Nice tale about ‘ooh aah’ Eric Roy

00-01 Eric Roy Match Worn Shirt
Image: Sunderland shirts

Despite the tone of recent pieces, there IS still something good to say about French football. Needless to say, there’s a strong Sunderland connection here …

Salut! Sunderland has hit upon an obvious choice of team to support in the French top-flight Ligue 1 that kicks off a week on Saturday. It did no harm to Paraguay in the World Cup, backed by this site in honour of their Sunderland players (Paulo da Sila and Cristian Riveros) and red and white stripes. And now we hope our cheerful allegiance to the Olympique Gymnaste club de Nice will bring even more sunshine to the Mediterranean coast than it already enjoys.

Think back to a cold Saturday afternoon in Sunderland. Dec 4 1999. Not a bit like the Cote d’Azur.

Chelsea are the visitors and, having tonked us 4-0 on the opening day of the season, are doubtless expecting an easy romp to three away points.

Step forward, first of all, Eric Roy. Everyone who ever said the cultured French midfielder was maybe a bit slow for the Premier had to be quick to notice him skipping through the Chelsea defence in the first minute to slot a sublime low ball through to Niall Quinn, whose tap-in began the 4-1 rout of west London’s arrogant superstars.
Phillips (two and nearly three) and Niall (two), all except SuperKev’s attempt to clinch the hat-trick coming in the most pulsating, heartwarming first halves Sunderland fans under the age of about 125 are likely to have witnessed.

And where is Eric now? Along the coast from me, in Nice, where he is credited with having performed miracles to keep them up last season, taking over with 11 games to go and the club in freefall. They lost only once – to the champions, Marseille – and finished 15th. Now they are preparing to start the new season with most observers expecting another struggle.

L’Equipe, previewing Nice’s opener, a winnable home tie against Valenciennes, quote Eric as saying he has warned his players the achievements towards the end of last season count for nothing now. He knows he is almost certain to lose Loic Remy, a proven goalscorer set to sign for Liverpool or Spurs, and that he needs two players to strengthen his own side. I assume he does not see David Bellion, a former Nice player still somehow picking up a wage packet at Bordeaux, is not one of his targets.

But Eric carries our best wishes, as he embarks on his first full season in charge, for a successful season in which we fervently hope Nice manage to cause immense annoyance to the likes of Marseille, Lyon, PSG and above all Bordeaux.

And just in case he’s forgotten, here’s the chant he once heard from fans at and away from the Stadium of Light (correct the detail if I have it wrong):

Ooh aah, say ooh aah, c’est Eric Roy.. y’naa

Colin Randall

12 thoughts on “Nice tale about ‘ooh aah’ Eric Roy”

  1. I cannit gan te work, pet, it’s awa foggy

    why, it’s clear across the rooftops

    Aye, but ah canna gan that way

  2. The nurse says ti’is “You poor man, can you walk?”

    Work? Work? I cannit even Waalk I sez.

    The bloke was a genius, long before his time, and his tenet of getting an ill-health pension, long before your health failed, is sound advice.

  3. Moliere was well known for having tinned tomato sandwiches and breaking the string on his carrier bag. Like The Little Waster, he wasn’t an engineer. And he wrote a play that Bobby could have starred in – The Imaginary Invalid. As Bobby said, “What’s the point of being off work when yers baaad”

  4. I agree with Pete. He was an absolutely fabulous player. He should have played a whole lot more. Cultured and understated. Good article. Nice to know where some of the better old boys ended up.

  5. Yes to the tune of Pet Shop Boys’ “Go West”

    Loved that game at Walsall – we had a Brazilian play for us and there was a sign on the outside of the Bescott that said “No Ball Games” – Priceless!

  6. oooh aahh, it’s Eric Roy y’knaa

    first heard at Walsall in the League Cup (21/9/1999), and I believe I started it. Eric scored one and set up at least 2 others – 2 each for Dichio and Fredgaard! He should have featured much more than he did for us.

  7. I loved watching him for the Reserves at Durham City. He would ghost into position and could read a game far, far better than anyone else on the field. Reidy never seemed quite sure of him – not enough thud and blunder from our Eric.
    Maybe we could help him out by lending him a couple of players – any suggestions anyone?

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