The Etihad, Stamford Bridge, Old Trafford: where The Greatest Escape was done

As Jake captured it ...
As Jake captured it …

Let our very good friend Paul Dobson, universally known as Sobs, introduce – at Salut! Sunderland’s invitation – his new book charting the astonishing events of last season …

If ever a season in which no trophy was won, and no promotion achieved, screamed out to have something permanent written about it, last season at Sunderland did.

From the indescribable lows like Spurs away to indescribable highs like Chelsea away – well, not quite indescribable, obviously, but you get my drift….. It was described by Niall Quinn as an awful season with some incredibly good bits – or was it a brilliant season with some incredibly bad bits?

Sobs (with green-hatted Sixer) endure a wretched away performance unrelated to the Great Escape
Sobs (with green-hatted Sixer) endure a wretched away performance unrelated to the Great Escape

Either way, it was one of the most dramatic and memorable in our rich and varied history – the sort that proves that you don’t have to win things in football for it to be the best game on the planet.

Nights like the cup triumph at Old Trafford, when old and young alike screamed the place down, or the afternoon at Old Trafford, where a certain Mr Sixsmith almost exploded with joy at our first league win there in 40-odd years, or the second successive 3-0 win up the road, were just some of the reasons the book simply had to be written.

As I said in the first sentence, we didn’t win any trophies, but we won a lot of friends with our run to Wembley, being the first to beat Mourinho’s Chelsea at the Bridge, seeing off Giggsy’s Man Utd, and taking four points from City when it should have been six.

The reason it overtook West Brom’s Great Escape to become the Greatest was because it was achieved by beating the teams at the top rather than those around us – and, of course, taking six points from our friends on the Tyne.

The book takes the reader through the campaign from pre-season, month by month, to the salvation in May – and it does help to know all along that there’s a happy ending.

great escape1I’m told it’s the size of a Penguin Classic, so it’ll easily fit in your pocket or a Christmas stocking, and it comes at just £5, so there’s no excuse for not nipping into the A Love Supreme shop during the week, or on match day, and picking up a copy. Also available from Waterstone’s in Sunderland, or from the online ALS shop.

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