A message from Ken Gambles, whose idea led to our mini-series Rate the Ref, presents an opportunity for Monsieur Salut to offer a final encouragement to supporters to mark Steve Martin’s performance in charge of the 1-1 draw at Charlton.
In his 1-10 list of ratings for each edition of the series, Ken chose a special ignominous mention for one hapless man with the whistle, David Coote. Alongside the (lowest) 1/10 option appears this explanatory note: “Coote-like (the ref for the Peterborough game). Enough said. Abysmal.”
Monsieur Salut offers the traditional Salut! Sunderland welcome to a new signing – Watford’s young striker Jerome Sinclair on a season-long loan deal …
Like many – most? – supporters, I am less than exhilarated by loan deals. They seem to have played a significant part in our decline in recent years.
But it is not as if our purchases and free transfer acquisitions were going so well that no loan deal was necessary. No one should be carried away by winning 6-0 at St Mirren; we have striker problems – I think it was the excellent Phil Smith who said in the Sunderland Echo that we were an injury to Josh Maja away from having no recognised attacker (no disrespect to Andrew Nelson, but he hasn’t played a senior competitive game).
Monsieur Salut looks at the case study in eccentric football management that is Watford FC – a rarity among clubs in making Sunderland look stable and serene – and wonders whether sacking Marco Silva and installing yet another new boss will make the slightest difference to their prospects …
Let us be cruelly blunt. It is not how football should be but no one outside Watford bothers too much which of the main English divisions – Premier, Championship or Leagues One/Two – they play in. Remember how little the rest of football truly savours a Wear-Tyne derby and multiply the couldn’t-care-less-factor by a dozen.
This is the prize-winning interview with Del Day, a Watford supporter, in Salut! Sunderland annual HAWAY awards. Del took first place – as you can read here – and has expressed a preference for the £50 voucher from Classic Football Shirts (‘I’ll get that ’89 away shirt for my wife – only kidding, it’s the kit she hates most!’) … bravo Del, and here’s your interview all over again …
The deed is done. Another series of Who are You? interviews with opposing supporters has produced winners. Read on to see who the judges chose, and why ….
The judges have spoken. This year’s winners of the HAWAYs – awards for the Highly Articulate Who are You? interviews conducted through each season with fans of Sunderland’s opposing clubs – are announced today.
And in clear top place is Watford-supporting Del Day, followed by Chelsea’s Ray Knight and Bournemouth’s Tom Latchem.
Salut! Sunderland is, as ever, enormously grateful to the prize sponsors – Classic Football Shirts, When Saturday Comeshttps://shop.wsc.co.uk and Art of Football, and the gallery shows appropriate products each offers – and will simply offer Del his choice of the three. Ray gets second choice, leaving Tom with the remaining prize.
If the mood holds until the end of this article, there will be a special award from Salut! Sunderland funds for another deserving contender. But the truth is, as Jake’s caption makes clear, that the strength of the Who are You? series – see the full season’s entries here – is the quality of the responses we receive from the supporters who agree to participate.
* a print from Art of Football. You’ll recall their highly individual depictions of Jermain Defoe’s winning volley against Newcastle United, Kevin Phillips and the heroes of 1973. A winner choosing this prize would naturally look more widely around Art of football’s range
Monsieur Salut introduces our annual HAWAY awards, with thanks to the supporters of all clubs played by Sunderland in league and cup this season who contributed to the series …
Cinema does it with Oscars, BAFTAs, Cannes and the rest. Pop has the Brits and Grammys. Salut! Sunderland brings you the HAWAYS, honouring the best interviews with opposing fans – the Highly Articulate Who are You? awards.
We are delighted once again to have a trio of generous sponsors. The rough-and-ready shortlist is with judges but I shall extend the process this year to allow a popular vote, using the same criteria including the fact that my suggestions are intended as no more than a guide.
Another empty weekend unless you’re a groundhopper like Sixer or a local league fan like Malcolm, which means it’s time for a relegation review. With six games to go in a compressed framework and a holiday coming up this is probably the last one I’ll be able to fit in.
It has been a long and tedious season (as have been the last four apart from that trip to Wembley, only three years ago although it seems like a lifetime, those six wins in a row, a sequence of wins against Citeh and wins at places like Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge *[see below]) and while some of our chosen teams have reached safety we haven’t and are still awaiting a conclusion.
And according to my calculations, as if you needed them, that conclusion isn’t good for us.
We went into the weekend with only the faintest of hopes. Surely the Lads couldn’t fire yet another blank. They’d be really up for it, for the two wins in four days that might, just might spark revival. Robert Chapman, standing in once again for Pete Sixsmith, saw the reality. Another lame defeat and the Gap grew wider at Watford. Robert looks back on a match that seemed, despite the premature mathematical interpretation, to dump Sunderland into the Championship …
So it was April Fool’s Day; a day for surprises and stunts. Could Sunderland possibly call all the pundits wrong, get three points and embark on the next great escape?