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:

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 …

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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 (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 …

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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

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