What a result that was, says Monsieur Salut. But why does it always seem to happen like this? A player goes months without scoring, a club keeps losing as if for fun, a manager is sacked … and then we come along. The variation of the theme this time is that Wimbledon,rock bottom of League One, suddenly hit a flash of form and dispatched Premier League opposition in the FA Cup. I heard a Hammers fan on TalkSport yesterday and he was apoplectic that his team – otherwise going nowhere special, upwards or downwards – couldn’t muster the spirit and quality to overcome such a modest obstacle to progress in one competition where glory might just be possible.
Our first of possibly two Wombling Who are You? interviewees, Mark Sturges*, answered the Salut! Sunderland questions before the FA cup tie, but his additional thoughts were invited. It’s fair to say there was an air of grim resignation about his original replies but he now adds ths: “The team played very well- surprising as we’d lost 0-3 at home to Fleetwood on the Tuesday. This team has proved we can compete so must start showing that in the league IF we are to have a chance of survival before it’s too late’ …
Another game, another prize Guess the Score. Be first to be right, have a UK delivery address and – whoever you support – you will win the mug (a Wimbledon or neutral winner would be found something suitable).
We need to start winning again and we probably didn’t need Wimbledon to have a morale-boosting FA Cup victory over West Ham United.
But in a spirit of friendship, we hand over the rest of this edition of the competition to Gary Jordan*, one of several Wimbledon supporters who responded to a plea for help with the Who are You? interview.
There has been a lot of anger and a fair amount of gallows humour among West Ham fans at the choice of our old friend David Moyes to replace the sacked Slaven Bilic as manager.As far as Monsieur Salut can tell, Moyes has not yet announced that the Hammers are in a relegation scrap. Nor has he said the players he needs in January won’t be available to him. Why, he hasn’t even told anyone from LBC Radio she deserves a slap or apologised – yet – for being self-defeatingly dour, honest and ever-so-sure of his ability.And with supreme faith in their new man, the West Ham board has made the appointment for all of six months, ie to the end of the season. That’s the stuff!
Earlier this week, the West Ham United fan site asked for reciprocal links with Salut! Sunderland, now established. I invited my contact there, Ade, to share anything his site did by way of covering Moyes. And here it is, with some mischief-making along the way drawn from other sources …
Monsieur Salut writes: in fact there were many more cheers for a decent 70-minute outing for Duncan. The crowd watching the Sunderland Under 23s against West Ham appreciated his running, his passion and the mere fact that he’s back. If Pete Sixsmith offers two cheers not three, it is because he also noticed a familiar Watmore failing: what to do at the end of one of his bursts of speed that leave opponents trailing behind. But it will be good to have his flair and his commitment back in the side.
I wrote recently about the death of a friend and former colleague Charlie Whebell, a West Ham supporter of the old school. He’d have enjoyed watching his young ‘uns remind everyone of the importance of taking chances (and been impressed by the willingness of the subs to chat to spectators) …
Monsieur Salut writes: Charlie Whebell was just 64 when he died at the beginning of this month. He was not a Sunderland supporter but a Hammer through and through and right down to his solid East End roots. He was a treasured colleague, both in London and Abu Dhabi, and his presence, sparkle and wit seemed to enrich the lives of all who came across him.
Not one of us maybe, but his beautiful words – Charlie was a gifted writer – did grace these pages just 16 months ago, when he mused poignantly from the Middle East on his sense of loss at the end of an era, West Ham’s final home game at the Boleyn or, as we call it, Upton Park. He said later that he recognised Sunderland supporters, by implication the older ones with their memories of Roker Park, as kindred spirits.
Read it in full at this link and you will see why it was warmly received by our readers.
Charlie was looking forward to lots of golf and football in retirement. Illness put paid to that, with cruel haste. But wherever Charlie was known, among friends still in the UAE or dispersed around the word (many of whom knew him far better than I ever did), glasses have been raised in his honour. I raise mine now …
John McCormick writes: I get regular
abusebanter from certain people who believe Anfield is a good value, top-class stadium. It isn’t, as I keep telling them, and now there’s proof.
But first I must make mention of Huddersfield, whose fans were told – some nine or ten years ago, apparently – that any who kept their season ticket would be able to renew it for £100 in the event of promotion. That’s not a bad way to reward loyalty and it surely resulted in the best value season ticket in the premiership. In contrast, former “who are you” guest Will Panduro paid about £1500 for his ticket at White Hart Lane last season, admittedly for a pretty good seat.
You might be tempted to say that Londoners earn a lot more, so can afford to pay higher prices but that’s not necessarily so, which poses the question “whose season tickets are the most affordable?” One answer comes from Ticketgum.com, via one of Colin’s colleagues at journalistic.org.
And where do you think Liverpool, Huddersfield and Spurs come in Ticketgum’s quite impressive analysis? Read on, ladies and gentlemen, and all will be revealed.
John McCormick writes: It has been a strange day. First, an e-mail from Pete Sixsmith asking if I’d voted and including and article. I had, but closer examination revealed the article was his report from the Hull game and the e-mail was dated 7th May.
Then came an e-mail from Oddbins telling me time was running out – what do they know about our search for a manager?
It wasn’t until 5pm that normal service was resumed, with a request from Colin asking if I could post this short article, from one of our occasional guests, Abby Chinery, of journalistic.org.
Happy to oblige, Abby:
Malcolm Dawson writes………..if you believe the official figures, there were over 40,000 world weary souls at the Stadium of Light …
John McCormick writes: post match, on radio five live, Fabio Borini hinted at changing-room issues. When asked to elaborate he talked about injuries but did nothing else to explain. Was something lost in translation? You might think not, given the way David Moyes manages to suggest everything’s hunky-dory in his post-match missive:
Only seven to go before ‘Who are You?’ researchers have to start turning their attentions to fans of Burton, Barnsley and Brentford. Pete May* is our West Ham guest, a highly respected author of books about the Hammers but also Sunday league football, the ‘joys of Essex’ and Dr Who. He senses Jermain may be due for a return to West Ham but that, unlike at Sunderland, he won’t be an automatic choice for the starting line-up. Read on for Pete’s interesting take on all things Hammers plus a cheeky offer to buy fellow supporter Keira Knightley a pre-match drink …