Calling Defoe, West Ham, SAFC: (1) stay, (2) dream on, 3) keep

Sunderland have rejected a £6m bid from West Ham for striker Jermain Defoe, Sky sources understand

Salut! Sunderland pays relatively little heed to rubbishy transfer window speculation.

In the past, much or maybe most turned out to be untrue, no more than the manipulations of clubs and agents or the imaginations of football journos.

But these days, clubs – some clubs, then only sometimes – are more open about their wishes and their dealings. We already know Slaven Bilic fancies bringing Jermain Defoe back to West Ham. We know Crystal Palace, absurdly located in one of the worst places to get to in London, even from London. want him, too.

These are my messages more fully:

Read moreCalling Defoe, West Ham, SAFC: (1) stay, (2) dream on, 3) keep

Diving for glory. Is blaming foreigners jingoistic piffle, or sadly spot-on?

Tom Webb
Tom Webb

Salut! Sunderland has been banging on for years about diving, the feigning of injury, unprofessional attempts by players to get opponents booked or sent off and other forms of cheating. The issue is raised with every “Who are You?” interviewee and I can think of only one or two who said too much fuss was made of it.

But should we really accept that British players are largely blameless, or that they were until they caught the nasty habits of Johnny Foreigner?

Read moreDiving for glory. Is blaming foreigners jingoistic piffle, or sadly spot-on?

Taylor Made: a BBC football version of This is Your Life

Bill Taylor gets lost in stats
Bill Taylor gets lost in stats

Bill Taylor came across a nifty new BBC tool allowing fans of all Premier League teams to calculate their clubs’ performance during their lifetimes. Fellow Sunderland supporters – and others – are invited to have a go and report back any interesting findings …

There’s no evidence to support this, but George Santayana, the Spanish/American writer and philosopher, COULD have been at Wembley in 1937 to see Sunderland clobber Preston North End 3-1 in the FA Cup. Santayana was certainly in Europe at the time.

And the saying he’s most famous for could well be applied to the Black Cats and their long-suffering fans: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

For those of us who have trouble remembering what happened last week, let alone a few decades ago, the BBC’s football website has unveiled a magical new tool to jog our memories.

Read moreTaylor Made: a BBC football version of This is Your Life

Relegation 2016: Bournemouth and Watford, Norwich or Leicester. Not Villa or Newcastle (or SAFC)

John McCormick:
John McCormick: I’m biased. Are you?

Casual visitors to this site might might not be aware that at the start of last season I made a prediction about who would suffer relegation from the Premiership and then tracked those clubs (and SAFC, of course) over the season. At the end of my final post of the series I set up a poll to see who readers thought would be relegated at the end of the coming season.

With almost four hundred votes cast you might think the results bear scrutiny. But think again. The average PL attendance is 36,000. MOTD can attract over 4 million.  More than 26 million viewers watched FA Cup action on TV during last January. So a few hundred’s  really small beer, especially as each reader can have three votes.

Read moreRelegation 2016: Bournemouth and Watford, Norwich or Leicester. Not Villa or Newcastle (or SAFC)

HAWAY awards: Everton, Newcastle, Stoke, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, Leeds on shortlist

Jake: 'we demanded answers and got them'
Jake: ‘we demanded answers and got them’

Salut! Sunderland announces the annual HAWAY awards for the opposing fans who gave us the best interviews this season. Only two to publish, so results should be available soon after the season ends. The first sponsorship comes from our old friends at the half-decent football magazine When Saturday Comes – a year’s subscription – for which we are very grateful …

It’s the bit that makes all the effort involved tracking down Who are You? interviewees worthwhile.

The Haway awards – made each season for the best of our Highly Articulate Who are You? features – are back.

Read moreHAWAY awards: Everton, Newcastle, Stoke, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, Leeds on shortlist

Keir’s Sunderland Player Ratings: Wickham stars but West Ham snatch it

Jake: have your say on Keir's assessments
Jake: have your say on Keir’s assessments

Monsieur Salut writes: whatever is to blame – school work, family obligations, a games console – Keir Bradwell has been quiet of late. Remember: he’s the one who does the Sunderland ratings at greater length than Rob Hutchison. Well, he’s back to entertain or irritate, according to taste; I feel he is hard on Fletcher, from whom there were indeed some good touches and one superb non-touch, the feint that set up a promising attacking move, and on O’Shea, though his penalty box wrestling worries me endlessly. The Hammers’ top man? Their midfield had the edge but Sakho, a threat long before he scored, gets my vote …

Pantilimon – 7
Couldn’t do anything for the goal and made plenty big saves throughout the game.

Reveillere – 3
Painfully slow and very sloppy. Is he Dossena in disguise?

Vergini – 5
Did pretty well once he came on. I’m putting him in here rather than later on as a sub since he played the vast majority of the game. Deserves to start against the mags, though, after the shambolic performance from the rest of the defence.

O’Shea – 2
Woeful. Weak, doesn’t jump for headers and beaten for pace every time by their striker. Have to get shot of him in the summer. More error prone than Brown nowadays, who should partner Vergini in the centre of defence for the rest of the season. Appalling recent form.

PvA – 2
Might as well put me in defence, he was that bad. Awful defending throughout the 90 minutes, and mind-blowingly wasteful from good attacking positions. Complete liability.

* See also: The Chapman Report: ‘disappointing finale but at least no one ‘walked’ through this game: https://safc.blog/2015/03/the-chapman-report-from-west-ham-disappointing-finale-but-no-one-walked/

Larsson – 6
Decent. Needs to put the ball in the quadrant on corners.

Rodwell – 6
Very athletic, which is refreshing to see. Pressed well, but didn’t have that much of an impact on the game.

Gomez – 5
Incredible performance! (by Jordi Gomez standards)

Fletcher – 5
The little flicks are gone! Still not very effective though and subbed off for Graham late on.

Wickham – 7

Very, very strong. Best Wickham performance in a while and the best man in blue on the pitch tonight.

Defoe – 2
It’s a lot less time consuming to think of a list of things that Defoe consistently does well, but I have to write something for every Sunderland player on the pitch. So let’s think about all the things he’s not very good at instead – his first touch is abysmal, he’s quite possibly the most selfish player I’ve seen play for the lads, he can’t shoot, he can’t pass, he can’t stay onside, he can’t dribble, he can’t challenge in the air, he doesn’t track back and his work rate is appalling… I despair. Would honestly rather have Jozy in the team; at least he gave it a go.

Johnson – 4

It must be rather difficult being booed with every touch. Even so, had no impact on the game at all.

Brown – 5

Had no time to impress, but I hope he’s not injured for the derby.

The Chapman Report from West Ham: disappointing finale but no one ‘walked’

Robert Chapman: 'ever the optimist'
Robert Chapman: ‘ever the optimist’

There seems consensus that Sunderland showed vast improvement at West Ham – they could hardly have been worse than a week before – but that the crowd saw two fairly poor teams, neither truly deserving to lose or, for that matter, win. Bob Chapman‘s ascent of Sixer’s Soapbox was a little more painful than usual – read on for medical news – as was his hobbling tour of east London landmarks beforehand. But he left the Boleyn head intact and predisposition to optimism unshaken …

Read moreThe Chapman Report from West Ham: disappointing finale but no one ‘walked’

West Ham ‘Who are You?’: on Advocaat, Big Sam and Boleyn farewells

Jake : 'we have ways of making them talk'
Jake : ‘we have ways of making them talk’

The air of collective pessimism that descended on Sunderland supporters last weekend may have been shifted a little by Dick Advocaat’s appointment but has hardly gone away. He will pick up a hefty bonus if he keeps us up but must inject life and desire into players who have let us and themselves down all season. It remains a tall order. When you get to the ‘who’s going down?’ question in this interview with Gordon Thrower, deputy editor of the West Ham fan site kumb.com (as in Knees up Mother Brown), you get his drift from the reply: ‘Leicester, QPR, er, hmmmmmm’. And we can hardly blame him (he was writing after Villa but before Poyet’s dismissal and his thoughts on that, and Advocaat’s appointment, came as a follow-up). Welcome back, Gordon – we just hope we’re still around to seek out a Hammers fan for this exercise next season …

Read moreWest Ham ‘Who are You?’: on Advocaat, Big Sam and Boleyn farewells

The return of Keir’s Player Ratings: Seb’s his star against West Ham

Keir-300x175Sunderland 1 – 1 West Ham: Player Ratings

After being silenced by family commitments – and perhaps a spot of homework from school – young Keir Bradwell returns belatedly to action with his Sunderland ratings from the West Ham game (sorry Hammers, our players only; if I were marking yours, Song would be the star man, followed by Downing – Ed). Compare and contrast with the considered verdict of Pete Sixsmith, and the one-word ratings of Rob Hutchison

Read moreThe return of Keir’s Player Ratings: Seb’s his star against West Ham

Sunderland v West Ham: two penalties (one disputed, one denied) and a deflection

Jake: 'another draw, this is getting tedious'
Jake: ‘another draw, this is getting tedious’

There were other little talking points. Nolan getting away with a clear yellow card offence, the cynicism of the Gomez foul that brought him his card, the nastiness of Downing’s challenge on Reveillere.

Read moreSunderland v West Ham: two penalties (one disputed, one denied) and a deflection