John Baker lives in Idaho, writes like an American and thinks we’re Geordies. But he’s a Birmingham City fan through and through, has this website to prove it and responded in a blue flash to an invitation to write for Salut! Sunderland. So what does John make of SAFC? He quite likes us but thinks that with thinner, horizontal stripes – ideally, from his viewpoint, not until after Tuesday’s game at the Stadium of Light – we’d start playing better
Sunderland to me is one of those likeable clubs – likeable as long as you don’t get beaten by them all the time. By that I mean that us “normal” footy fans get tired of getting beaten by the Man Us, Chelseas, and Arsenals, but Sunderland, like Birmingham, well hey, there are points there for the taking ain’t there?
Of course, in Sunderland’s case it depends whether you hit them on a black or white season. I mean, all this yo-yo stuff between divisions makes my head spin!
OK, so this may be a “black” season, but after Tuesday’s game, I really hope you folk up t’cold north can turn things around and get to know the Premiership a bit. That goes for our blue boys too.
By the way, with regard to your “white” time last season, just count yourself lucky that we didn’t have a proper tactician at the helm, otherwise you’d have been runners up! This doesn’t mean that I’m prejudiced against you Geordie lot*, but the one we just got rid of would look the part leaning against the bar in the Rovers Return. No way is he a proper football manager! OK, OK, so his Newcastle affiliation makes him the enemy to you lot too. Good. Now we can move on to more serious things.
I mean, listen, what the hell are you folk doing in vertical stripes for Jimminy’s sake? Everyone knows that you can run faster in horizontal stripes, so at least have some kit designer design some “thin” stripes to lighten the load. No wonder you’re as unsuccessful as us Brummies! This is 2008 y’know, and it’s time streamline.
And now for Salut!‘s questions:
What did you think of our respective clubs’ prospects before season started?
That you would be laden with heavy red stripes, with us cruising by as “royalty” in royal blue. I also thought you’d have a stronger season under that Keane fella. Like us though, it’s not too late to go on a run.
When did you last see a SAFC v BCFC game home or away, and what happened?
That would have been at St. Andrews circa 1974. In regard to what happened I have no idea. It took place in the last millennium so how am I supposed to remember?
Have you been to SoL (obviously the last question may answer that). if so what did you make of it? Of Sunderland itself? Or if not, had you ever been to Roker Park? Same follow up questions.
I’ve not been to the Stadium of Light, but was at Roker Park in 1984. ‘Twas the summer and the game was controlled in midfield by one Billy Graham. I estimate he and his team beat off Satan’s bunch by about 12,000 – 0. That must be the biggest lopsided win in Roker history?
What about the signings each club has made in the transfer window?
I’m very pleased with ours, and I believe there are more to come. In regard to Sunderland’s signings they also appear to be shrewd and not overpriced. That said I know little about each of them!
Your predictions for both clubs for rest of season?
Improvement, with both avoiding the drop.
Do you regard Villa much as we regard Newcastle? Or are you more grown-up about such things?
I don’t resemble that remark at all! Villa are the colour of poo, but just last year I found out that my Mother was a Villa fan, so they must be OK really loike.
Memories of players linked to both clubs?
It must be my age, but after Jim Montgomery performed heroics in that final v Leeds, didn’t he play for us? More recently Stern John cost us two points with a late equaliser for you lot late in the game last summer. What the hell was he thinking?!
Club vs country. Who wins for you?
If the country is England, then club first. Perhaps the new guy will prevent good players from turning into anemic robots, as for too many decades now the England team has turned talent into average.
Who will win on Tuesday? Score? And how will you follow the game from your great distance?
The most likely result is a draw, perhaps 1-1. I’ll follow it on my laptop either via a stream or “play by plays” as dem Yankees say over here!
* John Baker on John Baker:
Saw my first game at St. Andrews in 1964 when we lost 6-1 at home to Chelsea. So, now you know I’m not a glory hunter, but an idiot! Saw all home games and a handful of away games until moving to Wales in 1975. Ten years later I moved to Idaho in the US, but still the pain won’t go away. A trophy would fix that though. I’m a photographer doing the normal portrait and commercial stuff, but my big baby is my photography tour business. I have four boys, and the younger ones wear their Birmingham shirts to school on a regular basis.