It is that time of year. Salut! Sunderland is preparing to make its annual HAWAY awards, honouring the best of our “Who are You?” interviewees among opposing supporters. The interviews ahead of each match often reach the highest standards (the answers, I mean with due modesty, not the questions) and we are delighted to offer awards to the best as voted by our panel of judges.
But first of all, thanks to all who have contributed their thoughts on the traumatic if ultimately uplifting season just ended.
See the series in all its glory at https://safc.blog/category/end-of-season-reviews-2016/
Pete Sixsmith, who writes on almost every Sunderland match, will close the series but there is still time for one or two more offerings (one is promised) if anyone cares to use the contact function you see beneath the masthead. You hear enough from me during the season so I shall, as has become my habit, resist the temptation to add my own piece save to refer you, somewhere below, to what I have written for ESPN FC.
And now those awards. From the judges’ nominations already received, we have possible award-winners among warm, witty and/or wise supporters of West Bromwich Albion, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton, Newcastle United, Swansea City and even Exeter City.
There are familiar names among the frontrunners – WBA’s Dawn Astle, daughter of the late Jeff, and the Spurs contender Richard “You couldn’t make it up” Littlejohn. And there are down-to-earth home-and-away regulars. “Who are You?” has its good moments and its less good ones but is a hugely rewarding series that would produce 40 winners a season if only I could persuade enough sponsors to dig deep.
Salut! Sunderland is deeply grateful to all, fans of our league and cup opponents, for the time they devote to answering our questions whether posed by Malcolm Dawson, John McCormick or me.
And here, as promised/threatened, an extract from my own en-of-season review, for the pages of ESPN FC:
High point of season?
Four games stand out as contenders and Sunderland scored three in each of them.
Many supporters would pick the 3-0 home defeat of Newcastle United, also the first win of the season, achieved — in keeping with recent managerial history — in Allardyce’s second game in charge. It was a sixth successive league victory over the local rivals and raised the season’s first serious hope of revival after the disastrous start under Dick Advocaat.
Others would choose the win by the same margin against Everton on May 11, since this sealed survival in the penultimate game. Or they would cite the excellent 3-0 result at Norwich City on Apr. 16 because of what it did to the survival prospects and morale of both struggling clubs.
Yet it was the outstanding comeback, four days before the Everton visit, to beat Chelsea 3-2 after twice trailing, that ultimately defined the best of a bad season, calming gnawing fears that the latest battle against relegation might still end in tears.