Ten years ago this Christmas, Salut! Sunderland welcomed into the world little Abigail Emmerson, the daughter of Monsieur Salut’s confrère and consoeur, the BBC’s Martin Emmerson and his wife, Julia from Tyne Tees.
All was going well, two lovely sisters coming along to join the family, until Abigail, bless her soul, started going to see the team supported by successive Emmerson generations. For some weeks, the pain of Sunderland’s decline has been eased a little for some of us by a series of entertaining little Facebook clips showing Abigail and her dad chatting on matchdays. It’s been enough to make Barnes and Benno sharpen up their act.
Memo to Chris Coleman and the team: Abigail is 10 on Christmas Eve. We bet she’ll have a great birthday party anyway but think how much more fun it might if Sunderland had won a couple of games, three even, by then (quick, handy definition of ‘win’ in football terms: score at least one more goal than the other lot).
NB: do not report Martin to the social services department. Abigail’s ordeal is of her own making. Let her take up the story …
I have been watching Sunderland for the last two years and although I only saw three home games last season, all after New Year, I have seen most this season. I am waiting for my first win.
What is it like to see a team win in red and white stripes? I still don’t know. Even when I went to see Ryhope CW with my dad recently they lost, Sunderland RCA too. People say I am cursed but then again lots of people have not seen Sunderland win at home for such a long time. So it can’t be me!
My dad keeps asking why I want to go to the games and to be truthful I don’t have an answer. I enjoy the short trip on the bus to the game from the pub. That is when we do our pre-match video on Facebook.
But the highlight of the day is normally in the pub at the end of the game when we look back at what we have just seen. The bit in the middle is usually not very good.
At least we have had some nice trips away this season. We have been to Preston, Brentford, Boro and Burton and I even saw my first win at Burton even if they didn’t play in red and white. I couldn’t believe it. It was my 15th game.
‘Not guilty.’ That is the plea entered by both Martin and Julia. Abigail will vouch for their innocence in her suffering. But it could be a damaging feature of Martin’s case that unlike her, he at least can look forward to resuming his BBC Radio Newcastkle commentaries on Durham County Cricket Club at the end of the fooball season, (he previously commentated on football, from 1999 to 2003).