Jack Rodwell has gone, that’s a fact, and rumours abound that Whabi Khazri’s on his way out, with a decent wedge coming through the revolving door in return. Over in Russia our local boys continue to do good, drawing praise from Alan Shearer and earning the club that taught them everything at least a few more thousands, money which presumably won’t be squandered on absent players. The SOL is getting new seats and the weather remains brilliant.
So how could the weekend improve?
With a post from Pete Sixsmith, that’s how:
This is the final instalment of the World Cup diaries of Monsieur Salut’s nephew, Andy Falconer, a good lad for all that he supports Boro (as he would, having spent his entire life there). Now back home, Andy reflects on an intriguing if brief trip to Russia 2018 and describes what he encountered there with some affection.At Salut! Sunderland, we’ve perhaps been more preoccupied with SAFC but FootballPredictions.com may be the place to go if you want to study the form and have a flutter on the remaining stages of the World Cup or, indeed, League One promotion prospects …
Our Boro-suppporting World Cup diarist – Monsieur Salut’s nephew, Andy Falconer – changes city. After revealing in the beauty of St Petersburg, he headed for Moscow. His 2018 tournament will soon enough be over – that pass-out from Sarah back home is about to expire – and he has now caught his last stadium game (see footnote for quick thoughts on the end of Morocco’s hopes)* and is returning to St Petersburg to fly home.
Here a few of his Moscow reflections. See earlier jottings at this link …
This is the third instalment of the World Cup musings of Monsieur Salut’s Boro-supporting nephew, Andy Falconer, who saves hard-earned money to get to far-off places every four years (he’ll feel lost when England or the UK finally gets to host the tournament again). He wrote it on Saturday, having had to settle for a pub screen in St Petersburg for his first game – the trouncing of Saudi Arabia by Russia – before making his first stadium visit for Iran’s unexpected defeat of Morocco …
England’s turn at last and even Sunderland supporters with only modest interest in international football will be hoping one or both Jordans do well. Our guest World Cup diarist, Andy Falconer, is having a grand time in St Petersburg, having caught one stadium match and watched others at the FanFest. Here’s how he spent part of the weekend …
When Colin put up his competition about prediciting the World Cup finalists I had a go. I chose England because I genuinely think they have a chance and Brazil because “why not?” But when I tried to look up the groups and knock-out stages to see if this pairing was possible I didn’t get far. I just couldn’t be bothered. And that’s why I picked Brazil, I suppose. I’ve no idea who the form teams are, haven’t looked at a betting site (not that I ever do) and didn’t even know who England will be playing in their group until yesterday. So I opted for Brazil.
Monsieur Salut writes: 0ur summer faithful will have noticed that I invited contributions from any reader who happened to be in Russia for the World Cup. No takers so far until Andy Falconer, not even a SAFC fan (he supports his home town Boro, where his mum – my sister – has lived all her adult life), was more or less pressganged into promising some occasional jottiongs.
Andy is well known to those who devour our Who are You? series, having contributed some fine responses last season – (‘Newcastle fans are noisy; Sunderland’s are noisier’).
This first item is really just a scene-setter. We’ll see how much else my nephew can provide once he starts seeing some football (which doesn’t seem to have happened for him when Russia enjoyed some shooting practice against Saudi Arabia, though he must have found a bar where he could watch it) …
With Russia kicking off the 2018 World Cup, as has become the norm for host nations, with their opening game against Saudi Arabia tonight, Salut! Sunderland welcomes contributions from anyone who lives there (and I know of at least one SAFC supporter in Moscow) or has travelled/is travelling to support England or Another Country.
“By our own correspondent” in Volgograd, Novgorod or Kalingrad would have an appealing ring to it – and, no expense spared, Monsieur Salut promises a mug by way of reward.
But why not also have a competition? Our friends at Art of Football, all Nottingham Forest fans but generous sponsors of the Who are You? awards and other initiatives involving prizes, are offering a print of your choice if you win this simnple quiz.
Monsieur Salut writes: now we know. In County Durham, Pete Sixsmith has retreated into the GCSE marking part of his year and declares that he will be paying little attention to the World Cup in Russia.
Here in France, the physio trying to repair my dodgy knee cannot wait for Les Bleus’ first game against Australia. As for England, a French pal at badminton told me the other night our problem was we’re too small a nation to be able to compete (maybe beyond quarter finals, maybe an earlier exit). A follow-the-wind friend from the Middle East used to support Brazil, now she roots for Argentina, bless her (mind she also manages to support both Arsenal and Barca and has had a soft spot for not only AC Milan but, ever since she borrowed a book from A Love Supreme in which I had a chapter, SAFC).
And plenty of Sunderland fans will be glued to the screen as the tournament unfolds, and not just because of the two Jordans who both still support SAFC. If you fancy a flutter or two, the place to go may be btts tips.
Back in 2010, Sixer wrote an outstanding series of World Cup memories. In this edition, he looked at the famous French campaign on home territory in 1998, culminating in that famous un-deux-trois-zéro victory over Brazil in the final at the Stade de France, roughly the French equivalent of England’s win against Germany in 1966. Here, from another dip into the Salut! Sunderland archives, he remembers when France were the cultured giants of European football
The World Cup is almost upon us. Time will tell what Salut! Sunderland’s contributors will make of it. All offerings welcome. Pete Sixsmith always comes up with interesting aspects and at least we have a handful of players to keep our interest up: Jordan Pickford (pictured by his occasional driver, this site’s great friend and massive Sunderland supporter Barry Emmerson) will be there for England, as will the other Jordan, and we even have two not-quite-left-yet players, Wahbi Khazri (will he score for Tunisia against England?) and Costa Rica’s Bryan Oviedo making the trip to Russia.
Sixer wrote an outstanding series of World Cup memories when South Africa provided the setting in 2010. And he again wrote compellingly about his enjoyment of the 2014 event in Brazil. Here is another chance to see what impressed him so much …