Sixer’s Travels: as a postponed trip to Middlesbrough mercifully spares one fate …

But it was still a weekend of pleasure rather than the usual Sunderland-induced pain, according to Pete Sixsmith. He saw some decent non-league football, albeit watching Shildon lose, and some rugby league. He’s already worried about Saturday but put aside such cares to compose another piece of classy writing combining sport, social observation, politics and travel …

Thanks to Middlesbrough for making the quarter finals of the FA Cup. Not only were they brushed aside by Manchester City, their presence in what used to be called the Sixth Round, spared us from having to go there on a Saturday and thereby probably spoiling our weekend.

Read moreSixer’s Travels: as a postponed trip to Middlesbrough mercifully spares one fate …

Delicious skill from Jozy vs PSG’s Luiz and a Toronto progress report

Jake: 'Jody scores, we're on the pitch'
Jake: ‘Jody scores, we’re on the pitch’

See the caption in Jake’s image. It’s true. That’s what our supporters relentlessly chanted throughout Jozy Altidore’s dark, goal-free days with Sunderland. As we look to Defoe, Borini, Lens and the rest to deliver the goals he couldn’t, a Co Durham exile in Toronto, Bill Taylor, has had a chance to track Jozy’s progress since the move to Canada …

Read moreDelicious skill from Jozy vs PSG’s Luiz and a Toronto progress report

Sunderland out west: the Taylor report from Toronto

TT's Landlord - just what you need before watching a Sunderland game.
TT’s Landlord – just what you need before watching a Sunderland game.
Malcolm Dawson writes….as kick off approached I was enjoying a few excellent pints of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord and taking part in a pub quiz less than three miles from Toronto. Meanwhile Bill Taylor, who I don’t think is related to the founder of the Keighley based brewing company (though he might inform me otherwise) was making his way to the BMO Field for last night’s final game of the three match pre-season tour of North America. I went home and watched it on TV via my laptop, as the Toronto I was near to is the one just outside of Bishop Auckland whereas Bill, County Durham born and bred, now lives over there. I could see, even over a dodgy internet connection, the influence that Jozy Altidore has had on his team mates, if Osorio’s glaring miss just before half time is anything to go by! We will be getting a more detailed version of events later from Martin Bates, the latest of our new found correspondents courtesy of SAFC NASA, but we’ll start with some of Bill’s pics and his explanation as to why he has been much missed on the pages of Salut! Sunderland in recent times.

TORONTO FC 1 SUNDERLAND AFC 2

BT on SAFC
BT on SAFC

I know what you’re thinking! “Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water… there’s that bugger Bill Taylor again, doing his celebrated impersonation of a bad penny.” Okay, that’s a shark metaphor gone wrong and, don’t worry, I’m not back to stay.

Some of you may remember I took my leave of this site when the appalling (but much-admired at the time, as I recall) neo-fascist Paolo di Canio took over at the SoL. Somehow, even after his departure, my cynicism — mainly at the club’s management structure remained and I stayed away.

Read Bill’s letter of resignation here. (These are his pictures that follow.)

As an aside, I’m by no means convinced that Dick Advocaat is the answer to our prayers but I’m still a Mackem through and through. I still follow the team closely, though often despairingly, and I still read Salut! Sunderland. And there was no way I wasn’t going to be front and centre (literally — a TFC season ticket-holder got me seats in the first row right next to the tunnel and close to the visitors’ bench) when the Lads came to Toronto.

Dick in the stand.
Dick in the stand. Bill’s not convinced

Other, more expert, eyes were also at the game and will deliver a longer and more considered verdict.

Me? Apart from Defoe’s two goals and a nice solo effort by Fletcher that didn’t come off, Sunderland were not impressive. Toronto played better football all-round, positionally, controlling the ball, setting up chances. Especially in the first half, they constantly forced Sunderland onto the back foot and confined them to their own half. At times, our lot seemed genuinely surprised to find they had an attack starting and had to scramble to catch up. TFC were unlucky not to win. They scored first and came close to scoring three or four times more. They made a lot of substitutions, perhaps to allow as many of the team as possible to say they’d played against a Premiership side.

The home team score as the internet stream disappears
The home team score as the internet stream disappears

I hate to say it, but unless Sunderland really pull their collective socks up, this time next year they really will be a Championship side. There’s a LOT of work to be done.

And come on, lads, two yellow cards in a friendly? Really? Seb Larsson’s, which I saw close up, could easily have turned into a red, the way he argued with the ref.

Here endeth the sermon.

JD scores in front of the Red and White masses.
JD scores in front of the Red and White masses.

IMG_2175

Kept us in the game - again!
Kept us in the game – again!
Spreading the word
Spreading the word
Ha'way Seb man - get a grip!
Ha’way Seb man – get a grip!

Advochaat on the importance of Jermain’s two goals to beat Toronto

The return of Advocaat. Dick, by Jake
The return of Advocaat. Dick, by Jake

The bare bones of it, courtesy of safc.com, are that Sunderland beat Toronto with a Jermain Defoe double after his former club took the lead: ‘two well-taken efforts … the first, in the 65th minute, reward for Defoe’s persistence in a scramble on the edge of the area, the second four minutes later after of a flowing counter-attack led by Adam Johnson’. And no battle royal with Jozy Altidore, who did not play. Dick Advocaat was happy for the fans and for Defoe, as his post-match email shows. Much coverage and photos to come – and yes, the players acknowledged the support …

Read moreAdvochaat on the importance of Jermain’s two goals to beat Toronto

Toronto vs Sunderland: a chance to make amends taken. Bravo, Lads

Right, so the criticism has been dished out and it was deserved. The players should have properly acknowledged the Sunderland support at the end of both games in Sacramento, and didn’t.

But sometimes it’s fair to redress the balance.

Read moreToronto vs Sunderland: a chance to make amends taken. Bravo, Lads

Toronto vs SAFC: a chance to make amends

New away kit, courtesy of Sunderland AFC. Love it? Hate it? Think it may grow on you?
New away kit, courtesy of Sunderland AFC. Love it? Hate it? Think it may grow on you?

From our friends across the water, we have heard of good public relations and bad public relations during Sunderland’s North American tour.

Paul Pattison, a long-time exile originally from County Durham (Annfield Plain), told the story of the owner Ellis Short’s wife, Eve, mingling and posing with SAFC fans before the first game in Sacramento. Eve Short went to university in the area and used the occasion to meet up with old friends.

Eve Ellis mixes wit the fans in Sacramento
Eve Ellis mixes with the fans Sacramento

Read moreToronto vs SAFC: a chance to make amends

Sunderland Out West: Jermain vs Jozy. The battle in Toronto looms

Martin Bates
Martin Bates

Martin Bates is our latest Out West reporter to keep an eye on all things Sunderland in North America. Martin, a Canadian with Sunderland family origins, has the advantage of following our next opponents, Toronto, in all games in which they are not playing us, if that makes sense. So he knows all about both clubs and all about the possible battle royal between ex-Toronto man Jermain Defoe and ex-Sunderland man Jozy Altidore. Let Martin set the scene …

See all artiicles in the Sunderland Out West series at https://safc.blog/category/sunderland-out-west-2015/

Read moreSunderland Out West: Jermain vs Jozy. The battle in Toronto looms

Sixer Says: let’s offer a fond but grateful farewell to Jozy Altidore

Jake: 'Jody scores, we're on the pitch'
Jake: ‘Jozy scores, we’re on the pitch’

The lads and lasses who support AK over in the Netherlands won’t be able to believe it. For them, Jozy Altidore scored goals for fun. Followers of the United States national team generally think he’s the real deal. But back in Blighty, in Hull and Sunderland, we all wonder about the lack of goals (a problem if you are a striker) and some, Pete Sixsmith among them, suggest Rugby League might have been a better option as the young Jozy contemplated his sporting career. For all that, Jozy Altidore deserves to be remembered as a player who gave his all and was, by all accounts, a great guy. Good luck, Jozy, but let Sixer take up the story …

Read moreSixer Says: let’s offer a fond but grateful farewell to Jozy Altidore

Ghana for the cup – if heart triumphs over head

roofer


It may be the withdrawal symptoms of a curious gap in the football. It may be a righteous response to Salut! Sunderland’s ever-so-slightly tabloid lapse. But Bill Taylor has been out and about in Toronto again, snapping away at the flags and reflecting on the coming finale of the World Cup …

If he hasn’t been pulled over by the police for the potentially hazardous additions to his vehicle, this Toronto roofer is no doubt now flying his Portuguese flags at half-staff.

Read moreGhana for the cup – if heart triumphs over head

Brazil v Cote d’Ivoire, through Canadian eyes

braz1

Bill Taylor reports with laptop and lens from his temporary second home, the Little Italy quarter of Toronto. Is he really watching three games a day, as his stream of comments to Salut! Sunderland suggests, and will it make him go blind? …


Also: Join the debate on Kaka’s invisible assault

I learned something during the Brazil-Cote d’Ivoire game – that TV sports commentators don’t ALWAYS talk drivel.
During the later stages of the game – before it almost deteriorated into a gang rumble beyond the referee’s control – the guy doing commentary for CBC said something to the effect of: “Leaving aside their own supporters, Brazil is pretty much every soccer fan’s second-choice team.”

Read moreBrazil v Cote d’Ivoire, through Canadian eyes