The post-Tottenham Soapbox: Trevor Francis’s Hong Kong phooey, PDC’s progress

Sixer photographed by M Salut, framed by Jake
Sixer photographed by M Salut, framed by Jake

Spurs fans came here in numbers, and also butted in at Monsieur Salut!s ESPN pages, to dismiss the result as a function of Sunderland fielding their best side – they haven’t heard the name Steven Fletcher – against a bunch of under-9s. Were they as weakened as the SAFC team that nearly snatched a point at Tottenham’s pleasant little stadium in May? Pete Sixsmith puts them in their place and administers a roasting to Sky’s drearily anti-Sunderland pundit …

Read moreThe post-Tottenham Soapbox: Trevor Francis’s Hong Kong phooey, PDC’s progress

Sixer’s Sevens: Sunderland 3 Tottenham Hotspur 1 Trevor Francis 0

NEWsevens copy

So the new season, or the bit before it starts, carried on as the old one ended, with a game against Spurs. There, the similarities faded to nothing. We must not get carried away but the 3-1 win – after dignified defeat in last season’s final game in which our frailties were nevertheless there to be seen – offered mighty encouragement that the tide may be about to turn. It was no fluke; if anything the result ought to have been more emphatic. And how chuffed we all were that Trevor Francis’s pre-match babbling – PDC doesn’t know if his new men are any good, it’ll be more of the same next season, etc – were made to look so comprehensively moronic.

Salut! Sunderland’s own star, Pete Sixsmith, now resumes his inimitable series of seven-word verdicts from the many games he gets to, or the few he watches from the other side of the world …

Read moreSixer’s Sevens: Sunderland 3 Tottenham Hotspur 1 Trevor Francis 0

Who are you? We’re Birmingham (and out of Villa’s shadow)

Me at 50

We’re on a mini-run, they’ve never had it so good in living memory. Saturday sees Sunderland v Birmingham City, and only a home win would have us seriously believing in revivalist terms. Leigh Bosworth*, pictured with a spoof front page presented to him on his recent 50th birthday, is co-founder of the newly relaunched Yorkshire Bluenoses (a branch of the BCFC supporters’ club until now divided into parts of the county) and rises to the Salut! Sunderland challenge with some great thoughts on Monty, SuperKev, money, cheating, Wayne Bridge v John Terry and his “best season” as a Bluenose …

Salut! Sunderland: So, completely useless against us in the Carling Cup and you haven’t looked back much since. Even Villa fans must be taking you seriously. Explain your great season so far …

The Carling Cup was not going to be a serious competition for us this season and even the £10 a head entry that night was too much for the lack of spectacle dished up by both teams. At least it was easy to get a beer or two beforehand and to get away from the ground afterwards.

As for our journey this season, we’ve had many a regaled cliché (no, not Gael Cliché) with the ‘professional’ pundits: we have had the expected struggle because we were simply not good enough without any proven players, then punched above our weight, dug in and ground out results, ridden our luck, been over the moon, this season’s surprise package and so on…

In brief though, it has been achieved without so-called megastars – who can be quite divisive – but rather with a bunch of honest players, a collective desire that is greater when they are thrown together, giving a fairly formidable team spirit, plus improving football as they have got used to each other, though without the goals the build up play has deserved at times. All in all, a cohesive group of technically competent footballers playing as a TEAM. Johnson & Dann, as the new central defensive partnership have been a wonder to behold, as they were untried at Premier league level, although Big Eck (Alex McLeish) as a former central defender himself, is a good judge of a stopper – possibly better than the fella we used to have at the managerial helm.

Interestingly, a month after we capitulated at the Stadium of Light in the Carling Cup, we beat you comfortably at our place and that was the first in our 15 game unbeaten run that took us into the top half of the table. This coincided with the new owners taking full control of the club and settling things down, which has helped enormously.

Read moreWho are you? We’re Birmingham (and out of Villa’s shadow)