Craig Gardner: the competing charms of Sunderland, Birmingham and maybe Cardiff

Beauty of Sunderland: Mrs Logic

What we are all hoping, those of us who support Sunderland, is that scoring another wonder goal for a team now 10th top of one of the best leagues in the world, in a ground where 37,000 is considered disappointing, will be all Craig Gardner needs to shrug off feelings of homesickness.

Leave aside unworthy thoughts that the word “homesick” and the phrase “for Birmingham” look odd when placed together. If, in Craig’s case, Birmingham genuinely seems light years from Sunderland and heavenly by comparison, he can always take Martin O’Neill’s word for it that developments in transport can make it seem a whole lot closer.

Derelict Building in BirminghamBeauty of Brum: Adrian Boliston

Gardner’s usefulness to SAFC is now well demonstrated. As a pro, he will surely be revelling in the acclaim he has received for his timely flashes of goalscoring brilliance. Let us hope this, plus a handy train timetable or new SatNav, can help put thoughts of going down a division out of his head.

Just keep him away from Jaci Stephen’s Mail magazine column rounding up what is about to happen in the TV soaps:

When it comes to adultery, people have come up with lame excuses to explain their absences, and Peter has a corker next week. After lying to Leanne about going to the dog track on Thursday, he tells her on Friday that he’s going to Sunderland to look into buying a greyhound. That’s right. A greyhound. In fact, he’s planning a trip to a Chester hotel with Carla. Who buys a greyhound in a recession?

And if there’s any spare cash flying around, would it not be better spent taking Simon for a haircut?
Frank’s private investigator overhears the greyhound plot and is quickly on the case; Stella is also suspicious (anybody willingly wanting to spend the night in Sunderland would raise my doubts).

Ms Stephen, it should be noted, comes from Cardiff, a city whose charms are frequently confused with those of Paris or Rome …

Not on broadband...
Beauty of Cardiff: Alex Liivet

Stay put,
Craig. It’s grim down there in Brum. But don’t expect me to tell you if my forthcoming trip to a Paris theatre, to see Sunderland the play (read about it here) shows that French luvvies have a down on Wearside. too.

Monsieur Salut

32 thoughts on “Craig Gardner: the competing charms of Sunderland, Birmingham and maybe Cardiff”

  1. James Nursey (Daily Mirror) tweeting that, “Craig Gardner has a gentleman’s agreement with Martin O’Neill he can leave SAFC if they get back £4.7m paid. Birmingham and WBA keen but too pricey” (to be taken with a pint of salt).

    Craig’s brother Gary has gone on to tell Sky, “We still speak every day and we’re really close. He came back over last weekend.

    “I would love for him to come back to the Midlands with Aston Villa and play alongside him but who knows?

    “There are six brothers altogether and we’re a close family. We all see each other almost every day. I didn’t think Craig realised how hard it would be to pull away from that.

    “I think he does find it hard, but he is the type of lad to get his head down and just keep fighting.

    “I am sure he would want to come back to the midlands but he is a Sunderland player at the moment and I’d imagine the fans would want to keep him there.”

    As the man himself has been quiet, we can only speculate. But the lack of a firm statement from Craig Gardner saying he’s happy to be a Sunderland player or somesuch makes me wonder if a move, either now or in the summer, is in the cards.

    Or, failing that, perhaps we could persuade a few of his brothers to move oop north.

    It would be a shame if he left. He is a good player who perhaps hasn’t been getting the chances he should be getting. Blame it on Catts’ incredible resurgence I suppose.

    But as long as he continues to perform well on the pitch, and scores a few more crackers, I’ll wish him well should he decide to return to the nest in the next transfer window.

    (FYI I’ve nothing against Birmingham, the city. I enjoyed your Frankfurt Christmas market when I was down in December.)

    • Yeah he was like a mother to the other members of Slade, threatening to cut off their supply of Cup-a-Soup if they were naughty. Hahaha and when they trimmed his fringe using a pie tin as a template! Comedy gold! (Sorry M. Salut, we’ve gone a bit off-piste here)

  2. Jake, Marlene was the character played by Beryl Reid, who was a Brummie. The Vic and Bob’s Slade characters were fantastic. I loved Vic and Bob then-and their Slade sketches were some of their best !

    • Yes Hilary, I’ve just watched the one where Roy Wood comes in towards the end of the sketch and Slade jump up and point at him shouting “Ball Park Incident!” Love it!

  3. Well both had big Xmas hits and Roy Wood is a Brummie so it would be an easy mistake to make. Best not call Black Country people Brummies though or there’ll be another 100 comments from the West Midlands flying about!

    Is Julie Walters a brummie? Tony Hancock was – “a pint? That’s very nearly an armful!”


    • I don’t think Beryl was a Brummie either but she used to do a character with a Brummie accent. Vic and Bob did a very funny series of sketches called “Slade In Residence”, there’s clips on Youtube. For some reason they lived on Cup-a-Soup!

  4. For every Venice, or Rome, or Paris, there are a thousand Cardiffs, Birminghams and Sunderlands. Most people live in gloomy, workaday cities so lets stop all this pointless bickering, join hands and sing “I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony…..” But, to paraphrase W.C. Fields: “I once went to Cardiff, it was closed”. Sorry lads, could’t resist it….. …. .. .

  5. “Best thing ever to come out of Birmingham was the motorway north.”

    It’s just a shame they wasted tarmac taking the motorway in there in the first place Mr Taylor.

  6. Mr Hutson. Second city isn’t it?

    Third rate though is every aspect other than culture, employment prospects, ethnic tensions which would put it well beneath the radar of the most benevolent observer.

    Famous for Jasper Carrott and a defunct car plant. What a dump to call home.

    I would take the sorts of comments that you produce were you from Edinburgh or Paris maybe but someone from the W Midland lauding it over the NE is a hoot.

    If you had any sense at all, you’d be embarrassed. The only good thing that you can say about Birmingham is that it isn’t Woiverhampton or Coventry.

  7. OK, a trace of wit …

    Craig was told the Charms of Sunderland were limited for him and more so his missus , he would have to travel to Newcastle for and kind of existance.
    He made a big mistake he knows it I only hope Oneil lets him come home after all he sold him once.
    Having worked in the Dump Sunderland for 3 years
    I can well understand how he feels his wife cant get used to the idea of walking two paces behind the brown ale swilling menfolk.

    • Was more Double Maxim here than Brown Ale. Was it the 70’s or 80’s when u worked here? There must be hidden parts of Birmingham I always miss when I go down there. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe that the millionaire footballers actually locate to Pennywell or Town End Farm when they sign for Sunderland, more Durham, Yarm or even dare I say it, that fictional city named Gateshead-Newcastle. Funny how those two places combined when it suited the bigger city, the one that had previously distanced itself from the other as much as possible. Anyway that’s the beside the point, the point is, surely, that wherever in the North East you are living there is access to just about anything you need so the advantages ans disadvantages of living in Sunderland should be a concern only to its residents. Move your family here Craig and man up.

  8. Please give generously to the hard of thinking:

    Tosser, literally. Face it, the north east is recognised globally in black & white.

  9. The writer was at Durham Uni and formed some affection for the NE but I don’t expect anything other than a highly exaggerated warts-and-all depiction of working class life. Without subtitles.

  10. And I refuse to believe anyone who can hit the ball like that hasn’t also got a sense of humour … mind, you’d need one to make that linkage

    But as Malcolm said in another thread:

    “The North East sense of humour is heavy on irony, tongue in cheek and self deprecation. I find Londoners and Midlanders take everything so literally.”

  11. Gardner is a very good player who can change a game. He’s an excellent professional so I am not surprised that there are a host of clubs interested in taking him. Enough of the soft soap Craig, now tell the missus pack up the china and get on with it.

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