The Salut! Sunderland Haway awards: Peterborough, Wycombe, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers in the running

Jake: ‘thanks to all who participate’. Click this image to see all of this season’s interviews

It has become
a bit of a stuck old gramophone record, Salut! Sunderland‘s pride in a tremendous season of Who are You? interviews with opposing supporters.

Judging is at an advanced stage for our HAWAYs – annual awards for Highly Articulate Who are You?s – and with only a couple of sets of votes still awaited, front-runners are emerging.

League One has been a goldmine for the series (not forgetting our cup-game interviewees from other divisions)

As Monsieur Salut put it when writing to the judges: “I could have put them all in a hat and drawn three at random, so good have so many of the interviews been.”

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Presenting the HAWAYs: Wolves, Brentford, Hull among Salut! Sunderland’s Oscar frontrunners

Jake: ‘thanks to all who participate’. Click this image to see all of this seaon’s interviews

No one gets to clasp a gold-plated bronze statuette. But at the end of each season, Salut! Sunderland says thank you to the supporters of all opposing clubs by making its own modest version of Oscar awards for best interviews in the Who are You? series.

We call them the HAWAYs – Highly Articulate Who are You?s – and the process has developed into a strong Salut! Sunderland tradition.

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SAFC vs Burton Albion Who are You?: ‘let’s jump together into oblivion’

Dave Child: ‘sorry – we met professionally’

Monsieur Salut writes: the pain of relegation is not eased that much because everyone expected you to go down anyway. But Dave Child*, who combines being a fully-fledged Brewer with a spot of radio commentary (that’s how he met PDC), didn’t think the season would be as bad for Burton — or us for that matter – after their escape a year ago. I took the easy option for this edition of ‘Who are You?’, not because there are so few Burton fans to choose from but because Dave did a good job first time round and is a home-and-away regular who’ll be at our last-but-one home game this Saturday.

Dave is also a food critic, reviewing pies at the grounds he visits. Let’s see what he makes of the SoL fare …

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Leeds United vs SAFC Who are You?: ‘glory days may be gone forever’

Kevin Ayscough with a miniature Leeds fan, his grandson Charlie

Monsieur Salut writes: Black Monday was followed by Blacker Tuesday, the latest home defeat put in grim perspective by Birmingham’s win at Bolton. It all made a mockery of the hope some allowed themselves after the aberration of a Sunderland win at Pride Park.

But life of a sort goes on. There’s a prize Leeds United-SAFC Guess the Score and, now, a return to the Who are You? series (our Sheffield Wednesday interview never arrived, but there was no reason for reproach since the volunteer’s father had just died).

We first met our Leeds-supporting candidate Kevin Ayscough*, related to our own Pete Sixsmith through marriage, before the equivalent game at the Stadium of Light, a 2-0 away win that set the tone for¬†most of our home programme. Here he is again, disappointed at Leeds’s own failings and urging SAFC to keep faith with Chris Coleman for the battles ahead …

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Who are You? Recalling Mart Poom’s header and SuperKev as our Derby hero

Derby at Wembley 2006: Guy is second from the right, his friend and fellow Who are You? interview Nick Britten is one along from him

Guy Pearson*, introduced to Salut! Sunderland by the first Who are You? candidate of the season, his follow Derby County fan Nick Britten, does not think the Rams are good enough for the Premier League. He is not not even confident of making the playoffs, despite the hotel rooms he and his pals booked back in January to be handy for the final. Viewed from our position, his troubles seem piffling. It will come as no consolation to Sunderland supporters to hear that Guy does think we’ll improve on our current position by the end of the season – he predicts we’ll finish second bottom. Stand by for a thoughtful interview with a realistic supporter who knows his stuff.

And on links between our clubs, Guy remembers that extraordinary Mart Poom equaliser while we remind him of a SuperKev hat trick at Pride Park …

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PNE Who are You?: ‘stick with it Mackems; you’re a big club with loud, passionate fans’

Norm Shilcock with Preston born and bred Kevin Kilbane, who started his career at Deepdale

Monsieur Salut writes: thinking Kevin Kilbane had a bit of a raw deal from SAFC fans isn’t the same as thinking he was a rip-roaring success for us. I saw him play badly, but also saw him play well and still be slagged off. To our PNE ‘Who are You?’ interviewee Norm Shilcock*, he’s a ‘great homegrown hero’ and he should know because he used to teach philosophy.

Norm, who ‘blogs, blags and comments’ at,¬†nearly didn’t make it to Salut! Sunderland. Incompetence sometimes rules around here and I sent the questions to someone else not just once but twice before realising. So hats off to him for turning in his answers so quickly. Stand by for some terrific thoughts on us, Grayson and Coleman, David Beckham, PNE’s chances of staying up if they made it to the Premier League …

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Millwall Who are You?: ‘ridiculous for SAFC to be in this situation’

Stephen Jones: ‘I’ve been blessed as a supporter’

Stephen Jones*, our Millwall ‘Who are You?’ volunteer, joins the growing number of outsiders who doubt our ability to get out of trouble. Gone are the words of encouragement from earlier in the season. People who do not support Sunderland see the same signs as those who do. Of course, a few wins would change everything. But where are they going to come from given the difficulty we have in avoiding defeat let alone taking three points, no matter who the opposition? And a word of warning for our flaky defence: George Saville, who scored twice against us at the Stadium of Light, has been having a barren spell and may see a game against us as just the opportunity to start hitting goals again …

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The Birmingham City Who are You?: speaking of crunch matches …

James, with his girlfriend and fellow home-and-away Blue, Emily Drakeley

Monsieur Salut writes: James Jenkinson is a breath of fresh air: a home and away regular with a burning passion for his club, Birmingham City. He is still studying – at University Degrees in Football, Sport and Events Industries in Wembley – -but hopes to became a TV presenter. We have only two quarrels: he thinks City will win on Tuesday night and also suspects we will go down …

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SAFC vs Hull City Who are You?: (1) who will avoid the drop?

Kathryn Townsley

Monsieur Salut writes: although we sometimes – OK, often – go back to familiar faces for the Who are You? series, we also search constantly for new blood. Kathryn Townsley, who chairs the Hull City Official Supporters’ Club, is a breath of fresh air with a terrific set of answers that work best if divided into two parts. Today, she reflects on the prospects for our clubs – prepare for some more gloomy thoughts on ours and who can blame her even though she offered her views before our humiliation at Cardiff? – and tomorrow, she’ll be back with some brilliant memories from four visits by her team to Wembley …

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Cardiff City Who are You? ‘I wouldn’t write off Sunderland completely’

Daniel Bevan: ‘sorry Lads, but we’ll beat you and you’re going down’

Daniel Bevan* – great Welsh name – is an aspiring sportswriter and broadcaster, the founder of the In Off The Post podcast and blog and an ardent Cardiff City supporter. He says he saw our current predicament coming to the extent that he predicted another relegation for Sunderland this season. He hasn’t changed his mind. And he thinks his Bluebirds will continue to fly high but not beyond a playoff position …

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