A Daughter Speaks: how Wigan and Rochdale restored the FA Cup’s shine

Nathalie, left, and team-mates in women’s football. They get exasperated watching us play

Amid all Sunderland’s more pressing problems, it seems almost incidental to reflect on how old you now have to be to have any dependable first-hand memory of May 5 1973: Porterfield’s goal, Monty’s double save, Stokoe’s sprint and our cup.

Never forget that the London branch of the SAFC Supporters’ Association voted years ago to change the name of its newsletter from 5573 to Wear Down South, an excellent title but the choice reflecting younger – and also some older – members’ reluctance to be reminded quite so regularly of how long had passed since the arrival of serious silverware at Roker Park or the Stadium of Light.

And we all know what has happened to the status and allure of the FA Cup in more recent times. It was different in 1973. And if Monsieur Salut’s younger daughter, Nathalie Randall, were somewhat older, enough to have seen that win against lofty, dirty Leeds, it’s a fair bet that the emotion and glory of that day – and her father’s celebrations – might have have steered her into lifelong support of Sunderland, not Liverpool.

But let Nathalie explain how her own feelings about the competition have been affected by two unexpected results, Wigan’s heartening act of giant-killing and Rochdale’s draw against Spurs to ensure at least one day out at Wembley …

From an old birthday card sent to M Salut

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Moyes on the Boys v Spurs: ‘We didn’t get enough of the ball…’

Jake flags our new columnist
Jake flags our new columnist

John McCormick writes: I would have been at this game had it been played at the original time. I suppose I should be glad I missed it; I thought the first half was mind-numbingly boring and the second half was little better, plus we lost through a soft goal.

But I know nowt about football, so I have to refer to the letter which our manager writes to M Salut (and one or two others) after each game to find out what really went on:

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After Eight: transfer window assessed as DeAndre Yedlin strays into Hutch’s Patch

Deadline day brought one last player to welcome. We wanted a full back and that is what DeAndre Yedlin, a USA international signed on loan from Spurs is. ‘I’m delighted to be given the opportunity to play for a club with such great history,” he says diplomatically to safc.com. ‘I’ve heard fantastic things about Sunderland and the supporters from Claudio Reyna and Jozy Altidore.’ Rob Hutchison finds more than his usual one word apiece to run the rule over the eight imports …

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Taylor Made: a BBC football version of This is Your Life

Bill Taylor gets lost in stats
Bill Taylor gets lost in stats

Bill Taylor came across a nifty new BBC tool allowing fans of all Premier League teams to calculate their clubs’ performance during their lifetimes. Fellow Sunderland supporters – and others – are invited to have a go and report back any interesting findings …

There’s no evidence to support this, but George Santayana, the Spanish/American writer and philosopher, COULD have been at Wembley in 1937 to see Sunderland clobber Preston North End 3-1 in the FA Cup. Santayana was certainly in Europe at the time.

And the saying he’s most famous for could well be applied to the Black Cats and their long-suffering fans: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

For those of us who have trouble remembering what happened last week, let alone a few decades ago, the BBC’s football website has unveiled a magical new tool to jog our memories.

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Sixer’s Tottenham Soapbox: resilience the key as Kane o.g. makes the point

Pete Sixsmith
Pete Sixsmith: Real Ale, real-ief

Those who were there will be able to say “I was there” and those who weren’t there will be able to say “I wish I’d been there” but no one will be able to say how we came away with a point. Except, perhaps, our own Pete Sixsmith, who eschewed the triumphalism of the last night of the Proms to bring us this report:

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The Tottenham v Sunderland Soapbox: a Good-Bye to All That

Jake finds the words ...
Jake finds the words …

We’re not sure Robert Graves had in mind an end-of-season encounter in an undreamed-of football league when he wrote his wildly premature autobiography in 1929 (he lived on for 56 years). Pete Sixsmith was there, not on May 4 1929 when Sunderland were on the wrong end of a 4-0 thumping by Sheffield United yet finished fourth, but to see our reduced ranks of tryers and trying narrowly fail to defy a Spurs side that narrowly failed in its own fourth-top ambitions. If Pete’s reference to ‘Good-Bye to All That’ – don’t blame him for Graves’s preferred spelling of goodbye – means he’ll be at Shildon games more often that Sunderland ones next season, we’ll know who to blame …


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Sixer’s Sevens: Tottenham Hotspur 1 SAFC 0. Brave, daft, defeated

Farewell to 2012/13 season. 'I hope we never see your like again,' says Jake
Farewell to 2012/13 season. ‘I hope we never see your like again,’ says Jake

Despite surviving appeals for three penalties we would have been horrified to see denied to Sunderland, PDC’s team held out with great guts for 88 minutes, only to be beaten by a combination of David Vaughan’s stupid challenge, earning him a second yellow, and Gareth Bale’s magnificent finish 13 minutes later for the late winner. Danny Graham went close earlier for SAFC, Connor Wickham closer but do not get the idea this was more than a valiant backs-to-the-wall resistance. Pete Sixsmith, who captures the essence of most games with his seven-word verdicts, at least felt his long trip had been rewarded by a display of passion and desire …

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The Tottenham Hotspur Who are You?: ‘Danny, Danny Goes; Arsenal sneak fourth’

Jake needs to know ...
Jake needs to know …

Hardly the words Sunderland fans want to hear. Not the dreary north London bragging rights – life’s so much more exciting at the bottom – but we want Danny, Danny Rose to see his future with Sunderland and Spurs to let him move. Our final “Who are You?” candidate of the season, the Tottenham-supporting writer Dan Fitch*, founder and owner of TottenhamBlog (“the Spurs news site that expects the worst and is rarely disappointed”) wants him back and hints that Andre Villas-Boas does, too …

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The Lars Word: energy, drive, enthusiasm and entertainment just around the corner

Lars Knutsen
Lars Knutsen

Either that or shattered nerves have sent Lars Knutsen round the bend. He expects Wigan to stumble at the Emirates tonight and we all know what that would mean, unless stumble were to equal draw and they then thumped Villa by a cricket score while we lost heavily at Spurs (a combination of 6-0 and 5-0, for example, and we’d go down on same goal difference, fewer scored). That’s clearly not a scenario Lars envisages, but he does expect a surviving Sunderland to reinvent themselves as punk’s footballing equivalent. Without, Monsieur Salut trusts, the music …

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