A daughter writes: sorry Hull, you’re down with Sunderland and Middlesbrough

Footy loving Nathalie is second from the right

Nathalie Randall, daughter of Monsieur Salut, rues the collapsing act of the team she disloyally supports, Liverpool, predicts an Arsenal place after all in the top four and says Hull are going down with Boro and us …

There will be no “little” team
winning the Premier League this year.

Normality seems to have been restored with Chelsea more or less certain to win the title once more (hands up anyone who actually likes them though!).

Arsenal have had their usual flirtation with the top four, and it remains to be seen if they manage to scrape into a Champions League place, as they always seem to do.

The future of Arsene Wenger is yet to be revealed as well as those of players such as Ozil and Sanchez.

Liverpool had their usual great start to the season, lauded as potential champions before going on a dismal run which may yet land them outside the top four, with points dropped against lesser teams (even including Sunderland in that 2-2 draw in January).

Man City are finishing strongly but they will be disappointed that they weren’t able to make a challenge for the title.

Man Utd have been disappointing in the league but are flying high in the Europa League so could yet qualify for the Champions League by winning that.

Tottenham, as last year, got themselves in great position but seem to be pipped at the post for the second year running.

The usual mid-table teams have cemented their places there again, the likes of Everton, West Brom and Southampton.

Leicester caused uproar when they sacked Claudio Ranieri after he had guided them to an unprecedented Premier League title the previous season but have recovered [egg on Monsieur Salut’s face, maybe, for suggesting the dismissal was an example of corporate obscenity]

Sam Allardyce looks to have performed his miracle survival act once more with Crystal Palace although they aren’t safe yet [see my ESPN piece showing they are still in danger depending on final results – Ed].

1992 and all that: Nathalie in red, her dad in, er, a gruesome away top

As for relegation, Sunderland could not repeat previous seasons’ escape acts and ensured their drop to the Championship recently after a woeful season. It is not known yet who will join them except that it will be any two of Hull, Swansea or Palace.

So my predictions for the final two weekends are:

* Chelsea to win the title (no big surprise there)

* 2: Tottenham / 3: Man City / 4: Arsenal all qualifying for the Champions League.

Relegated: Hull to fill the final place.

* My dad to give me some pocket money for writing this

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Sixer’s Tottenham Soapbox: Plenty to like in a hard fought game

Pete Sixsmith: a man of myth and legend

John McCormick writes: I didn’t see much of last night’s game. I did see Jack Rodwell’s foul and would have had him off at half time to prevent a potential second yellow. But David Moyes apparently didn’t think there was any need to worry; Rodwell stayed on and had a “quietly effective game”, according to Pete Sixsmith.

What else did Pete note?

Find out for yourself as he regales us with not only another fine match report but also a slight diversion down memory lane, past Roker Park and towards 1961, when Spurs used only 17 players, all from the UK, in doing the double.

Read moreSixer’s Tottenham Soapbox: Plenty to like in a hard fought game

Moyes on the boys v Spurs: It’s a good point

Jake’s take on this season’s manager

John McCormick writes: I had a slow-to-stop feed and couldn’t get the audio from the SAFC website so I have very little to go on. I did think this was a hard fought point and that we made, and needed, our luck.

What of Mr. Moyes, who had a ringside seat with no stuttering, pauses or (thankfully) crashes. Here’s what he said after the game:

Read moreMoyes on the boys v Spurs: It’s a good point

Sixer’s Sevens: SAFC (1) 1 Tottenham Hotspur (1) 2


Almost every week Pete Sixsmith offers his inimitable seven-word verdict on our games. When, rarely, Pete is absent, a supersub does it for him. The full archive – see link below – encapsulates the matchday experiences, from darkest gloom to sublime elation, of a fan who is usually there …

Feb 12 2011 SAFC (1) 1 Tottenham Hotspur (1) 2 Beaten by side one step above us

Feb 5 2011 Stoke City (1) 3 SAFC (1) 2 Take your pick: Horrible result against a truly horrible team or A refereeing performance that defies reasonable analysis

Feb 1 2011 SAFC (2) 2 Chelsea (2) 4 Cracking game deservedly won by arrogant Blues

Jan 22 2011 Blackpool (0) 1 SAFC (2) 2 Excellent first half but tight at end

Jan 16 2011 SAFC (0) 1 Newcastle United (0) 1 Bacon saved by Gyan but scarcely deserved

Jan 8 2011 FA Cup Third Round: SAFC (0) 1 Notts County (1) 2* No excuse for failing in such fashion 

To see Sixer’s Sevens in full, click here. If an asterisk precedes the comment, the words that follow are the work of someone else because Pete is for once absent from the game or his verdict has been delayed …

Spurs was the ideal test for Craig Gordon’s triumphant return

There was a moment in the second half when Craig Gordon clinched my vote.

Despite great admiration for the way Simon Mignolet has performed, and without the slightest doubt that he has a potentially wonderful future which I hope will be with us, I regard Gordon as Sunderland’s No 1 keeper.

* Both images from our old friend

The incident I recall was over in a flash, The ball was travelling head height, straight at Gordon but hard and with a Spurs forward’s head inches away. The assurance with which the keeper caught it somehow trumped, for me, the string of saves he had to produce in the first half.

Even the mild criticism I made of his role in the Tottenham goal is tempered by the belief that he can hardly be faulted for seeing the immediate danger as the aerial power of the lurking Crouch.

In all, it was a highly successful return to the Sunderland starting team, fittingly at the ground where last season he suffered a bad injury from a lunge from Defoe that ought to have been punished but wasn’t.

So I am pleased to read Steve Bruce’s comments to the official SAFC site:

“He’s been knocking on my door. He is the number one goalkeeper.

But the one thing I didn’t want to do was take Simon out of the team having had five goals past him.

We’ve tried to protect him a little bit. Craig proved again at Spurs that he’s a very, very good goalkeeper.”

I hope Mignolet can live with the disappointment and draw strength from the fact that Bruce, taking his remarks at face value, clearly does not hold him to blame for events at St James’ Park. And, with an eye to recent speculation, I hope with equal fervour that Craig is not even thinking of himself as being in the shop window.

Monsieur Salut

Alan Hutton: tell Spurs he’s rubbish


Our brightest hope at full back since Mickey Gray? But can we hang on to him? Salut! Sunderland ponders the chances of securing Alan Hutton permanently …

Most Sunderland supporters who have seen anything of Alan Hutton are likely to agree that he is just the sort of player we need at the club on a permanent basis.

It has been like a breath of fresh air to see a full back so capable of getting forward and causing serious concern to opposing defences.

Read moreAlan Hutton: tell Spurs he’s rubbish

Soapbox: no luck at the Lane (for Sunderland)


Fair’s fair. With the hindsight not available to most fans – or any referees – when controversial incidents actually occur, Salut! Sunderland accepts that Kevin Friend got the penalty about right. A slightly reckless challenge, but not one that merited a red card. Some SAFC fans go further and echo Spurs supporters (not all) by calling it a dive, even if they also feel it was a penalty “about to happen”. Friends again, Kevin? More on all this later but first Pete Sixsmith delivers his own considered post-match verdict …

A six hour coach journey after a scarcely deserved defeat does an awful lot to concentrate the mind. Somewhere in the middle of the old Great North Road, probably between Newark and Retford, I suffered a terrible attack of fairness, not something usually associated with disappointed Sunderland fans.

Read moreSoapbox: no luck at the Lane (for Sunderland)