Fixtures: beat Liverpool, Newcastle, Swansea to lead Premier by Aug 27

Not such a tall oder then. Having grabbed nine points from an easy start to the 2011-12 season, we would need only to hold our own until the final, title-clinching game at home to Manchester United on May 13. The heavies of the Football Data Co stand between Salut! Sunderland and publication of the full list, but we can say it should be taken with a sizeable pinch of salt.. As Pete Sixsmith points out, the first two games are already prime targets for switching …

Liverpool away, Newcastle at home. The old fixture computer has certainly given us a couple of beauties to start the season with. Jordan Henderson and Andy Carroll followed by whatever ragtag bunch of nonentities Pardew has managed to throw together over the summer. And we have three weeks to clean up the mess that the overweight sweaty ones invariably leave behind.

Unfortunately, I can’t see either of these two starting at 3pm on a Saturday. The media’s long running love affair with all things Anfield and Dalglish, plus the expected involvement of Jordan, will have Sky and ESPN going weak at the knees on an opening day which has no real standout game.

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Calling warm, witty or wise QPR, Norwich & Swansea supporters

Pauline McLynn, one of last season's volunteers

An invitation to supporters of the three teams promoted to the Premier League …

First of all, welcome to the Premier.

Don’t be intimidated by our 10th top finishing place. It was a decent achievement in itself but we went through a phase, as we tend to do most seasons in the top flight, when it was by no means certain we’d be playing you next season.

Now that we are all in it together, welcome also to Salut! Sunderland. Before each Sunderland game, we include in the build-up here an interview with a supporter of the opposing side.

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Soapbox: Swansea treks, Bent duds, Jordan Henderson’s boo boys

Pete Sixsmith wonders what to do with himself now that footie is over. He casts his eye over assorted topics, and wonders whether the ominous interest from Anfield and Old Trafford will bring at last pleasure into the lives of those so eager to barrack “the best player we have produced since Colin Todd” …

The last week
in May brings the end of the football season.

The so-called close season lasts for the whole month of June, unless there are exceptional circumstances like European Championship qualifiers. But local football grinds to a halt and the club committees have the opportunity to re-seed the pitches, paint the goalposts and sort out the budget for next season.

For dedicated anoraks like me, it’s a six-week period for recourse to reading books, going for walks and generally mooching around looking for something to do. Exam marking is usually on the agenda, but they have put it all online this year and I do not relish that, so may drop out.

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Manchester United, Barcelona … and Swansea: guess who wants Gyan?’

Clásico de lujoImage: americanistadechiapas

It was just a cheeky Sunderland-related question slotted into a quick interview with a Barca fan ahead of tomorrow’s 2011 Champions’ League Final. Who among the current SAFC squad would you like to see in the blue and red of Barcelona? The answer came back quick as a Messi shot. Start learning Catalan, Asamoah. Among all the world’s culers – to adopt the mildly rude nickname for Barca fans – we found ours in London, and he’s Welsh. And Neil Watson* is a man in need of a ticket; as a son of Swansea, he has one for the playoff final against Reading on Monday. If you see an optimist wandering around London wearing a banner pleading for help to get him to Wembley tomorrow night too, you may have encountered Salut! Sunderland’s first Champions’ League “Who are You?” candidate …

Later today: Scott the Red from Republik of Mancunia …

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