As far as Salut! Sunderland is concerned, the Portsmouth fan known as Equinox* first surfaced in early 2008, when he answered the call via the Pompey online site to preview a game at Fratton Park. All the way from the south coast to a site for fans of a North-eastern club? Not quite. Our guest began: “Equinox lives in East Boldon. Yes that’s right, East Boldon, just a gnat’s wing away from your beloved SoL.” Living in the North East since 1989, he offered a spell prosecuting at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court as a good reason for an alias. Those days are gone, but he feels it is prudent to remain anonymous, the long arm of the outlaw being what it is. So what does Equinox think about the present turmoil at Pompey, and Saturday’s important game at our place? …
Salut! Sunderland: You have said Pompey is not a happy place. Leaving aside the Carling Cup (oops: Villa won 4-2) and last Saturday’s nice easy home game (vs Burnley, 2-0), you had a nightmare start, some green shoots and then another slump. What has gone wrong and has anything started to go right?
I think that it is fair to say that the stuffing has been knocked out of us, you can insert any similar phrase involving kicking and four colours if you want. Imagine being punched really hard in the guts and that’s how we feel. There have been stories, rumours, counter-rumours since Spring of this year and when you add that into actual factual happenings it really does look as if we are almost bankrupt and without a team. And then in steps Paul Hart who builds a team out of nothing, and, to be fair it probably isn’t the worst team tat the Premiership has seen but they had no pre-season and for a time at least, no wages. The past owner young master Gaydamak apparently said to the Chief exec that he didn’t care if we went into administration and then a feud started – Gaydamak ended up selling to the only skint arab in the village whose media pronouncements verged from the ridiculous to the downright mental.
And then we had all the bad luck going. In the first few games, deflected goals, very dodgy decisions, injuries you name it. And through it all Hart had to carry on trying to mould the team out of his rag bag of players. Personally I think he did well but there is no time in this league if your luck runs out…………….ours never ran out, it never actually started.
Give us the lay guide to what on earth is going on in the boardroom. Middle East gold, or a desert mirage?
Spin, more spin and yet more spin. The fans have been used by three sides of a power struggle, Gaydamak wanting to pay his dad back so trying to screw every penny he could to cover his financial mis-management, al-Fahim being utterly potless [allegedly until January when it is claimed he is due a big bonus but let’s see huh?] and al-Faraj who claimed originally to head up a consortium but didn’t and who claims to have big plans but nobody has seen any evidence of them. In the middle of it all sits Peter Storrie and frankly nobody knows if he is hero or villain.
How unlucky was Paul Hart and are you confident Avram Grant can turn things around?
Chronically unlucky but then they say you make your own luck don’t they. Honestly the bloke never got a break but the fans, although a vocal minority called for his head every week, could see and respect what he was trying to do.
As for Avram Grant, frankly I don’t know. I’m writing this on the night of th Carling Cup exit and there is little to be cheerful about after that performance. However a look at te league stats shows that we arent shipping as many goals as the people around us – but we arent scoring any to balance that out. Avramwill succeed or fail in the January transfer window
What is it like living and working so close to the Stadium of Light amid passionate fans of a team that’s not yours?
Huge respect to the Sunderland fans because they are by and large football fans – they can see us and whilst there is good natured ribbing, they know that ‘there but for the grace of god/allah/buddha go any other team if the sugar daddy leaves”. So the direct answer is that it’s great because there is genuine warmth and empathy there.
And your view of the other lot up the road at the MikeAshley@stjamespark?
Are they still there ? I’m looking up not down
Did Peter Crouch have the least intention of seriously considering coming to Sunderland or was he just talking up his Spurs deal? Why weren’t you asked to explain the region’s charms to his Wag?
No, according to Peter Storrie, Crouch said if he had to leave then he would only go to Spuds. Sorry. Personally I don’t think Crouch wanted to go but like most of the others his sale was enforced to repay the South African Bank and Gaydamak. The players could have stuck it out and claimed their contractual payments and that would have put us out of business so they had a lot of clout when it came to choosing their destinations.
England all the way for you? Or a confirmed club-before-country character?
Sometimes I doubt that Pompey is in England……give us a battle and as an island (for that is what we are) – we will be there but for most of us it is club all the way
Who will end up top four this season, in order? And the bottom three?
Chelsea, ManU, Liverpool, Spuds
Wolves, Bolton, Birmingham
Assuming Sunderland were on neither list, and in case Pompey weren’t either, where will our clubs finish up?
I think you’ll be top half for certain and possibly 6th. I would also anticipate a good FA Cup run for you.
Yep – we’ll get out of it !!! We’ll finish 17th
The Eduardo question: you need three points to stay up. It’s the last second of the last game and a Pompey man goes down in the box. Alone among those the stadium, the referee doesn’t spot that it was a blatant dive. You score, win and stay up. Take it gladly, take it guiltily or feel so ashamed you almost wish you’d only drawn?
Honestly, truly I’d prefer relegtion to cheating. [I’m going to get so slagged off for that one but for me personally that is the way that it is]
Should the names of Ngog, Henry and plenty of A N Others be added to that question?
I think that the financial pressures placed on players is intolerable – ok they are all millionaires etc but the very survival of clubs can depend on cheating, and that is not right. Arsenal had that record of not losing a few yeas ago, yet in one of the early games against us they drew only because of a blatant cheat by Pires to get a penalty. How can they respect that ‘record’ when it is based on a lie ?
Tell us one good thing the football authorities should do to make the game better
Shirt tugging should be an automatic yellow, diving should bemandatory 3 game ban. It would stop overnight.
And will you be at the match? What will be the score?
Probably, if I start my new project in time and get some cash. Shame that it is not after the transfer window so all I’ll say is that if Jamo is back then expect 2-0 to you, if not then try to keep it to single figures will you?
Equinox update on Equinox: I have left working in the law for the moment and am starting a new business consultancy, I am one of the moderators on http://www.pompeyonline.com, widely regarded as one of the saner voices of PFC [other sites are available as they say] I was born within shouting distance of Fratton Park and that means that my blood is blue and shall aways be so, even unto the Blue Square or lower. One of my ambitions in life was to see my team play at Wembley. I did that, proudly on the 17th May 2008 with my eldest son, and that is a day that no banker, accountant, administrator or whatever can take away from me or any of the rest of the Blue Army there that day. The attached photo perhaps says it all.
One final thing though, football can be a great divider but it can also bring fans together in times of adversity. That is when you find out who are the genuine fans who earn respect from each other. And that respect lasts not just for ten minutes but for generations. Both of our clubs have seen success and failure over the past decades and we have had our day in the sun but flown too close and got our wings burned. Ask a Pompey fan about you lot and the proper ones, the thousands of them, will wish you all nothing but success – just not on the 12th.
Merry Christmas Sunderland