West Ham’s pay cut saga: the way forward for us too?


David Sullivan’s warning that everyone at West Ham, the club he now co-owns, faced a 25 per cent pay cut did no harm to the players’ mood, the Hammers dismissing Birmingham City with a minimum of fuss to put more pressure on us at the bottom of the Premier. As our own aversion to winning gathers strength, we wonder whether there might be a lesson in this for Niall Quinn and Ellis Short …

Two stories
about Sunderland and full backs tell us a lot about the nature of football.

Mickey Gray was a decent if unspectacular SAFC player, admired both for being a local lad made good and for the exciting partnership he forged down the left flank with Allan “Magic” Johnston. He is remembered less admiringly for his woeful penalty miss in the Charlton play-off final in 1998, and for a restaurant altercation with Wayne Rooney.

As everyone who supports Sunderland probably knows, he also won a star prize for insensitivity when, on the day several members of the SAFC staff were laid off because of the team’s failures on the field, he arrived for training in his gleaming new Ferrari.

Read moreWest Ham’s pay cut saga: the way forward for us too?

Hammers and SAFC: jaw jaw replaces war war

Sam Haseltine, our Hammers previewer and Football United techie wizard, cornered our own Pete Sixsmith last night for a telephone interview that delayed Sixer’s evening meal but should be clickable above. It was a good idea to record such a discussion, though this may be Salut! Sunderland‘s last word, for now, on the Ilunga/Jones incident and the various side issues that have arisen …

This week has produced a good mix of views on the controversies triggered by the Sunderland v West Ham match. Most people have expressed themselves strongly but within the bounds of reason.

Many, but interestingly enough not all, Hammers fans now say the recent bad injury to Ilunga’s jaw justified his reaction to Kenwyne Jones’s push (a sending off offence, as we have acknowledged from the outset, but a pretty tame push as pushes go). Some West Ham supporters clearly still feel he made an awful lot of the challenge and that his intentions in doing so were fairly transparent.

But no one should doubt that the lad has suffered a nasty injury. This was pointed out in one of the very earliest of comments posted at Salut! Sunderland on Saturday evening. But I do not think anyone is suggesting Ilunga was brought back into the side while still injured, since that would have been grossly irresponsible on the part of Zola and his management colleagues.

To the West Ham fans who have engaged in genuine, if impassioned debate, I am as grateful as I am to Sunderland supporters who have done likewise. To those unable to conceal enmity, but quick to fire off moronic insults, I merely say that this is probably not the right kind of site for you to be visiting.

Colin Randall

Salut! Sunderland AFC (Against Football Cheats)


“Old bald headed bloke” * – see comments – considers the response from Wearside, the East End and beyond to the Jones/Ilunga incident during the 2-2 draw between SAFC and West Ham …

West Ham supporters have rallied gamely to the cause of their side following events at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

They have done it with a mixture of solid defensive work and aggressive counter-attack (there have also been a couple of more cretinous offerings, but the ratio of joined-up thinking to no thinking at all has been high).

Read moreSalut! Sunderland AFC (Against Football Cheats)

Soapbox: losing face


The Herita Ilunga soap opera continues. Pete Sixsmith could hardly let it go unremarked in his report of a grim start by Sunderland followed by stirring fightback and lingering controversy …

Well, where to start after a fairly eventful afternoon at The Stadium of Thugs – according to weeping and wailing West Ham fans.

Let’s start with a moderate first half performance that began quite well and then faded badly as the Happy Hammers took what could and should have been a commanding lead.

Read moreSoapbox: losing face

So how is Herita Ilunga’s face? (2)

And another thing
. Shouldn’t a player – any player, West Ham or Sunderland or whoever – be subject to an automatic substitution if he writhes in agony, Illunga-style, on the ground?

It just doesn’t seem safe for them to get up and resume play, once the penalty/card has been duly awarded, as if nothing had happened. Who knows what damage they are storing up for themselves in later life?

Read moreSo how is Herita Ilunga’s face? (2)

So how is Herita Ilunga’s face? (1)

Quick post-match thoughts …

Hands up those brave, sportsmanlike West Ham players who spent much of the first half screaming at the referee to issue cards against Sunderland players.

And step forward the man who went down under Kenwyne Jones’s foolish push, clutching his face as if stitches and possibly one of those full facial transplants would be the only feasible remedy? BBC 5 Live said Jones had to go – since you just don’t raise your hands to an opponent, even in retaliation for a bad foul – but that there had been no contact with Herita Ilunga’s face.

This this suggests an unrelated injury, from which I can only hope Mr Ilunga has fully recovered. Let us hope all is well with him.

But just two thoughts: the most rational post-match fan’s report I have so far seen came from a Sunderland supporter who said Andre Marriner’s decision to award a second booking to the West Ham player Robert Kovac was a joke. And shouldn’t screaming at ref in order to get someone shown a red card – whoever does it – be a cautionable offence?

* E-mail from another SAFC fan: the play acting from West Ham, throughout the game, was shocking, a view not
at all shared by Hammers fans (one of whom e-mailed me “Yes but if you
disregard what you call cheating and we don’t, we deserved to win”).

That said Cana should have gone and probably would have had the ref not been
able to watch the video of the Jones dismissal at half time.

Colin Randall