Danny Graham: couldn’t care less whether he supports Newcastle provided he can play

geordies v mackems

Here is news of a talking point at ESPN resulting from today’s reports that Sunderland have tabled a bid for Swansea’s Danny Graham.

There is a sort of Piers Morgan effect out there – light-hearted chatter about petitions to stop him, Graham that is, coming back to the North East because he’s a Mag and has made disaparaging comments about Sunderland. But also a spot of white-hot hatred.

I have not had time to dig out the quotes but seem to remember them as mild-to-moderate. But truth is, I do not give a damn who he supports or supported. I care only whether Mr Graham is good enough for Sunderland and, if so and if bought, plays to his full ability.

Here is an extract from my ESPN piece:

I am all for banter and engage in it myself. Sunderland and Newcastle supporters will always mock one another, pray for their own team to be the North East’s top dog at the other’s expense and generally act like children, applauding the other club’s failures, lamenting the successes. But when it goes beyond playground levels of bickering, it can get nasty.

Leave aside the oafs who would settle their scores with violence. Even on a non-violent level, certain intelligent people of my acquaintance get so worked up by the Wear-Tyne rivalry that they lose touch with reality – one part of that reality being that people from each camp have far more in common than divides them.

… Think back. Lee Clark was an out-and-out Newcastle lad, a supporter from boyhood. Peter Reid once joked – I used the verb advisedly – that it took the fifth bottle of champagne to persuade him to enter enemy territory and sign. And when he did? He played his heart out in a highly successful, promotion-winning team before, it must be added, leaving the club after being photographed when attending Newcastle’s 1998 FA Cup final wearing a T-shirt mocking Sunderland.

Don Hutchison was also a Magpie. I remember him with admiration in red and white stripes. Didn’t he kiss the badge on his shirt after scoring for Sunderland at St James’ Park. In the present squad, Jack Colback is a North Tyneside lad and therefore a natural United supporter by birth but can anyone seriously claim that he ever gives less than 100 per cent for the rival club?

Other examples abound of players who have been professional enough to overcome tribal loyalty and play to the best of their abilities despite it being for a team they would, as a boyhood fan, have despised or purported to despise. There is a relatively recent example of a player whose actions in a derby game suggested he had failed to show such professionalism: the exception, I would argue, to prove the rule.

Go to ESP FC at this link – http://soccernet.espn.go.com/blog/_/name/sunderland/id/997?cc=5739 – to read the full piece and get a debate started if you feel like it, there and here. Whether you agree or disagree with me.

Happy new year! Monsieur Salut, by Matt
Happy new year! Monsieur Salut, by Matt

18 thoughts on “Danny Graham: couldn’t care less whether he supports Newcastle provided he can play”

  1. This kind of bad-mouthing of other clubs has always gone on. It’s just that before the onset of social media, we hardly heard about it. Suddenly, trash-talking is public property and gets taken way too seriously.
    I’m not at all convinced Danny Graham is the right signing for us, but not because I’m afraid he’d come with the avowed intent of sabotaging the club from the inside or that he’d deliberately give any less than his best in our games against the Mags.

    • Agreed Bill. My reservations about Graham are whether or not he has the ability not his perceived attitude. But bear in mind that the squad needs to have more depth – Saha is off, Campbell and Ji don’t figure in the manager’s plans. Yes we need another striker on top of Fletcher and Wickham. It could be a case of Hobson’s choice as far as the club are concerned.

  2. If MON thinks that Graham is good enough and can make a contribution to the Club then really that should be sufficient enough for the support.

    Bob Stokoe signed Ron Guthrie I can not remeber too much dissent for the terraces at the time. Additionally, Ron gave a 100% in games and was a key member of the 73 Cup winning side.

    Lee Clarke was another 100% up to his ill advised stunt. Chopra was a man with multiple problems so god knows what was going through his head, he was probably thinking If I miss this I’ll get lambasted, I’ll pass the responsibility (not very well as it happened). Can’t remember past Sunderland lads not trying to score past us. Adam Johnstone, Mck Harford etc. These guys are Pros there lifeblood depends on their performances, no one is going to pass that up by helping the opposition.

    I agree with Malcolm on this one that there is now prevelent in the game a totally stupid, vindictive and nasty element regarding players loyalties, stoked by certain elements of the press and perpetrated by certain elements on the terraces (ok it;s all seating now but you know what I mean).

    • Just seen the stop press,,,,Nigel Adkins Sacked as Southanmpton Manager……There’s gratitude for you!

      Absolutely disgraceful decision.

  3. Christ, Malcolm. Chopra didn’t shoot and played a bad pass. All deliberate. We would have scored, had any other player had the ball in that position.
    We should stay well away from Graham. No more traitors in the ranks. We don’t want a player who plays hard in 36 of 38 games. I hope Norwich get him. I have no idea how anybody could cheer someone who has said such disparaging things about our club. Give your head a shake.

    • Only Chopra knows for certain if he did what he did on purpose. You think he did – I think he didn’t. If Graham signs and sections of the crowd start to jeer him, in my opinion it is not just him they are criticising. They are not supporting the team or the management either.

      Personally I don’t take umbrage at Mag fans saying such stuff and I’ll bet Geordie Doon South isn’t bothered when Sunderland fans reciprocate. There are many more important things in life to get worked up than a bit of banter and I try to steer myself away from negativity.

      If he is signed then yes I will cheer him on the pitch as he’ll be playing for Sunderland. Will you be booing him?

      Do you think Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney, Peter Reid, Kevin Ball and thousands of other players don’t or didn’t try when facing the teams they support as fans. It’s only Newcastle players people seem to get worked up about.

      Mind you I grew up at a time when the rivalry between the two clubs was a more neighbourly rivalry, lacking the hatred and resentment that so many on both sides seem to have these days, so maybe I am out of touch.

      There is so much in top flight football (and society) that disappoints me nowadays and this is just another example.

  4. I don’t expect many will agree with me but Lee Clark never gave less than 100% for us and was often our best player. I would have liked to see him stay even after the T-shirt incident but then unlike most Sunderland fans I laugh at the banter rather than take offence. I agree he couldn’t play for us afterwards but only because of the hostility he would have received.

    If we sign Graham and if he has a hard time, in my opinion that will be down to small minded people and not his daft comments to a Mag website. What else would we expect him to say? I don’t believe a professional sportsman would sign for a club (or be signed by a club) if all parties didn’t think he would give his all.

    As for Chopra – I don’t believe he snuffed that chance on purpose – just the sense of the occasion got to a man who obviously has problems. Yes he had the chance to shoot but the pass was the better option and he fluffed it. All players do that. If it had been anyone else it wouldn’t even have been an issue. Unless of course there was something else we don’t know about which the libel laws prevent me from suggesting but I’m sure the incident didn’t occur because of the team he grew up supporting.

    Now I’ll sit back and count the thumbs down.

    Oh and bye Jeremy we’ll miss your contributions.

  5. You lot have your heads in the sand. He’s a Mag and he doesn’t like us. He shouldn’t be joining us. It’s a bridge too far for me. After 40 odd years of following this club that’s me done for. Finished.

  6. I can’t see why he’d want to swap the bench at Swansea for the bench at our place. Surely he offers no more than Wickham ?

    Can’t say I’m impressed with the transfer dealings so far. Mangane sound like a complete journeyman. N’Diaye sounds decent but presumably MO will pair him with Cattermole. Statistics would suggest we’ll then have a central midfield who contribute no goals whatsover. We don’t seem to have any links with what remains our greatest need by a mile – a creative central midfield player. If we’re never going to make any effort to sign one we might as well have kept Dean Whitehead, Dickson Etuhu etc etc and many more water-carriers we’ve employed over the years.

    • we do need a creative midfield player. I thought Vaughn was that man. But he is too inconsistent. Larsson can pass the ball well but he’s not that dynamic mf that can open up a defence.
      N’Diaye can grab the odd goal or two, but Cattermole is certainly not blessed with goals in his game. I think NDiaye can mature into a more creative, attacking mf player , but he’s young. (Dean W and Etuhu were never good enough).
      I too still think we need to sign someone.

  7. Don’t honestly see where he would fit in. Talk of a Norwich bid of £5M. I would expect a bit more quality for that sort of money.

  8. While I agree entirely with the sentiments that it doesn’t matter who Graham supports, as long as he is good enough and ‘plays his heart out for the Lads’, but I have to wonder how much he is inspired to do so when the familiar chant of, ‘Stand up if you hate the Mags’ is ringing in his ears?

    I have long wondered why deriding other teams is considered to be a way of supporting, encouraging & inspiring our players, many of whom will have close friends who play for the those teams.

    Negative vibes hardly promote positive actions!

  9. He’s a professional. He’ll play the best he can. He actually joined Middlesbrough, another local rival team. It worries me that he once said he would not play for that team “in red and white” meaning us. But, he’s a pro so it shouldn’t matter.
    As long as he bangs the ball in the net, then I don’t care which club he supported as a boy. Its surprising Newcastle haven’t made a bid for him actually.

    But if he did come, would he start? Or would we stick with Sess and Fletch up top? I guess MON wants him in case Fletch or Sess gets injured. I don’t think he’s a automatic starter.
    I’m surprised the Swans are going for Jones. He maybe has one great game in 10. The rest of the time he is inconsistent.

    Looking forward to Mangane, Cattermole and NDiaye ! Maybe Mangane & Catts will start at Wigan?

  10. I agree. We are talking about a professional sportsman who, one would fully expect, will give his utmost for whichever team his represents.

    If it comes off, I would see this move as sensible risk management by MON, through squad strengthening rather than first team development. Improving the team will require the acquisition of a striker with complementary skills to those of Fletcher; I guess this will now happen in the summer.

    On the subject of strikers, it appears that the new signing will be partly funded by the sale of Fraizer Campbell. I for one would like to wish him the very best of luck with his new club, since he was not blessed with much whilst with us. Stories of him joining supporters to watch matches underline the dedication he has shown to SAFC.

    I now look forward to one or two further signings before the January window closes; another defender and an attacking midfielder would be nice!

    • Good luck to Fraizer too. I think he’ll do a great job at Championship level, but as a Prem striker, I don’t know. Too many injuries have blighted his career. Still, he’ll definitely help Hull get up, then Bruce might need to spend and strengthen his strike force to stay up.

  11. I don’t have any doubt that Danny Graham, if he comes to the SoL, will play to the fullest extent of his ability. Whether that’s good enough remains to be seen…

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