Spurs fans heading for tonight’s game may like to read this Tottenham preview, but not this piece about transfer speculation. Sunderland fans worried about my headline – will it prove a hostage to fortune? – can be reassured that it refers to a contest already won …
Salut! Sunderland said a couple of weeks ago that it would award a prize to the writer of the best comment posted between then and now.
Monsieur Salut is delighted to announce that we have a winner.
Look back at the replies appearing at Salut! Sunderland since the offer was made and you will see that the award could have gone to any of a number of contributors.
But in the top-class debate on Niall Quinn’s attack on stayaway, watch-it-in-the-pub fans (referrring to non-Sky, non-ESPN games), these thoughts from Alan Hedley, Seaburn-born but living in the Midlands, stood out a little above the rest:
“Niall is a believer, he has shown commitment and durability in lifting our club from the depths of ignominy to a respectable position, thus far, in a season where, once again, we have been beset by injury. He has, through his contacts, engineered the initial bail out and then a more stable and committed angel to support the club’s resurgence. In addition he has finally attracted a manager who is making a half decent fist of the job, for the first time, since that endearing reprobate Peter Reid who gave us back a taste for greater things and then lost his way without adequate backing from the then board.
All the soundly based arguments, both for and against, are of little relevance, for one reason alone and that is that Niall is Irish. A wild and joy filled race who love to party, drink, fight, argue or if your prefer it debate but most of all chatter with a relish often saying whatever comes into their mind at a given moment in time.
For many in the Isle of Green tact is not a long suit and of all the people who sit in a seat of power few can have been relied upon more than Quinny to speak out, when discretion would require that he maintain, in public, a discreet silence. Time and again he has discussed the spending power available to the club, when any negotiator would know that the last thing you want to do is let the vendor know how much you can spend.
The faux pas de Quinn is a fundamental part of his nature and is as much a part of his character as breathing. The saying love me, love my dog, is the only way any serious Sunderland supporter can view our hero because, like it or not, he will not change, indeed if he did he would not be the person so many of us respect, warts and all. No matter what any of us say, or think, we will not change Niall Quinn, he is his own man and by now there should be little doubt that whatever his areas of weakness may or may not be, his heart is in the right place.”
You don’t have to agree with my verdict. I always said it would be purely arbitrary. In any case. some of the other possible contenders don’t even live in our continent, let alone the same country.
And that means Alan and his wife, Sue, who live in Oxfordshire and get to the North East as often as they would like, will get to see the Lads take on Spurs tonight as guests of M Salut.
Given the the subject of the debate – getting fans into the stadium – there could hardly be a more appropriate outcome: Quinny on the attack, Hedley heads home.
His response to the news included a priceless memory:
“I managed to see Spurs play at the SoL in a game that has particular memories because it was the last match my 87 year old mother came to before she died. Although she had dementia at the time and we struggled with the steps, after the match – in true Mackem chivalry-to-the-ladies fashion, two hulking lads picked her up by the arms, to her absolute delight, and carried her giggling to the top.”
Oh, and it had better be pointed out that Mr Hedley and M Salut are not related, even though this is the second occasion on which his comments have won a little prize –click here to read about the first award..