Not too many rose to the bait of a modest prize for memories of, or thoughts on, past Newcastle-Sunderland encounters. Even fewer Mackems will have the least desire to remember anything from yesterday’s apology for a Sunderland performance.
But we launched a competition so there has to be a winner of one of the books shown.
The contenders included Bill Taylor and Jeremy Robson, but both are contributors to Salut! Sunderland so it seemed right to look elsewhere first.
And since we’ve been drumming home our own hostility to mindless abuse – the banter is fine, which is why I have made no attempt to stop Mags coming on here to gloat, as we would have been doing had the boot been on the other foot, I was drawn to this entry from Alan T Hedley, a regular in the Comment threads and a veteran supporter of SAFC.
This is what he wrote in response to the excellent interview with a Newcastle fan, the author and broadcaster Keith Topping (which can be seen in full by clicking here):
Good article interesting and from the heart.
As one of the older school, this hatred concept, within most football clubs, clearly exists at a fairly moronic level on both sides in almost any match, and it is a thing of relatively recent cultivation.
Semi hard men/children, who have to prove that they actually have a genuine reason for existence, each strive to outdo each other, in an apparent attempt to feel they have actually achieved something in their lives. Invariably this is to the detriment of the enjoyment of real fans.
Between 70 and 60 years ago in families, where supporters of each of the two major north east sides were the norm, it was fairly common, largely due to limited finance in the area, for fans to travel north or south on alternate weekends to support both clubs. Both my grandfather and my father, from the cloth cap era, swear blind that trouble was very rare and fans mixed much as they are able to do in Rugby matches today where the banter was sharp, quick witted and fun.
I deeply regret that I cannot sit in SOL as I do Twickenham and hear banter such as at an England – Wales match with a Welshman yelling: “Take him out Ackerman take him out!”
English response: “Ackerman couldn’t take out a Fairy.”
….. and after the match the pubs are full of fans mingling
Old fashioned I know but it is football’s loss.
It remains only for Alan to contact me here or via the e-mail address somewhere near the top of the left-hand column, with an address and his choice between the two books above.
The book he does not choose, or a suitable alternative, will go to the winner of our “Who are You?” of the month award. Two months as it happens, because my operation got in the way of deciding on a September winner.
No, not Keith Topping. Good as it was, it would be a little like rubbing salt in my own post-surgery wounds to hand it to an avowed Mag. Sorry, Keith. But you also make your living from writing, which offers altogether more rational grounds for exclusion.
So I return to our old friend Bernard Ramsdale, a grand voice of Wigan and Lancashire, for his typically forthright and entertaining answers to Salut! Sunderland‘s questions before the Wigan v SAFC game. Congratulations again (Bernard is a past winner of the annual award); those who’d like to read what he had to say can do so by clicking here.