It’s that time of year again and Monsieur Salut unveils the Salut! Sunderland equivalent of the Oscars …
Salut! Sunderland is delighted to bring you the results of our annual awards for the best interviews of the season with fans of opposing clubs. We call the award the Haways – the Highly Articulate Who are You? (s).
One of the few bright spots of the season was the continuing high standard of responses from our interviewees. Remember, people have to be found, they have to agree to do it and they must then answer a lot of questions (maybe too many; if the series continues into League One, that may change).
I offered our judges a shortlist but stressed that this could be ignored by any member of the panel who remembered better examples. The truth is that out of maybe 50 interviews, including those for cup games, there were plenty of potential winners.
In the end, someone had to be chosen for first, second and third places.
Step forward the runaway winner: Kathryn Townsley, a Hull City supporter who chairs her team’s Official Supporters’ Club.
Malcolm Dawson, deputy editor, was among three judges who put Kathryn in first place, noting:
“Comprehensive, well thought out answers, eloquently expressed.” The compliment was intended to describe each of his top four choices, the others in order being QPR (Clive Whittingham), Derby (Guy Pearson) and Bolton (Mike Gething).
John McCormick, our associate editor, made Kathryn his third choice but said: “Some thought put in and a generous response but just edged out by Bolton (Gething) and just edging out Derby (not Guy but Nick Britten – they’re mates so won’t mind too much having split the Derby vote – Ed).”
In fact, John’s first choice is the overall second: Brentford’s Billy Grant, of whom he said: “Enthusiasm shines through. I may be biased.” As a student in London, John’s ground of choice was Griffin Park.
Paul Summerside went for Nick’s Derby interview, the first of the season. “Hard to pick a winner – all top pieces of work but this one evokes so many memories.” Nick came third overall.
Wrinkly Pete – Peter Lynn – also plumped for Hull, though not for Kathryn. He found Gary Clark’s September interview, like Kathryn’s split into two parts, compelling: “Wears his heart on his sleeve – ‘and every time we played Arsenal home or away they cheated us’.”
But Kathryn received my top score and also Pete Sixsmith’s: “Beautifully and carefully written and a slightly different perspective from the others. As cultured a piece as one would expect from ‘Ull.
Sixer also loved Brentford Billy’s contribution: “His belief in the Bees and in Dean Smith came through really well. Passionate about and proud of his club. Most enjoyable.”
But his second placed interviewee, just ahead of Billy, was Mark Collard (Preston North End): “His love of Deepdale and pride in Preston shone through and I liked his quip about Jordan being head and shoulders above Joe Hart.”
As well as the winning three, there were votes for the other Hull Who are You? (see above), the other Derby one (ditto), Bolton Wanderers, Bristol City, Leeds United and Burton Albion. My own nearly-made-it entries were the last two of the season – the one with Fulham’s Joe Jenkins and a jubilant Wolves fan, Andy James.
In the arbitrary points system adopted for judging – 10 for first place, five for second and three for third (two for any fourths nominated) – Kathryn collected 38, Billy Grant 26 and Nick Britten 13. Hull’s “other” candidate, Gary Clark, was fourth, Bolton’s Mike Gething fifth.
In winning order, the first three will be invited to choose their prize from the following, all put up by our generous competition sponsors:
* Art of Football: happy to offer a choice between a T-shirt, a print or a gift voucher for £30
* When Saturday Comes: as in previous seasons, the famously half-decent football magazine offers a full year’s subscription. If you wish to check out their Sunderland gear, use this link
* 3Retro, home of our old friend Danny Taylor, will chip in a £40 voucher towards their superb vintage tops. See their Sunderland AFC collection at this link