Danny Graham: did the booing reflect Mensa minds or moronic dummy-spitting?

Purity of thought, urges Jake
Purity of thought, urges Jake

Maybe being thousands of miles away encourages a more philosophical outlook than is possible to take from the singing section down by the south-western corner flag at the Stadium of Light.

As I lay awake in Sri Lanka awaiting news of the Swansea match from the mobile phone of Mr Sixsmith, up in the East Stand, I did wonder whether Danny Graham would be playing and, if so, whether he’d be booed. The answer to both questions, it seems, is yes (there was precious little other “news” of the game to savour).

My own views on the should-we/shouldn’t-we? issue are unchanged from when it was first reported that SAFC had made a bid for Graham.

I could not care less then that he supported Newcastle United as a lad and could not care less now. Nor does it cause me sleepless nights even that, in a light-hearted interview, he once implied that he could never play for Sunderland. The only news value from such an interview would have come from a declaration of the opposite view: “Oh yes, as a lifelong Mag, I can think of nothing better than turning out for the red and whites.”

So yes, I welcome Danny Graham. I accept that his personal allegiance to the wrong club in the North East places a special responsibility on his shoulders. But if is plays to his fullest ability, even when SAFC come up against NUFC, and – of course – if he is actually any good, there is not the slightest, flimsiest reason for any Sunderland supporter capable of joined-up thinking to be other than grateful.

Those are big ifs. It is for him to remove the conditional. But in the meantime he’s ours and deserves the support we once gave Lee Clark, Pop Robson, Bob Stokoe, Bobby Moncur and others. Any other view still strikes me as babyish, much as I continue to defend the right of others to disagree.

This will be a controversial note on which to end, but the most impressive contribution I have seen in months to the (always highly impressive) exchanges on the Blackcats e-mail list came this week from someone whose permission to quote by name I cannot easily seek and obtain while on holiday. So I shall limit myself to saying these are the words of Mr X (unless and until he approves identification):

I have to say, his getting booed the other night was singularly one of the most embarrassing episodes I’ve had as a Sunderland fan. Made a sizeable section of our fans look like a bunch of small-minded, parochial, myopic, carrot-crunching, bigoted, dummy-spitting twats – and indicative of exactly why we’ve not won anything for 40 years and counting.

To much of the world we must look like a footballing backwater – albeit one that’s ravenous for success – giving players and coaches a convenient excuse to steer well clear. Danny Graham may end up being a pile of ca-ca. Who knows. But these daftass prejudices are outdated. Time to move on. Hope he scores a hatful. And by taking on this challenge (and I do know he’s not doing it for free), he’s at least showed he’s got the bollocks for the fight.

There is at least one other way of looking at the matter that includes the right to boo and the right to challenge the manager’s judgement. Perhaps the boo boys and girls really do have Mensa minds and moreover, having had their fun, will be the loudest to cheer him when he comes on.

We shall see. For now, it’s back to a last day of sunshine – after another thank you to Mr X.

Monsieur Salut, by Matt
Monsieur Salut, by Matt

10 thoughts on “Danny Graham: did the booing reflect Mensa minds or moronic dummy-spitting?”

  1. Does anyone recall the times when n’castle supporters would sometimes come to Roker if there was no home mag match? And vice versa as sometimes a good team would be coming to st james and you wanted to see star players.

    Healthy rivalry rather than the real hatred seen these days.

    Also let’s not define ourselves via an opposing team but be proud of the club for itself.
    I hope Graham does well although that still won’t be enough for some of the bigots we unfortunately have as supporters.

  2. Listen lads you would never know what tribal hatred was unless you had met my social climbing mother.

    She worshiped two things in life, rubbing shoulders with the great and wealthy and my young brother, who was the nearest thing to the Arch Angel Gabriel without actually having died.

    I, as the elder son, bucked all restrictions and paved the way for wor lad but as a consequence he could do no wrong whilst I could have given her a gold ingot wrapped in mink and it would have been the wrong colour.

    We had 200 people at the wedding and for the six months prior to the event she reveled in telling everyone that her darling younger son was going to be my best man. Wasn’t it wonderful and he is only 17 you know.

    Come the day however my best man was the person that he was always going to be and that to her utter horror was the son of a scrap metal merchant from Wales but what did that matter, he was my best friend.

    I didn’t see her at Christmas for 40 years I didn’t get presents for any birthdays, or cards, whilst he was bought a house, and pampered beyond belief and I continued to be persona non grata but then that would have happened anyway.

    Even now I cannot help laughing when I remember my wedding day with mother howling how dare he do this to me, with the back of one hand firmly pinned to the spike she kept on her forehead for moments such as this.

    Dad whispered behind his grin you little bugger.

    My brother and I still get on very well and needless to say he didn’t look after either of our parents when they developed dementia, it was the black sheep of the family and his caring wife that stepped forward.

    The tribal warfare? It was worth every second of that wedding day. Football crowds? Nah complete beginners.

  3. Whether we like it or not Graham’s affiliation will be an issue,we all know that.MON is being naive to expect otherwise,he is not from these parts and does not know how deep feelings run.

    I would add here that he backed McLean on the wearing of the poppy issue on the grounds that local allegiances played a part…….on that basis he had better show similar understandng if the crowd show theirs.

    • Vince
      I was brought up in County Durham. my best friends and my best man at my wedding was a Newcastle supporter, he was my best friend not because of the team he supported but because we liked each other and had loads in common. If you live in Byker, Wallsend and Elswick you will never have met a Sunderland supporter in your entire life. If you live in Chester-le Street, Leam Lane’ Sourh Shields and Washington you will understand we lived together happily our whole lives and respected each other , we had friendly banter, never ever was hatred or even jealousy an issue. What changed, Geordie Shore and a tribalism that never ever existed in the pits or the shipyards. Your life at times depended on the actions of a “marra”. I have worked in The Gold Mines of Africa and found this inter dependance equally valid. I love the North east of England and can never hate anyone who supports Newcastle they are my people and they had no say in the matter, it is a birth right as it is a birthright of every Sunderland supporter, When will we get back to those days of friendly banter outside of the malevalance of the North Tyne shore which is at best uninformedand always aggresive.

      • Hi Keith,
        I wholeheartedly agree with you.Unfortunately some fans will never see it that way.Friends of mine have already said as much,though I do not agree with them. I have also been in situations where the same ignorance was directed at me as a Sunderland fan.To be told outright that I am not liked because of the team I follow is quite a thing to experience,what can one say to that kind of bigotry?

        But that mentality does indeed exist and like it or nor these views will persist, it is part and parcel of the region,So the manager and player cannot say they have not been warned…it is on their own heads if it all goes pear shaped, ala Lee Clark.I hope that it does not, but it is another monkey on the players back before he has kicked a ball.

  4. No Mensa minds amongst that lot M Salut. Just what did people think would be achieved by their actions and how does it reflect their support for the club? Let me theorise.

    1. Booing him might have persuaded him to go elsewhere or stay at Swansea?

    Response: Did those people think that the squad is strong enough and we didn’t need someone to cover for Fletcher? Can professional footballers not differentiate between their job and their childhood allegiance? Are we not to trust the manager’s judgement in bringing in available (and I stress available) and affordable personnel who will strengthen the squad? Even Saha, Campbell and McFadden provided some cover and without them striking options were very thin. MON must rate Graham higher than those three.

    2. Booing him might have upset him on the night and made him ineffective?

    Response: I think not – if anything it would ensure he gave his all – in fact if it hadn’t been for Bramble’s backside he could have scored.

    Judging a potential player on anything other than ability is small minded and short sighted. Unfortunately those traits are not necessarily the preserve of the “hard of thinking” as some generally intelligent and thoughtful people have allowed their emotions to supersede their logical side. Pity but surely not something that would get them through a Mensa test.

    I await the Arsenal game with interest as I tend to believe that fans who go away are more supportive of the team when it is on the pitch. I hope Graham gets on and scores tomorrow and leaves those who jeered with egg on their faces, but I still fear there may be those in the crowd who will give him stick, unless (or until) he proves his worth to a greater degree than people like Sess, who I like, but who undoubtedly would have been in for harsher treatment had he spent his boyhood going to Sid James’ Park.

  5. Was going to contribute until AT Hedley raised the bar a little too high for me – I agree with his wonderfully articulated sentiments.
    However, foolishly undeterred: In my more humble thoughts, I was actually amused by the booing – although the TV coverage showed clapping supporters as well. Why? Perhaps we take them too seriously? I guess the very same small smattering of ‘booing fans’ will cheer him on his debut and instantly worship him if (hopefully) he scores or even assists.
    I believe these same fans don’t take themselves too seriously either and also suspect that Danny Graham didn’t take the booing too seriously either. He was probably quite amused by it all.
    Listening to his interview last night, he said all of the right things – seriously pissing off any watching Mag & Smoggy by stating we were his no. 1 choice.
    Of course, loyalty can also be shown to the club offering the most money. We’ll soon find out. Unlike the Chelsea fans re Benitez, I am sure we’ll give him every chance to become a valued member of our club.

  6. We live in a society where men of differing views on religion kill each other in the name of a God of Peace, when our God and their Allah are one and the same, with most Moslems accepting much of the bible and the existence of Christ.

    We have two north east cities which are still divided by a civil war in the mid 1600’s.

    There are areas of the country where the names of Thatcher or Enoch Powell promote paroxysms of rage, like a response to the tolling of a Pavlov bell, ignoring the fact that both were patriots and deep thinkers. Like every one of us they had good and bad aspects to their characters.

    In a Kingdom where never a thought is given to the performance of a party that once looked after the interests of the working man and regularly swathes of say the Welsh population vote in droves without a hesitant thought, that the party of their youth is no more, following in their fathers and grandfather’s footsteps.

    Should we be surprised in such circumstances if football fans fail to engage in the luxury of rational thought?

    The use of the word Mensa must shiver in the ether, as if in terror,of exposure to the winter sunlight.

    • What team you support, your football affiliation, is a replacement for tribalism. A slightly nicer one that, nowadays, doesn’t lead to too much casualty of physical violence.
      We look sometimes for “difference” in other people and let that exploit the nastiness that’s hidden deep within each one of us.

      Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

  7. To say Danny Graham will give less than 100% is without any foundation. A testimony to the strength of the man’s character is he decided to sign for Sunderland without a moments hesitation and although the press speculated he was unlike to sign due to the booing on Tuesday he never once faltered from his committment to the club. His career started at Boro and they wanted him back, he chose the Black Cats. Whether he will end up being a success remains to be seen but he has made a committment which at first hand would appear risky, he wanted to return to the NE and his choice were Sunderland this is a man with inner strenght and belief who has not taken the easy route but perhaps to most difficult, I sincerley hope this story has a happy ending and Danny becomes a Wearside legend Like Pop Robson, Ron Guthrie, Bob Stokoe Don Hutchinson, and Lee Clarke, he is not a Chopra who has proven by his behaviour to be a man of little moral standing and a troubled and sad life was etched out of an opportunity we would have all hoped to have been given. I fell sorry for the mess of a life Chopra created for himself but don’t tarnish all Geordies with the same brush most of them are decent hard working and honest.

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