Take a bow, Jake. Your graphics play an important part

Take a bow, Jake. Your graphics play an important part

The weekend brought many extra readers to Salut! Sunderland, thanks to a rare win and Rob Hutchison’s fine piece on past transfer calamities. This led us closer still to that magical milestone of three million hits since the site was created in the new year of 2007.

To mark this achievement, Salut! Sunderland – or rather our friends at Classic Football Shirts – can offer a prize worth £50 in our 3M Competition. Back in November we invited thoughts on why readership levels had been, shall we say, sluggish since the last milestone – two million was reached rather more quickly – and the response was excellent. Monsieur Salut will choose a winner from those comments and any further received by the end of this week, say midnight on Friday UK time, and he or she will have the £50 to spend on or towards Classic Football Shirts products …

If you look at the column to the right when you visit Salut! Sunderland, you may have had an idea this was coming.

That little mention of the number of the visits the site has received is on the point of passing a thoroughly gratifying milestone. As I finish writing this, it stands at 2,996,238. It will rise higher this morning. Some time soon, maybe as early as this week, the three millionth hit will be recorded.

Monsieur Salut does not doubt that the traffic experienced by porn sites, the Daily Mail and Guardian‘s online presences and cat-lovers’ forums would make our figures look negligible. But for a tinpot fan site that began life eight years ago as a bit of a hobby, an offshoot of my dabblings at Salut! in all matters Anglo-French, it hasn’t done badly. I am, very often, proud of it.

There are reasons aplenty. It is still more hobby than anything, barely making enough money in advertising to cover outgoings. But what a rewarding pursuit it has been in so many other ways.

In fact, it was never a one-man operation. My great pal Pete Sixsmith was in on it from the outset and you all know or should know how valuable his contributions have been. I put his writing on a par with the best Britain’s top sportswriters can offer. They get paid a lot for their trouble; Sixer gets occasional beer money and there’s been little of that for a while.

In those early days, there was terrific input behind the scenes from Joan Dawson, back in the North East after a long spell down south during which she served brilliantly as editorial coordinator of 5573, later renamed Wear Down South, the newsletter of the London and SE branch of the SAFC Supporters’ Association. Another friend, Craig McGinty, a Man City fan who studied in Sunderland, came up with the original design and essential technical help. Sam, a Hammer, conjured up the nifty design you see today (though he as so far been unable to get rid of that ugly error message at the top of the page).

To enter the competition

Check out the Classic Football Shirts range at this link

Along the way, Joan stood aside because of work commitments and her brother Malcolm jumped on board as deputy editor. John McCormick was another great addition to the team, with his tireless work on editing, moderating and those fascinating “dodgy number” statistical pieces only he could concoct.

Then look at the contributors: Jake the illustrator. Ken Gambles, Jeremy Robson, “Wrinkly” Peter Lynn, Rob Hutchison, John Penman, Bob Chapman, Keir Bradwell, Nic Wiseman, Lars Knutsen, Paul “Sobs” Dobson and many more I will regret having missed out. It is a labour of love but one shared by many hands.

I wish the figures were higher. I wish we could find more advertisers and sponsors. But our collective passion for Sunderland AFC means that these are secondary issues. Salut! Sunderland is happy to offer a voice that is, by turns, reasoned and incisive, witty and whimsical. Long may that continue.

Thank you all who come to this site or help it in any way.

M Salut, drawn by Matt, colouring by Jake

M Salut, drawn by Matt, colouring by Jake

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Salut! Sunderland is written, illustrated and edited by - and principally for - supporters of Sunderland AFC. The site aims to be sufficiently literate and entertaining to appeal to people who do not follow SAFC but enjoy good football writing.

19 Responses to “A mighty thank you as Salut! Sunderland reaches three million” Subscribe

  1. get connolly January 4, 2016 at 8:37 am #

    Your once vibrant comments column seems to have dried up.
    You may just need to freshen things up a bit and stop going on about France all the time.
    I lived there for some time and I go on about it and I find it pisses people off.
    Congratulations on the milestone.

    • salutsunderland January 4, 2016 at 10:29 am #

      Interesting point. I’d like to know whether others think I bang on too much about France. I wasn’t aware of it and even stopped that series that looked at French football, but I am probably stuck with that French-flavoured Matt cartoon unless Jake can come up with something less likely to annoy!

      • wrinkly pete January 4, 2016 at 4:01 pm #

        Pas de problem pour moi.

      • Paul January 4, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

        Love to read about your France.

        • Bill Taylor January 5, 2016 at 6:59 pm #

          Yeah, bang away. Nothing’s dried up, not at all.

  2. Drummer January 4, 2016 at 11:18 am #

    I don’t think you bang on about France too much at all . The clues in the title of the site and it seems only to be passing references made and for me personally its not a problem . Salut’s success is also a reason why you don’t get the mammoth hits that you’d like Colin . There’s very little abuse on here , the articles are well written, often with historical , political , musical references and I’m afraid in today’s twitter feed mindset that counts for nowt . Their problem , not yours .

    • malcolm January 4, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

      I’d agree with Drummer on this one Colin. I tend not to return to many sites as the comments sections are often dominated by abusive responses to someone’s opinion. For that reason and the fact I have better things to do than read short inane comments that say nowt, I don’t use social media sites. I can’t recall the last time we had an abusive comment on Salut. I know whenever I go to moderate a comment I can approve them straight away.

      The articles on Salut are original and written by the contributors who are always credited. There are other sites which come up much more frequently on News Now for example which are just lazy references to social media comments or begin “it is reported in The Chronicle, Echo” etc.

      There are other sites which I have seen which have reproduced articles from elsewhere and not even acknowledged the original sources. It is quick and easy to copy and paste – not so straightforward to come up with something new and fresh.

      If you go down that route you’ll get many more hits but that is not the purpose of Salut! Sunderland.

  3. Rob January 4, 2016 at 12:49 pm #

    I stumbled on this site by accident via the newsnow/Sunderland aggregator and I think its brilliant. As a makem in exile in Norwich its a great source of news on the lads and gives me a feeling that i’m not totally missing out on all the banter about the club. The standard of writing is very good and I wholeheartedly agree that its better in a lot of cases than the dross written by so called sports writers. I especially Like Pete Sixsmiths work so I think you should give him more Beer money………… Keep up the good work everyone

  4. Rob January 4, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

    P.S. You don’t mention France too much either

  5. John Mac January 4, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

    If I remember correctly the last piece(s) which focused on France were after the atrocities. M Salut’s day job had taken him to the Calais jungle and he wrote about it on his return. In his absence I had posted about the French side of my family and the Wembley friendly which was about to take place between England and France. My post had featured an animated tricolour.

    I think, given the circumstances, both pieces were very appropriate.

    Other than that I can’t remember much about France in recent posts

  6. salutsunderland January 4, 2016 at 2:50 pm #

    If I can promise one thing, it is that Salut! Sunderland will never be allowed to dumb down as long as I have control. Malcolm and John would rightly walk out on strike if I did.

    Yes, we’ll run light-hearted material as well as serious. That’s a respectable mix. I am also happy to draw on news/comment originating elsewhere provided we credit the source and are able to take it forward or apply our own thinking. But that is not the same as lifting “news” that may be nothing more than speculation to start with. That just won’t happen.

    There’s good writing, too, in many of the comments that appear here from people who do not contribute articles. I’d be delighted to see that change and introduce more writers to our audience.

    My main concern is less the actual numbers coming here – though I admit to a certain obsession – than the relatively low number of SAFC supporters who visit the site. Our best hits are when an article (and, of course, a catchy headline at newsnow) draws in fans of other clubs. We should be getting more Sunderland supporters who come here as a matter of course, not just when something grabs the attention on social media or newsnow.co.uk. There is such a rich archive of material at Salut, easily navigated from the sidebar column, that it is depressing to see how “hits” diminish if a day goes by without a new link at newsnow. If newsnow died, Salut would be able to fit its readers into a average-sized bus, everyone seated!

  7. Pete Sixsmith January 4, 2016 at 3:01 pm #

    I agree with Rob’s comments re. the beer money starting in The Lamb on Saturday!!!

    • John Mac January 4, 2016 at 3:07 pm #

      You could save it for Spurs. I hear London is very expensive these days

    • salutsunderland January 4, 2016 at 3:09 pm #

      Pete, of course, is one of those awkward shop stewards even the most reasonable of employers find hard to handle

  8. wrinkly pete January 4, 2016 at 4:12 pm #

    I may already have commented but as I am wrinkly I have forgotten so here goes again – maybe I’ll win!
    The SalutSunderland site is unique in my opinion with consistent, largely unbiased and intelligent material. It has a sometimes “quirky” style which sets it apart from purely football websites. Keep it going and I hope the 3 millionth hit helps get you over your recent illness.

  9. Paul January 4, 2016 at 4:54 pm #

    Salut Sunderland is a cut above the rest, far more mature.
    In the vein of this site attracting mature people, I have just read the sad news that Ambrose Fogarty has died. Many of us would have seen him play and one game in particular stands out for me. Sunderland beat Walsall 3-0 in 1961, after losing Stan Anderson with a broken cheek bone early on. Amby dropped back to play right half and he powered the team to an emphatic win. In the Sunday People he was awarded ten out of ten. He was a real Sunderland stalwart.

  10. Joan January 4, 2016 at 10:41 pm #

    Congratulations M. Salut in advance of your 3 millionth hit. It’s a great achievement to have kept the site vibrant and interesting for so long. It was a pleasure to be involved in the beginning. Thanks to all who put in a lot of work to keep it going and to keep up the standard of reporting and illustrating.

  11. Rob January 6, 2016 at 12:28 pm #

    3 million hits, fantasic. By far the most cultured SAFC site there is. My only observation is the home page and header still looks a bit dated, and font refresh wouldn’t so any harm either. My two red & white nippers aged 17 & 19 respectively both mentioned the above so I thought I’d chuck it into the ring if it would help thoughts on the demographic.

    • salutsunderland January 6, 2016 at 2:57 pm #

      Good points, Rob and nippers. If I win that lottery tonight – provided the prize doesn’t turn out to be a mug – I’ll order an immediate redesign (I might even buy a defender. too)

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