Beer, barbecue & pre-Wembley banter at Ruislip

 

For Wrinkly Pete, otherwise known as Peter Lynn, in this penultimate instalment of Salut! Sunderland‘s annual series of end-of-season reviews, promotion would have been premature, exposing Sunderland to a challenging time in the Championship. He may be right, though most of us probably wanted to go up all the same.

But Pete refuses to see another League One season as too much of a hardship. He has enjoyed himself in the one just ended and most of all at away games.

Pete Sixsmith concludes the series tomorrow with a magnificent appraisal of our season. It is timed to appear just as Liverpool kick off against Spurs in Madrid so you’ll know where to turn should that event fall below expectations …

Always look on the bright side of life

Please play the above clip whilst reading my review of the past season. If you prefer, just watch the clip instead and give me a maximum rating!

When this superb website was being invaded by a mystery “Brian” earlier this season, with his poisonous comments, I was reminded of the “messiah” speech by Brian’s mum in Life of Brian when she says he is in fact “a very naughty boy”.

Hence the video clip from the film but it does sum up my feelings about the season. For me it has been truly enjoyable, despite the ending leaving us short of what many would have wished for.

As other reviewers have already said, promotion would have been preferable but personally I feel it would have been too much, too soon.

The present squad, as shown so clearly in John McCormick’s excellent analysis is not quite good enough and so I believe we would have really struggled in the Championship. Far better to make improvements at the present level without the negativity that would inevitably have arisen from the short sighted fans among us at the first sign of failure.

Wrinkly Pete

As to the season past, with my “Wrinkly’s wisdom”, I can view the overall improvements to my club and appreciate their value alongside the playing results. For me, the watching of a good game of football, in good company and in good surroundings is equally as important as the actual result. In that respect, our Checkatrade final was a good example. It might have been nice to win the penalty shoot-out but I will remember the many positives from my day out with my two sons more vividly.

As others have said, it has been good, especially at away games, to engage with opposition fans and see their genuine support in contrast to that of many “big clubs” adopted fans. It has been a privilege to be part of our away support, largely without the vitriolic “sniping” at home fans that some seem to somehow equate with support for The Lads.

I think fondly of the splendid rendition of Sweet Caroline by our fans pre match at Wycombe and will cherish that memory rather than the grim game and result. I still smile at the thought of our fans in the pouring rain stood in the open end at the abandoned Accrington game singing Sunderland ‘til I dry.

Of course there are occasional blips to this thought process of mine. What do I do with my abiding memory from Barnsley away? The game was played in a gale force wind. Grant Leadbitter, who had solved our seemingly eternal problem with corner kick taking, got one (only) of them slightly wrong and the wind took the ball straight out for a goal kick. The man sat directly behind me said “useless c- -t”!

Even the final game of our season has happy memories for me, and these focus on what I will term the fellowship of football.

We had been made aware of the availability of parking for Wembley at Wealdstone FC ground. The club offer free parking with a suggestion that users might patronise the club bar and superb outdoor barbecue. The ground is a short walk from Ruislip tube station, then a brief £1.50 journey to Wembley Park.

Our party of five – seen above –  took full advantage and enjoyed the company of the very friendly and loyal supporters of this pyramid level six club, once the home of our own Luke O’Nien.

Thus I will remember season 2018/19 as the one when we once again learned how to “laugh and smile and dance and sing”.

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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.

10 Responses to “End of season reviews (6): ‘Sunderland ’til I dry’ and other magical moments” Subscribe

  1. Neil May 31, 2019 at 7:49 pm #

    Nice piece. You can’t please all of the people all of the time….some you can never please. Like the chap behind you at Barnsley. Accusations say more about the accuser than the accused…by his own words damned.

    I was at the Barnsley game and enjoyed it despite the weather and the Victorian urinals

    The Blackpool game on NY Day was something special….now, they are some fans whose suffering puts ours into perspective….there but for the grace of Niall Quinn

    Like you Pete, i really enjoyed this season and after all …..isn’t that the point?

    Let cowards flinch and traitors sneer, we’ll get 100 points next year

    • Brian June 1, 2019 at 1:59 am #

      ‘Cowards flinch and traitors sneer’
      Spat me tea out at that.
      Bet you listen to last night at the proms and love watching the movie zulu.
      Idiots that try to compare fottball support with english military history really do both tickle and sadden me.
      A football jingoist..thought I’d seen it all.
      Tally ho

  2. KenG May 31, 2019 at 8:21 pm #

    Thanks Pete,pretty much my own sentiments. Whether Brian was a WUM or not, there are sadly too many people who are only happy when they are moaning and being proved right about the ‘failure’ they always predicted. As for Barnsley, how football was played in such conditions was a tribute to both teams. Let’s hope we have as enjoyable season next time, but with promotion at he end of it.

  3. malcolm May 31, 2019 at 11:08 pm #

    The more I think about the season just past the more questions it throws up. The latest one I am pondering concerns Aiden McGeady and his effect on the team’s performance. Elsewhere I made the point that the best 11 players don’t necessarily make the best team.

    There is no doubt McGeady is one of our better players but the majority of our better performances came at the start of the season when he was out of contention because of injury. I’m not saying he didn’t deserve his place nor that the team was better without him. In fact I’m not really clear yet what I’m trying to say. I’m just puzzling and trying to understand as to why the majority of our better performances were earlier in the season.

    • malcolm May 31, 2019 at 11:17 pm #

      PS I wrote the comment above before reading a piece at Roker Report making the same point.

      https://rokerreport.sbnation.com/2019/5/31/18646730/controversial-opinion-is-sunderlands-over-reliance-on-aiden-mcgeady-a-hindrance-to-the-team

  4. Brian June 1, 2019 at 1:52 am #

    Amazing that because someone disagrees with the ‘status quo’ that one is poisonous, an invader or a wum.
    Some of you lot must be channelling your inner north korean. Clap for everything regardless how mediocre it is.Demean yourselves because what we have is all we deserve. Lay back and take it for sunderland etc etc.
    I speak as I see and what I see is failure, overhype and a cult of personality that is way out of proportion with reality.
    By any standards in football management ross has failed.
    His transfers ( other than the gk and o9 ) have all bombed badly. His football is eye bleedingly awful. He tinkers with line ups and shows he still doesnt know what his best line up is. You wont get promoted if you dont have a settled defence. Worse you will drop silly points regularly. Guess what folks.
    Meanwhile our 2 tyre kicking owners get incessant botty licking from unwashed hordes due to their pithy wishy washy platitudes on social ( they get us yer knaa ) and paint a few pink seats red. Reminds me of the stories of old settlers robbing native americans blind with firewater and blankets. 24 carat gullibility..Standy by when new owners enrich the tyre kickers after a blatant trousering of parachute payments. These 2 make freddie and dougie look like the epitome of altruism.
    Donald says he is targeting 100 points. Best of luck with ross in charge. He never gave an indication he ever learnt any lessons as the season progressed. We got worse in fact. When maja went and macgeady got onjured he had no answer. Scottish rabbit in the headlights.
    Oh yes we learnt lessons at wembley.
    Second trip.. an own goal and cowardly capitulation.
    Thanks jack! Thanks stewart and charlie.
    Well you lot have 3 months of keeping your head in the sands. Enjoy.
    See you next season

    • KevS June 1, 2019 at 10:21 am #

      If only it had been an English rabbit, life would have been so much better

  5. George June 1, 2019 at 7:27 am #

    Other than that, I presume Brian (aw bless he’s back again ) had a good year watching SAFC.

  6. joseph mcmullen June 2, 2019 at 9:52 pm #

    i wish him all the best-BUT Sunderland isn’t a division 3 club so the season has been a TOTAL failure and we have become a JOKE.Liverpool are winning the champions league and we can’t even get the checkatrade over the line.Is there any point in the club carrying on?!

    • John Mac June 3, 2019 at 7:57 am #

      While Mn City won the league their neighbours Bolton needed a food bank to feed their staff and their other neighbours Bury don’t know what’s going on.

      Should everybody in greater Manchester just give up and support City?

      I live in Liverpool. My nephews went to Madrid. Should I ask them for a scarf and join them?

      No. No. No. We carry on.

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