West Bromwich Albion vs Sunderland Guess the Score: can we, will we?

Is a mug the way to a despairing Sunderland fan’s heart? Would the already rosy life, relatively, of  a Baggie be made complete by having something new to pour his tea into?

There is very little Monsieur Salut wants to say about the third Guess the Score prize competition in a week. It is painful enough to think about Sunderland’s wretched season without having to find something new to write about it on these pages.

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Sunderland, Hull and ‘Boro descending; Watford rising; Palace, West Brom, Burnley and Bournemouth on the level

John McCormick: bored
John McCormick: stats is thirsty work

During the close season we gave readers the opportunity to select their relegation favourites from the entire Premier league. Then we asked readers to select three candidates from the eight clubs which came top.

By  the season’s start some 3,500 votes had been cast in our relegation poll

Hull were firm favourites to go down, with Burnley and Sunderland giving the North a full house. Watford weren’t far behind Sunderland, then came ‘Boro, Bournemouth and West Brom, followed by one hundred votes  for “another club” and finally Crystal Palace, whose 67 votes (we got three times as many to become third favourites) must surely mean safety for them.

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Sixer’s Sevens: SAFC 1 West Brom 1. Van Aanholt to the rescue

Jake: 'underwhelmed, but a point'
Jake: ‘underwhelmed, but a point’

The first-half disappointments – Defoe’s missed sitter, sloppy play leading to WBA’s well-taken goal – had Pete Sixsmith gloomily tweeting a seven-word verdict he thought might survive to end: ‘Lacking in quality all over the field.’ It was difficult to quarrel with that. Patrick Van Aanholt deserves immense credit for almost everything he did after coming on for the the hapless Kirchhoff, his magical crossfield ball to Khazri setting up another good Defoe chance and then starting and ending the move for the equaliser. But don’t expect Sixer to get carried away …


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Sunderland v West Brom: random thoughts on Rondon, Vic Halom and Baggies anthem

Andrew says: 'Di Canio's Last Stand. This, also showing my brother, was taken 45 mins before his "chat" to Mackem faithful for last time before he was fired'
Andrew says: ‘Di Canio’s Last Stand. This, also showing my brother, was taken 45 mins before his “chat” to Mackem faithful for last time before he was fired’

Monsieur Salut writes: the review section of the UAE newspaper I write for, The National, has a feature they call The Long Read. I’ve done it a couple of times – from the Jungle in Calais and on Muslim writers threatened by fanatics for having a progressive instead of medieval outlook. It came to mind when I was posting Andrew Caulton’s ‘Who are you?’ interview. A passionate West Bromwich Albion fan exiled in the USA, Andrew goes on a bit, but then so do my questions. And I found his replies engrossing.

As a postscript, I reminded him he had promised a photo showing his brother and Paolo Di Canio at the infamous WBA v SAFC game that was to be PDC’s last in charge. He searched high and low for that picture now and it has now been been added to this follow-up …

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West Bromwich Albion ‘Who are You?’: once-reviled Pulis’s ‘searing honesty’


USA-based Andrew Caulton:’Astle Gates – a reverential place for any Baggies fan. I go to at least one game a season and have seen us score twice in the last five years’

Monsieur Salut
writes: Every few months, a satellite US radio station Sirius XM, asks me onto a late show (late for me) to talk about the latest woes afflicting Sunderland. That is where Andrew Caulton*, an Englishman in New Hampshire with fingers in lots of football pies, heard me (twice). We met again at Twitter, where he revealed his lifelong West Brom allegiance and readily agreed to sit in the ‘Who are You?’ hot seat. His recollections of the 1973 cup run and of coaching Calum Davenport, who played for us on loan, are priceless.

It is another long read but Andrew seems the sort of bloke you could happily natter with for hours in the pub …

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The people have spoken: Hull, Burnley and Bournemouth to leave the union

John McCormick:
John McCormick. Impartial, as always

Would you believe that some people, somewhere, think Man Utd  will be relegated? And that others say the axe will fall on Spurs, Chelsea, or Man City. Some even say Arsenal will go down.

That’s democracy for you, so please, please, no histrionics, vitriol or gratuitous insults. There have been enough of them these past few weeks and it’s time for civilised behaviour between gentlefolk, like we always get when discussing football.

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Let’s meet again: Salut! Sunderland’s HAWAY winner, West Bromwich Albion’s Dawn Astle

Jeff's daughter Dawn and granddaughter
Albion beauties, Dawn and daughter Taylar, all smiles before the storm, at the recent FA Cup tie away to Reading

Salut! Sunderland is delighted to announce Dawn Astle, inspiration for the Jeff Astle Foundation in honour of her father, one of the greatest players to wear the colours of West Bromwich Albion, as first-place winner of our HAWAY award for the 2015-2106 season. Read about the results at https://safc.blog/2016/06/haway-awards-1-west-bromwich-albion-2-norwich-city-3-tottenhams-littlejohn/. Here, to be read in the knowledge she was interviewed before the 0-0 draw vs WBA at the Stadium of Light on April 2, a game she attended, is how the interview was introduced and how it proceeded … Dawn wins a subscription to When Saturday Comes

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