Salut! Sunderland status update: we’re crestfallen

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The embryo of this article was a rant, a denunciation of the corporate face of football responsible for the newly shorn look to the header you see above. Has anyone noticed? We’ve lost the Sunderland AFC crest. This is the story of how and why it happened (and why the rant became, we hope, a model of measured reflection) …

For closer to three years than two, it didn’t seem to trouble anyone. On the right of Craig McGinty‘s striking design of the Salut! Sunderland header appeared the club badge. Unobtrusive, we thought, just a detail.

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The A to Z of Sunderland’s Marseille connection

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The injury to Lee Cattermole seriously tests the strength of our squad. But Colin Randall feels that in Cana and Zenden, Sunderland have two of this season’s canniest Premier acquisitions …

Confirmation that Lee Cattermole will be out for three months means that we will come to rely ever more heavily on the qualities of our pair of Marseillais. A for the Albanian Lorik Cana, captain of club and country (and captain at OM until his move), Z for Boudewijn “Bolo” Zenden.

The loss of Cattermole – cue for abject apology from the Liverpool players and officials who whinged so pitilessly when this strong, battling midfielder crumpled in a heap – is a serious blow.

He has been hugely impressive in every game since arriving on a transfer that, if we are honest, divided Sunderland fans.

Read moreThe A to Z of Sunderland’s Marseille connection

TalkSport, talk rot

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Colin Randall takes an old Fleet Street confrère to task for suggesting our win against Liverpool should be cancelled out …

Most of the time, I enjoy Mike Parry and TalkSport (can’t bring myself to start the name in lower case and then write the second syllable in upper).

This morning, Mike was talking nonsense. Yes, the beach ball goal ought to have been disallowed. But to proceed from there to the proposition that on this one and only occasion, a clear injustice should be remedied by having the game played again is absurd and unfair.

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Soapbox: the day the balloon went up

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Give the lad a break. OK, he shouldn’t have done it. Yes, his rightful place was probably outside offering to “mind” people’s cars. But at a game when much else from Liverpool was nasty and snarling – read on for mention of Carragher but Rafa and Benayoun ought to be ashamed of their vile responses to serious injuries), he at least brought something we could all ( or most of us) laugh about. Pete Sixsmith describes the day footballing history was made ….

In 45 years of watching football, I’ve never seen anything like it. It was an absolutely amazing occurrence and I doubt I shall ever see anything like it again.

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Bordeaux: borderline lunacy

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Until the Marouane Chamakh farce began, we had nothing against Bordeaux. Liked the city (though not too much), loved the (overpriced) wine, respected Laurent Blanc’s championship-winning achievements, albeit in a relatively weak league. Mais zut alors! M Blanc and his equally blank president have sorely tested our patience, and the entente cordiale …

In deference to the French half or, rather, third of its name, Salut! Sunderland had lately suspended hostilities against Bordeaux, hostilities aimed not so much at its fans* as at its arrogant, hard-of-thinking management.

But the latest outburst from the French champions’ president Jean-Louis Triaud cannot be overlooked. Having first claimed, along with the Bordeaux manager Laurent Blanc that Sunderland was not a big enough club to sign Marouane Chamakh, he now says the deciding factor was Lilian Laslandes’s “depressing” spell on Wearside.

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Who are you? We’re Liverpool

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Hard on Man Utd, even harder on Liverpool’s owners, Gerry Ormonde* is a man who knows his own mind. A Dubliner with his footballing heart across the Irish Sea on the Mersey, he was quick to agree to preview Sunderland’s return to Premier action against his beloved Liverpool this Saturday. Gerry runs Kopblog.com – part of the This is Anfield website – and Salut! Sunderland takes off its hat to the feedback his efforts receive from fellow fans of the Reds. And little wonder: his blog won Best Premiership Blog in the New Football Pools awards and this year iBest Sports and Recreational Blog at the Irish Blog Awards.

Disappointing Champions League game for you, dropped points in the Premier. Is the press premature in sounding alarm bells, and what are your priorities this season?

Obviously losing both games (CL , then Chelsea) was a big disappointment but it’s early days yet. I’m still confident we’ll qualify from our Champions League group and as for the league, it’s more competitive then ever this season and it looks like a lot of teams are going to drop points so we’ve just got to hang in there and take it one game at a time.
The alarm bells in the press are always premature. The opinions expressed in the media seem to change on a week to week, game to game basis. For example, Chelsea made a perfect start to the season until they lost against Wigan and then suddenly the media seemed to be going out of their way to raise question marks about their manager. Then they beat us 2-0 and suddenly they are red-hot favourites again, at least for the moment! It’s incredible how these clowns in the media constantly change their tune and even more incredible how some fans allow them to form their opinions. It used to be said that today’s headlines are tomorrows fish and chips wrappers, but these days I’ve far too much respect for my fish and chips to wrap them up in that s****!
Our priorities are the same this season as they are every season, Premiership, Champions League, FA Cup, Carling Cup.

Read moreWho are you? We’re Liverpool

Soapbox: Old Trafford revisited

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No one is quite sure what this is doing here. Has Salut! Sunderland taken leave of its senses? Has Rugby League taken over from football? Let Pete Sixsmith – who went back to Old Trafford one week on, and not to collect his personal copy of Sir Alex’s non-apology to Alan Wiley – explain …

Continuing the theme of Club v Country, I have to say that I couldn’t give a rat’s a*** about the “national team”. Ever since Sir Alf failed to take Monty to Mexico and various idiots refused to pick Kevin Phillips on a regular basis, I have absolutely zero interest in the Ingerland project.

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Sunderland music: from cops and pop to the classics

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Anything to fill in time on a football-free Saturday (meaningful football, that is). Colin Randall recalls a few of the musical pieces familiar to fans of Sunderland going back to the 1960s …

Samantha Marie Sprackling is the real name, Saffron the one she’s better known by. It probably won’t offend her to know Salut! Sunderland finds her pleasing on the eye and the ear.

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Calling all Sunderland fans who never knew Roker Park

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The headline narrows it down a little. But Salut! Sunderland today launches a modest competition*, and only supporters for whom the Stadium of Light has always been our home ground can enter. You may be too young to have visited Roker Park. You may, for whatever reason, have started attending games only after the move to the Stadium of Light. Write about the SoL, what you like about it, what it means to you, the best and worst times you’ve had there, anything you dislike about it. Salut! Sunderland will publish the best entries AND award a first prize to the value to £100 (there may be runners-up awards depending on entries. Send them to colinrandall@hotmail.com … we’re looking for passion and imagination rather than a budding Hemingway or Hornby, but don’t be put off if you have genuine writing talent.

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Let’s kick it off with the reminiscences of another old codger from the days before Roker Park was a private housing estate with silly street names evoking the grand old stadium. Jeremy Robsons piece explained why, for a Murton lad exiled in deepest Canada, Roker means so much to him that he cannot even bring himself on trips home to go near what has become of the place. It originally appeared a few months ago but will be new to many of our readers ….

It’s almost 12 years since we left Roker Park.

To this day I’ve never returned to the old site. I remember standing gazing around the wonderful old stadium for as long as the stewards would let us after the Everton game, in a feeble attempt to take in the magnitude of those last few moments in the place where we’d all spent so much of our lives, and where history was written, where reputations were won and lost, but most of all a place where millions of memories were generated amongst countless thousands of us. All different, all shared and yet all unique.

Read moreCalling all Sunderland fans who never knew Roker Park