Salut! Sunderland presents: The best goal I ever scored/never scored

John McCormick writes: It was M Salut himself who got me going, but only after Malcolm had chipped in with his two-penneth (one penneth before, one penneth after). Both described goals they had or hadn’t scored in the “comments” area of a short post about the naming of George Honeyman as captain, and the spark behind their reminiscences was a phrase used by one of our readers, Brian,  in a comment of his own.

So I’ve chipped in with my best (almost only, though I did score twice in a University intramural league and had a third disallowed) goal and we hope you’ll do the same to liven up the dull days between the announcement of fixtures and the actual getting to them. No prizes, I’m afraid, just the honour, the glory and the adulation that will no doubt come from our readership as they recognise you as a true hero of football.

Read moreSalut! Sunderland presents: The best goal I ever scored/never scored

Sixer Says: everything you ever wanted to know about Younes Kaboul. And more

Yesterday (16th July) saw a positively frenetic burst of transfer activity. At least it was in terms of what has gone on so far. One out – the unwanted but recently signed Santiago Vergini off to the climes of sunny Spain on loan. And one in. The announcement that Younis Kaboul had arrived on Wearside for a medical came out of left field. His name was not one of those that the media had been touting as a potential Black Cat but obviously the spadework had been done for the deal to be finalised so quickly after Nicolas Lombaerts turned down the opportunity to come to Wearside. The Frenchman, not the Belgian, is welcomed by Pete Sixsmith who fills us in on the details that really matter.

Pete Sixsmith says "Bienvenue Younis Kaboul a la Cote de Gris"
Pete Sixsmith says “Bienvenue Younis Kaboul a la Cote de Gris”


Another day, another player in as the squad begins to take shape for next season. After the move for Belgian central defender Nicolas Lombaerts fell through, it looks as if Kaboul was the next on the list. The deal was swiftly concluded, he passed a medical and is now following ion the footsteps of Charlie Hurley, Dave Watson and er, Steve Hetzke.

So here’s the lowdown on Younes.

* he was born in Saint-Julien-en-Genovois which is in the Alpine province of Haute-Savoie. It is close to the Swiss border and boasts the 73rd best casino in France.

* he played for the legendary Guy Roux at Auxerre for three seasons. Roux took over at the Stade de l’Abbe Deschamps in 1964 and left in 2005, making him the longest serving coach since Asterix the Gaul. Djibril Cisse was there at the same time.

* he moved to Tottenham Hotspur in 2007, playing 21 games in his first season. At the end of that year Good ole ‘Arry decided to flog him off.

* Roy Keane fancied him and tried to sign him along with Steed Malbranque (good man), Teemu Tainio (ok for a Finn) and Pascal Chimbonda (a friend of El Hadj Diouf – says everything). He wasn’t keen to come and sloped off to Portsmouth for a couple of years.

* he did well at Portsmouth and earned a move back to Spurs where GO’A said that he was a “late developer” and played him regularly.

Let’s hope for more of this!

* he was made club captain in June 2014 under Mauricio Pochettino which shows that he was well thought of – even if he only made 11 appearances.

* he is 6’4” tall – 4” taller than Dave Watson. That 4” may not mean a lot to you but to men of my age it means a great deal. Charlie Hurley was only 6’3” and the aforementioned Steve Hetzke a mere 6’2”. Tommy Sorenson and Quinny are the same height, so if he does as well as either of those two, we will be highly delighted.

* he becomes the ninth French born player to turn out for us, following in such distinguished footsteps as Lillian Laslandes, Anthony Le Tallac and David Bellion.

* he appears to be tattoo free, a rarity amongst current footballers.

* he made his Spurs debut against us in 2007, the game when Michael (“If it moves, I’ll back it”) Chopra bagged a 90th minute winner.
Should he remain fit, he could well prove to be a considerable asset for us – big and strong and a sound organiser. Hopefully, there will be no earthquakes on Wearside other than those caused by centre forwards hitting the ground as he tackles them.

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The Lars Word: Sunderland is in England too ye knaa!

Malcolm Dawson writes…..whilst we are waiting for those who could get to The Cottage last night to send us their stuff, we’ve time to fit in a piece from Lars Knutsen who despite the Scandanavian name is as Mackem as they come and now lives part of the time in Cambridge UK and the rest of the time in Pennsylvania USA. Native North Easterners know that we inhabit a different world to those in the Home Counties and the trendy parts of the capital and those of us who have lived away from the region are aware that there is something unique about the area stretching from just south of the Tees to just north of the Tyne. Those who live in The Black Country, The Potteries, The West Riding etc. will also claim a shared culture of their own that distinguishes themselves from other parts of the UK but what we maybe have in common with them, is a feeling that when it comes to the national media we are somehow viewed as less important than the area within sniffing distance of the M25. Lars certainly thinks so as he shares his thoughts on southern bias.

Lars Knutsen
Lars Knutsen

All through my 40+ year Sunderland-supporting career, I have been aware of the London/Lancashire bias in England’s top division. It is not an illusion, it is real.

All thinking Sunderland fans know the feeling when for example, we win at Chelsea and the headlines are all about goings on at Spurs or Manchester United. Or when the otherwise excellent 5Live Monday Night Club does not really go in depth on any win for the Black Cats, but the pundits prefer to talk about Liverpool’s substitute list or even Mike Ashley’s latest loan, and the prospects for a subsequent takeover attempt at Rangers FC..

I do not usually buy the Daily Mail, but when handed one on January 30th on boarding a BA flight, I did actually spend time reading it. An article on page 95 stated that Sunderland AFC is the Premiership club whose fans have to fight sleep the most, as this season they have the longest to wait to see their team on Match of the Day. “Gus Poyet’s team have held the bottom slot on a Saturday night – which usually airs close to or after midnight – seven times this season, once more than goal-shy Aston Villa, and twice more than Crystal Palace or Swansea”. Clearly the BBC producers assume that our solidly northern city is in a different time zone.

Nobody around London seems really to know where Sunderland is, never mind who the players are. Why should any self-respecting sports journalist waste column inches on a club that Villa fans taunt in the terrace chant: “Small team in Scotland, you’re just a small team in Scotland, small team in Scotland”?

The feeling I am sure is mutual, in Tyne & Wear – (and who ever thought of putting those two areas together? Bring back County Durham, I say) – London often feels like it is on another planet. I grew up with the Roker Park, Fulwell End chants of “we hate the Cockneys”, which would be directed at the supporters of teams even to the north of Watford Gap – Luton Town for example. I know the feeling from when as a young lad in East Boldon – I could cycle to the match, leave my bike in my aunt’s back garden on Park Avenue, Roker, and walk to the Fulwell End. But to get to London I had to cross Hadrian’s Wall by train and stray into Newc**tle. It was almost worth taking the train to Durham from Mackem territory to avoid that particular horror…

OK, I exaggerate slightly to make a point, but when I viewed the recently-screened 50 Best FA Cup moments on TV, timed with the third round, that wonderful May 5 1973 victory over Leeds United was inevitably featured. The deeply revered social commentator speaking about that game said “none of even us knew who any of the Sunderland players were”. I might understand that about David Young or Ron Guthrie, but Jimmy Montgomery, Bobby Kerr and Dave Watson must have been well known by then even to the southern-based media.

Lars Knutsen touching base
Lars Knutsen touching base

Did they not watch The Lads win 2-1 over Arsenal in the semi-final? We can still see it now at:, but obviously since the game was in Sheffield, nobody from London registered its existence. Or did they simply prefer to forget that trauma for the Gunners? The quarter-final, second leg 3-1 win over Manchester City: was also an amazing victory but since that match took place in the frozen North, it clearly did not count. The YouTube images of the latter game are in black and white – it obviously being too much trouble to send a colour camera to Roker Park. Even “The Blair Witch Project” in a handheld, “found footage” format looks professional compared to those grainy 1973 shots.

Living in The South in landlocked Hertford from 1978 until 1986, meant that my local First Division team was Spurs and The Lads briefly had a pretty solid record at White Hart Lane. In 1980-81, SAFC drew 0-0, in 81-82 (2-2) 82-83 (1-1) and we won powerfully 2-1 there in the League Cup Final campaign of 84-85. But my local friends and workmates were more likely to be able to actually name a Belgian than to recognise a Sunderland player. That was in the days when “Name a Belgian” was a pretty tough dinner party game, well before the emergence of Simon Mignolet or Jean-Claude Van Damme…and may I just underline how good it is to see those names in the same sentence.

My time in Hertfordshire coincidentally featured the last time Sunderland was top of the league in August 1980, but my inner voice tells me with some conviction that the London press considered that to be a misprint.

This “northern upstarts” image can all be used to our advantage, though. We can be perceived as the Wimbledon-like underdogs, but without the violent, nutty aura of the Crazy Gang. I mentioned the overlooked wins at Chelsea, but I felt like this when seeing the team win on my only two visits to see Sunderland at Highbury. In 1983, after a 2-1 win, in the era of the Chris Turner, Barry Venison, Gordon Chisholm, Ian Atkins and Barry Venison back five, we outscored and out-defended the miserly Arsenal. The best the press could say about us was in the use of the adjective “compact” to describe the team, even though the above list contains two England U-21 Internationals.

Something does resonate in me when people think Newcastle is in a foreign country, given their local language. Some 2012 press reports did confirm something that Sunderland fans have suspected for some time: Newcastle is in Scotland.

The Northern Echo reported “A CONF– — USED holiday company in the South of England is insisting that Newcastle is in Scotland. Bemused Jamie O’Neill e-mailed – based at Gatwick Airport in West Sussex – to point out their geographical error. The 24-year-old, of Cumbernauld, near Glasgow, had been searching for holiday deals on the company’s website for airports north of the border – but the results kept including Newcastle. “I only e-mailed with the subject heading ‘Newcastle isn’t in Scotland’, didn’t expect a reply.”

But he was left astounded when Rajesh Bangera from the firm’s customer services department did reply and insisted: “Newcastle is indeed located in Scotland. It is a city, not a capital. Please feel free to call us for further assistance.” See: – that piece is priceless!

A final observation, before I rest my case: my passport says that I was born in Sunderland which is in England. I do wish London based journalists would treat us that way.

Hutch’s Patch: Sixer’s stand-in sees Sunderland frailties exposed at Tottenham


No Pete Sixsmith at White Hart Lane. The early starts for the Durham branch bus, the cost of a pint in London and the limited prospects of seeing Sunderland raise their game have done for him and trips to most matches in the capital. Monsieur Salut – ticket for WHL burning a hole in his wallet after work intervened – has learned not to count on the excellent but lesser spotted Bob Chapman, which almost certainly means we’ll see a report from him, too, this time. A place awaits you, Bob! Step forward our one-word ratings man Rob Hutchison, who worried about the 3-5-2 system, feared the worst as Spurs gobbled up possession and peppered our goal with efforts and ended up disappointed we hadn’t taken gilt-edged chances that nevertheless came our way. But he’s happy with Jermain Defoe’s arrival…

Read moreHutch’s Patch: Sixer’s stand-in sees Sunderland frailties exposed at Tottenham

Hutch’s Patch: how SAFC fared at Tottenham, in one word apiece

Jake: Rob's a man of few words
Jake: Rob’s a man of few words

Rob Hutchison declares:‘3-5-2 delivers the same result. Sort the system out and it sorts the season out.’ Then he delivers his one-word verdicts on the Lads, proving himself a much kinder judge of Danny Graham than was Keir Bradwell but using the same adjective for three of what would usually have been the back four and a slightly harsher one for the fourth. Rob omitted Will Buckley so M Salut has guessed at that one …

Read moreHutch’s Patch: how SAFC fared at Tottenham, in one word apiece

Sixer’s Sevens: Tottenham Hotspur 2 SAFC 1. No fairytale for Defoe

NEWsevens copy

Pete Sixsmith was for once missing from a Sunderland match, so missed a game that ought to have been saved but ended in cruel disappointment. So the seven-word verdict is supplied by a supersub, Monsieur Salut (the bonus word, making it eight, has been eliminated and a late offering from Sixer himself added). After all the excitement caused by Jermain Defoe’s signing, Sunderland made the worst possible start, a big John O’Shea deflection diverting Jan Vertonghen’s shot into the net with Pantilimon stranded after Sunderland failed to clear a free kick. Despite a great Seb Larsson equaliser, the ball was far too easily conceded late outside the Spurs penalty area to set up a lightning counter-attack that Eriksen converted in the 88th minuted And would you believe it: our two best chances of rescuing the the game and possibly even winning it fell to Danny Graham? He was twice denied by Hugo Lloris …

Jan 11 2015 Tottenham Hotspur (1) 2 SAFC (1)1 *Useful Defoe debut ruined by familiar failings or, from Sixer: Other results make this defeat less damaging

Jake: 'that's hard to take'
Jake: ‘that’s hard to take’

Jan 17 2015 Sunderland (0) 0 Liverpool (1) 1 Selection and tactics raise questions about Poyet

Jan 10 2015 FA Cup 3rd Round: SAFC (1) 1 Leeds United (0) 0 Scraped through after a shocking second half

Read moreSixer’s Sevens: Tottenham Hotspur 2 SAFC 1. No fairytale for Defoe

Tottenham-SAFC Who are You?: ‘we could have done with Defoe back’

Jake has ways of making them talk
Jake has ways of making them talk

The headline was going to be ‘Gareth Bale is not diver, says Tottenham’s Spitting Image joker’, implying that this was a view only a writer of comedy could hold. Reports of Jermain Defoe’s rumoured, imminent signing – closely followed by other rumours that his pay demands will scupper it, and of course bearing in mind we are often used as bargaining chips by players/agents with other clubs in mind – inspired second thoughts, not least because our Spurs WAY volunteer, David Sapsted*, also mentions him.

As well as coming up with gags for Spitting Image, and about G Bale, Sappers is a veteran news hound – we worked together at The Daily Telegraph and he once, as news editor, ordered me to take an early cut so I could drive to Leicester in time for a midweek match (we lost) – and a supporter of Tottenham Hotspur (plus, for reasons we do not know, assorted other ‘second’ teams. Here is his irreverent look at all things White Hart Lane …

Read moreTottenham-SAFC Who are You?: ‘we could have done with Defoe back’

With or without Defoe: Tottenham Hotspur vs SAFC Guess the Score rollover

Jake hardly dares Guess the Score
Jake hardly dares Guess the Score

So, I awoke to an interesting e-mail from my friend Lesley Ciarula Taylor, from the Toronto Star newspaper, which was reporting that Sunderland had signed Jermain Defoe from the Canadian club.

The story had been in that well-known fountain or truth and wisdom, The Sun, and tweeted just before I’d turned in; it was an exciting proposition but no one else seemed to be reporting it and at least one SAFC fan on Twitter was pouring scorn on the source (‘I wouldn’t wipe my a*** with that rag’).

Read moreWith or without Defoe: Tottenham Hotspur vs SAFC Guess the Score rollover

Arsenal ‘Who are You?’: out with Wenger, fond of SAFC, don’t care about Spurs

Jake has ways of making them talk
Jake has ways of making them talk

Quaking in their boots in expectation of a heroic bounceback from 8-0 – or breezily confident, after coming from behind to beat Anderlecht on Arsène Wenger’s 65th birthday, of adding to our woes? We’ll soon enough find out which Sunderland and which Arsenal turns out. Nigel Payne*, our Arsenal ‘Who are You?’ interviewee, is a sports marketing consultant and well-known figure in horse racing (co-owner of the 1998 Grand National winner Earth Summit, chairman of the Professional Jockeys Association and a former communications chief at Aintree). Expect strident views on Wenger, warm thoughts on Sunderland and Poyet … and an eccentric score prediction …

Read moreArsenal ‘Who are You?’: out with Wenger, fond of SAFC, don’t care about Spurs

Sixer Says: SAFC young ‘uns earn their spurs against Tottenham

Jake invites support
Jake invites support

Vote for Salut! Sunderland in the Football Blogging Awards: see details

Unlike our 13-year-old pundit Keir Bradwell, Pete Sixsmith is not a contender for Young Blogger in the Football Blogging Awards. While he awaits a suitable category for long-in-the-tooth stalwarts, he’ll settle for votes for the site. But Sixer’s passion for the game at all levels takes him to the occasional Under 21 game. This is what he saw when SAFC’s youth took on Spurs last night …

Read moreSixer Says: SAFC young ‘uns earn their spurs against Tottenham