The end of an era. Salut! Sunderland’s journey will soon be over

ESSENTIAL UPDATE: please see this link – https://safc.blog/salut-sunderlands-mark-twain-moment-were-not-dying-but-in-reanimation/ – to find oiut what . is happening to the site

IF YOU WISH TO OFFER YOUR VIEWS ON WHAT APPEARS BELOW PLEASE WRITE TO this e-mail address AND YOUR COMMENTS WILL APPEAR IN DUE COURSE – THERE HAVE ALREADY BEEN MANY KIND MESSAGES ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND THESE WILL BE REPRODUCED HERE

YOU CAN ALSO COMMENT AT OUR FACEBOOK GROUP. This is the link

Monsieur Salut, aka Colin Randall, has a personal message for the valued readers of Salut! Sunderland …

All good things come to an end. Or so it is said.

Whether Salut! Sunderland is seen as a good thing can be left to others to judge. But it looks very much as if it is coming to an end.

After very nearly 13 years, in which time the site has been visited more than 4.2 million times (that’s using a statistical counter installed some time after our launch so the true figure is higher), I have decided I can no longer devote the time I consider necessary to maintain the high standards we have consistently aimed to achieve. Salut! Sunderland will not be regularly updated after Dec 31 2019 and may not be updated at all. Some time is left in the hosting agreement with GoDaddy and the site will still be visible until that ends. A sleeping but doomed beauty is my fanciful description..

There is no takeover consortium hovering overhead to drop to our rescue. None of those who have helped tirelessly to ensure the site’s presence, and we hope relevance, can make the much greater commitment needed to run Salut! Sunderland after my departure. I see little prospect of younger or more available Sunderland supporters coming along to pick up the relay baton.

My decision has nothing to do with events at the club or with any loss of the passion I have felt for Sunderland AFC since my very first games in the early 1960s, starting with Brian Clough scoring our winner at Ayresome Park.

I signed up as a fan for life and am proud to remain one, as I shall to my dying day. I know and like Charlie Methven. I appreciate what he and especially Stewart Donald have been trying to do and hope to live to see better days restored at the Stadium of Light.

The reasons for my decision are varied. Without any disrespect for those who voted to leave the EU, provided they did not do so on racist or generally anti-foreigner grounds and do not seek what I believe would be the most ruinous outcome of all, no deal, Brexit has a part to play. My wife is French and we both have bureaucratic mountains to climb to safeguard a life we have for many years divided between our two countries. That is my present priority.

I also need, despite advanced years, to earn money. Freelance journalism of the sort I do has become a harder and harder market. I am an old-fashioned, mostly serious print journalist despite what I have being doing online for the past 15 years or so. Print, as we all know, is dying; even the excellent When Saturday Comes magazine is in trouble.

Salut! Sunderland has never made money, not even enough truly to cover costs and, until this season, offer competition prizes, and not for a long time sufficient even to offer a spot of beer money for our star writer Pete Sixsmith, deputy editor Malcolm Dawson, associate editor John McCormick, illustrator John Clark (“Jake”) or any of our regular or occasional contributors. WSC nobly turns away all betting ads; we have occasionally accepted them, with conditions and also a lot of misgivings, but even they – I am actually glad to say – have almost completely dried up. A cack-handed attempt to flog off T-shirts and other gear failed as it deserved to.

Jake: ‘we have some good times’

And then there are the technical problems – occasional crashes of the site, unexplained shutdowns and a really painful experience when a malicious hacking operation led to pages of Salut! Sunderland redirecting to a sleazy Turkish escort agency. Today, despite all the money I have had to spend with GoDaddy, no reader can post comments and neither I nor, it seems, GoDaddy, can readily fix it. I can no longer justify further outlays for real or partial solutions to such problems. It is, quite simply, demoralising.

Over the. years, we have enjoyed some very healthy readership statistics., if wildly fluctuating On any one day, we could receive a couple of 100 “hits” or more than 3/4,000.

But we have not built a large core of Sunderland-supporting readers who regard a visit here once every day or couple of days as essential. People come here by and large when appealing headlines appear on newsnow.co.uk and most of them clearly do not keep on coming after the first visit. Our Facebook group has well over 800 members but, at a guess, only about a quarter at most come regularly to the site. Some posts, where the headlines mention other clubs, seem to draw more supporters of those clubs than of Sunderland. I blame no one for this. We may be getting a lot wrong in the way we present our wares to the public.

Yet it is a significant deterrent to our efforts when an excellent piece of writing, whether by Sixer or Malcolm or John or one of our valued contributors, attracts paltry readership figures. Maybe if we had more knowhow on such matters like SEO – effectively a way of boosting traffic but costly if professionals are used – we would be in a different position.

AS MANY READERS KNOW, WE CANNOT CURRENTLY PUBLISH COMMENTS. IF YOU WISH TO OFFER YOUR VIEWS ON WHAT APPEARS BELOW PLEASE WRITE TO this e-mail address AND YOUR COMMENTS WILL APPEAR IN DUE COURSE

But the demands, new and existing, on my own time would be the same. It is time to go. I do so with heartfelt thanks to Messrs Sixsmith, Dawson. McCormick, Clark and also Wrinkly Pete Lynn, Bob Chapman, Ken Gambles, John Marshall, Bill Taylor, Rob and Olivia Hutchison, Paul Summerside, Jeremy Robson, Paul Dobson and several others I have unintentionally omitted. Joan Dawson was a technological godsend at the very start. Sam Haseltine served as poorly paid but brilliant web guru despite supporting West Ham. Opposing supporters, great and small, gave their time, wit and wisdom to our Who are You? series and sponsors – WSC included – provided the prizes for awards.

We also have a circle of loyal readers, in the North East and exiled around the world, whose names and e-mail addresses pop up all the time.

To them all, we bid au revoir with regrets and thanks. Ha’way the Lads. See you in the away end? And, always, Ha’way the Lads.

 

 

Colin Randall, as once captured by the star cartoonist Matt and enhanced by Jake

AS MANY READERS KNOW, WE CANNOT CURRENTLY PUBLISH COMMENTS. IF YOU WISH TO OFFER YOUR VIEWS ON WHAT APPEARS BELOW PLEASE WRITE TO this e-mail address AND YOUR COMMENTS WILL APPEAR IN DUE COURSE

YOU CAN ALSO COMMENT AT OUR FACEBOOK GROUP. This is the link

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1 thought on “The end of an era. Salut! Sunderland’s journey will soon be over”

  1. Sadly, given this post, it hasn’t been long since I knew of your existence. Nevertheless you have brightened my day more than once, and being an exile from my home town, I have enjoyed reading a much better standard than most dohsters around. I fervently hope you and your good lady have a seamless route to enjoying life as you are now. I salut you, sir!

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