There’s only one Jody Craddock: Sunderland, Wolves and art

Visit to see more of Jody's work*
This is one of Jody’s. Visit Jody’s site to see more of his work*

Jody Craddock was a terrific servant to Sunderland AFC. He went on to play as wholeheartedly for Wolves, so much so that the initially unimpressed Molineux faithful sang one of those ‘used to be s****, now he’s all right’ songs in his honour. Salut! Sunderland is delighted his testimonial match – Wolves XI 4-1 SAFC XI, Niall and SuperKev included – drew a 9,000+ crowd. Read about it at the Sunderland Echo – but let us recall the Who are You? he kindly did with us before the last game of the 2009-2010 season …

Salut! Sunderland: What is your view of the reasons for things going wrong after Sunderland’s two seventh place finishes under Peter Reid?

When safc finished 7th twice I feel it was all about balance with the majority of the team being British and a scattering of quality foreign players. The following seasons before we got relegated I feel the balance wasn’t quite right. Vague I know, but we were all to blame as we didn’t play well enough.

Who is the best professional Yorkshireman: Howard Wilkinson or Mick McCarthy?

I can only answer this based on my experiences and I have been managed by Mick McCarthy longer so have a better relationship and understanding with him.

How embarrassing was the 19 point season and did all the players feel it equally – go on, slag someone off. Don’t be a nice guy all your life.

Being relegated is not only embarrassing but seriously tests you as a person. The blame cannot be pinpointed onto individuals but on the whole squad…..

My mate called his German Shepherd Jody in tribute to you. What are your views on that and dogs being named after footballers?

No problem at all being named after a dog as long as its not a poodle or chihuahua.

Jody's art can be seen at*
Jody’s art can be seen at this link*

Do you envisage playing in the lower leagues when you finally leave Wolves or will it be pack-up time?

I don’t mind playing in the lower leagues … it’s where I started as a player it all depends on how the body feels when my time at Wolves is up.

Wolves having stayed up, do you see Mick McCarthy moving towards a more expansive style of football next year?

I feel the gaffer’s style of football will remain pretty much the same. Why change the recipe if it works?

Who is the most entertaining and amusing player you have worked with at Sunderland. And who was the most miserable?

The funniest person was Mick the masseur. And as for miserable I can’t think of anyone – unless we lost then Peter Reid wasn’t best pleased.

Sunderland fans have a big place for you in their hearts not least because they see you as an antidote to the flash buggers in the Premier League. Are those feelings reciprocated and how do Wolves fans compare? I find them a bit moany.

Both sets of fans have been great towards me. Sunderland fans are always fantastic when I return up there. The Wolves fans after a unsteady start have, I feel, warmed towards me. I would be foolish to compare them.

What are your most treasured memories of your time in Sunderland.

Beating Newcastle…. wahey….

Salut! Sunderland: Do you look out for our results?

I look out for everyone’s results, even more so those that have a direct effect on Wolves also.

What do you feel has made the difference for Mick McCarthy (another man many Sunderland fans have a lot of time for): ie the success he’s had this season at Wolves this season compared with our record breaking lack of points season?

I think that’s a question only Mick can answer.

Did you mind the “Fanny” nickname or was it just inevitable?

Not a problem… you need a tough skin in this game – you want to hear the song they sing for me here … (The YouTube clip seems to have disappeared but the song went something like, ‘One Jody Craddock/There’s only one Jody Craddock/Used to be s***/Now he’s all right/Walking in a Jody wonderland’ – ed)

How do your colleagues in the Wolves team view Sunderland as a football club?

I assume the same as me, a big club with ambitions.

Why did the Sgt Wilko/Cotterill “dream team” go so horribly wrong?

I don’t think it would have mattered who the manager was – they wouldn’t have got us out the s***.

How do Wolverhampton and the Black Country compare with Sunderland/the North East from the point of view of an artist?

I can only compare the two based on my experiences and I have opened more doors whilst being in the Midlands, but the improvement of my work over time has contributed to that.

Do you think you are a better celebrity painter than Jack Russell and Keith Richards?

Only you can decide that …

Why have you started scoring goals all of a sudden?

’cause i put my boots on the right feet.

What did you think of Milton “Tyson” Nunez when he turned up – and how long did it take the rest of the players to realise Reidy had been sold a wrong ’un?

I don’t even remember him playing, so he can’t have left that good of an impression.

Who are your favourite artists?

Da Vinci was pretty good when he was alive also.

With both clubs safe, the last game will be more to do with pride than anything else, but what is your result forecast?

Sorry guys, I’m going for a Wolves win.

How avidly will you follow the World Cup and how much of a gap in your career is the absence of caps?

I will follow the World Cup [2010 – ed] praying for England to win just like the next person. I feel we have a great chance and think it’s about time we won it. I don’t see the absence of caps as a problem as I feel I have pretty much done as much as I could have done in the game. I have looked after myself and am fortunate to still be playing at the top level. I was never good enough for England.

We’ve asked this of fans all season but it would be interesting to have a professional’s thoughts. We called it, mischievously, the Eduardo question: everything (safety/European place/cup final win) depends on winning your last game. In the final seconds, at 1-1, you are awarded a penalty, score it and win although everyone in the ground except the referee knows your teammate dived. Would you take the victory gladly, take it guiltily or feel so ashamed you almost wish you’d only drawn?

I’m not one for cheating and it’s not in my nature to be diving. It certainly does p*** me off when a centre forward hits the deck because the wind blew him over. But if I’m in the World Cup and one of my players dives and wins us a penalty which we score a win the game from, I’d be well happy. It’s the ref that would need shooting.

* Jody Craddock’s art can be viewed and purchased at his website by clicking this link

Interview: Colin Randall

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