-free day out at the Stadium of Light by sitting on a crowded Grand Central train stuck in the wilderness for more than three hours with no particular place to go

You know
, said Lee, the man in the Wetherspoons pub before the game, I just have a feeling in my bones we’re going to beat them.

But didn’t Lee also think Aston Villa would win the Carling Cup, that Ryan Shawcross was a shade unlucky to be sent off and that the earth was very flat indeed?

In fact, isn’t Lee just the sort of optimist who’d convince himself the Grand Central train back down from Sunderland to Kings Cross would never in a million years manage to get stuck indefinitely behind a “failed train” in the middle of nowhere, allegedly between Huntingdon and Stevenage?

Read moreSAFC 0 Fulham 0: Grand Central blues

Fulham or Aberdeen: will the real Lily Allen stand up?


Once again, we wondered whether Lily Allen might be up for a contribution to our Who Are They? feature. Disregarding another Fulham fan who wrote in disparaging terms* to question her true allegiance – the Cottagers sic or Aberdeen – we duly invited her. With these results ,,,

Well, we put our questions to Lily Allen, famous for being a Fulham fan and probably game for such things … if only there wasn’t a brick wall in the shape of Murray Chalmers PR.

Last time we played Fulham, Murray’s charmer, Sarah, had a plausible excuse for a No: “Lily isn’t doing press.” (As if Salut! Sunderland could strictly speaking be called press, but we let that pass).

Read moreFulham or Aberdeen: will the real Lily Allen stand up?

Sunderland v Fulham: a star is born


That’s cheating – the headline – because the star of SAFC is whoever, young or old, wins us three points at home to Fulham tomorrow. But Luke Harvey is a new star of Salut! Sunderland. He’s a poor deluded soul on two counts: he supports Sunderland (condemning him to a life of disappointment) and is a journalism student (no money in it unless he becomes Piers Morgan). No matter, he’s agreed to write for us to ease the burden on Pete Sixsmith and the ageing editor. This is Luke’s first offering (he may even add a photo later) …

Fulham bring me a lot of fond memories, not particularly as a Sunderland fan – but as a football fan in general.

They seem to embody everything I believe a football team should be about, a hard working and talented group who are lead by an experienced manager capable of masterminding a victory over any team.

Read moreSunderland v Fulham: a star is born