New man for Sunderland hot seat, an older man on the A list


Colin Randall writes: About the only way I could get through the first half of the Millwall game, even via the Barnes & Benno commentary on the club site, and what Gary Bennett called the worst goalkeeping (Robbin Ruiter) he could recall witnessing, was to read Pete Sixsmith‘s account of a night out with past players. Sadly Tony Coton couldn’t make either the event or the match (he might have got a game on either side as goalkeeping howlers led to a 2-2 that established Sunderland, on one statistical test, as England’s worst home side in history) …


As I walked into Quinns Bar last night for the launch of Tales From The Red and Whites Volume 2, Nick Barnes, the estimable BBC Newcastle commentator shot out and dashed downstairs in a tremendous hurry.

I hoped that it was not bad news for him e.g. the restoration of David Moyes as manager, the sale of the club to Robert and Grace Mugabe, the closure of the Harris Tweed industry and wondered if it could be news on the managerial front. All was about to be revealed……

Read moreNew man for Sunderland hot seat, an older man on the A list

Sixer’s Manchester City Soapbox: Sunderland succeeding where Leeds couldn’t

Jake: Sixer strolls down memory lane
Jake: Sixer strolls down memory lane

John Mac writes: Man City breezed past second division Leeds on Sunday, extending to 41 years the length of time that has elapsed since United last won the FA Cup (they have won the league twice since then but that all seems a long time ago, too).

Forty years ago this fixture could have been the final had City not come up against a different second division side in the fifth round, one that was much, much better than the Leeds of today.

Following the weekend Sixer’s Sevens summing up that Man City-SAFC game, and better 40 years late than never, here is Pete Sixsmith‘s account of his trip to Maine Road, when the first of three teams from the top division succumbed to the Stokoe magic. The general plan is pursue our 1973 cup run in similar fashion until May 5. It beats getting upset again about our lamentably early exit this season …

Read moreSixer’s Manchester City Soapbox: Sunderland succeeding where Leeds couldn’t

Blackpool v SAFC: Beer crates, pigs and Mr Punch

As the hoo hah dies down after the derby game and Darren Bent’s move to the Midlands, we have a very important game at Blackpool on Saturday. Our current form is not brilliant; since two hard fought consecutive wins, we have crashed out of the cup and almost allowed the Mags to claim undisputable bragging rights for the rest of the season So, let’s wallow in a little bit of nostalgia as Pete Sixsmith reminisces about three visits to the seaside town that is noted for fresh air and fun, one in the 60s, one in the 70s and – to follow later in the week – one in the 80s.

My first visit to Bloomfield Road was in September 1964 in a proper First Division game. I was 13, Colin was 15 and he played a major part in persuading my reluctant father that I be allowed to go to the game on Billy Reilly’s bus. Colin convinced him that we would be ok and that no drinking would take place on the Central Coaches flyer and that after the game we would go to Woolworths for a meal before taking a tram (probably in the shape of a Mississippi river boat) see the illuminations.

Well, the first part was wrong with a capital W. The bus was full of Shildon’s finest drinkers, including Michael Jones and his somewhat overweight brother who rejoiced in the nickname of Jasper. He was a drinking legend in the town and he took up two seats on the coach because of his mighty girth.

We were picked up at The King William and the bus meandered down to Close House, where the adults got off and shot into the Royal Hotel for a couple of pints while Billy Reilly and Kenny Snowdon loaded the bus up with crate upon crate of Newcastle Brown Ale.

Read moreBlackpool v SAFC: Beer crates, pigs and Mr Punch

Who are you? We’re Barrow. Who?! You heard, Barrow


Once he’d left football, Vic Halom, a hero of 1973 and therefore a justifiably revered figure at Sunderland, was involved in a company called, if I recall correctly, something like Disaster Solutions or Disaster Management. It was one of those record-breaking bad Premier seasons of ours when I met him before an obligatory pounding at Old Trafford, and I remember wondering whether SAFC’s predicament was beyond even Vic’s powers to resolve. That’s a long way of introducing Andrew Steel*, Barrow fan and football blogger (check out Halftime Oranges), who reminds us that Vic also made a big impact at his club. Andrew also has soft spots for Liverpool and Inter MIlan, but Barrow come first and he will be part of the army of fans making their way cross-country for Saturday’s FA Cup third round tie, a dream for him, hostage to fortune for us …

Salut! Sunderland:What does it mean to you, as a fan, to have drawn Sunderland away? Better than Boro away, I imagine.

I was made up when I saw the draw, although I was a little cautious about getting ahead of myself as, to be honest, I didn’t think we’d beat Oxford.

Last year was amazing. I’d never thought I’d watch Barrow playing Premier League opposition in a competitive match. It’s the stuff of dreams, so twice in two seasons is just magical.

For me, this year’s draw was definitely bigger than Boro. With no disrespect to Boro, Sunderland is a bigger club with a better following. I’m very much looking forward my first trip to the Stadium of Light

Read moreWho are you? We’re Barrow. Who?! You heard, Barrow