At last, our judges have delivered their verdicts.
The search for winners of Salut! Sunderland‘s great Who Are You? competition is over.
We have identified the fans of opposing clubs who, in the eyes of our four wise men, offered the smartest, funniest or most thought-provoking answers when subjected to our customary questionnaire before their teams played us.
The judging panel consisted of:
* Mike Amos, the Northern Echo columnist who has won so many awards of his own that his wife must have a say in them
* Paul Dobson, the excellent Sobs of A Love Supreme fame (don’t worry, Martyn, only a competition-long loan)
* Jeremy Robson, one of Murton’s finest, now exiled in Canada, whose erudition is matched only by his eloquence
* Pete Sixsmith, star writer from Salut! Sunderland
With such quality, the editor-in-chief and general factotum – me – felt no need to take part in the judging, though read on for news of a special additional prize.
And the winners? Each judge chose a different winner, so the top three drew points for second and third placings, too. In reverse order, with the initials of the supporting judge in each case):
3 Wolves – Andy Nicholls, for his Q&A published prior to SAFC 5 Wolves 2. Click here.
– “a happy mix of forward-thinking abd traditionalism, and a realistic summation of events in the Black Country” (PD)
2 Hull City – Alan Fulcher before Hull 0 SAFC 1. Click here.
– “Only one winnder to me – the “optimist’s survival plan’ – the most heartfelt contribution in the series … Alan’s anguish jumps out at you from the screen” (JR)
Leaving, in first place:
Manchester City – Martin Haworth, previewing Man City 4 SAFC 3. See the winning entry here.
– “I know I should declare an interest here but I really did think that Martin’s piece created an appealing mix of passion, knowledge, honesty and occasional humour.” (MA)
I wondered about Mike Amos’s acquaintance with Martin Haworth. But football can be a small world and I trust the integrity of his verdict. In addition, had I been voting, my marks would have have confirmed Martin’s overall victory and I wouldn’t know him if he fell in my soup.
You will note that Pete Sixsmith put none of the top three first in his marking. I had invited each judge to look outside my own shortlisted nominations if any other candidate took his fancy, and Pete opted for the contribution of a Devon-based Birmingham City fan, not the splendidly named Kevin Ball (who also did a Blues preview) but Leigh Bosworth, whose answers – before our 2-1 defeat at St Andrew’s – can be seen here.
I will make available the judges’ comments in full as soon as possible.
Alan Fulcher wins an annual subscription to the fine magazine When Saturday Comes. And Andy Nicolls’s third prize is goods to the value of $50 from soccerpro.com
One further prize remains to be awarded, and this will be my choice. Over the season, we have posed the Eduard question – essentially, what would you think if your team won something important as a result of a blatant dive? – in the same questionnaires put to the above. I will review the replies, excluding those made by the Who Are They? winners, and award a copy of Lance Hardy’s book about the 1973 FA Cup Final to the writer of the one I liked best.
Watch this space … and thanks to all who – whether they know it or not – took part, and to our sponsors for entering into the spirits of thing with their prizes.