The Beautiful Game? Wrinkly Pete’s thoughts on the power of football

John McCormick writes: We’re not the only old and famous club to be facing turbulent times and I’m sure our players (some of them, at least) aren’t the only ones to be facing hostility. That said, if you look no further than our own site, then add in the piece I posted yesterday about the World Cup, you could be forgiven for thinking all footballers are money grabbing mercenaries.

But, deep down, we know that not all players are, and to prove it here’s Pete Lynn with a look at some of the beautiful sides of the beautiful game. Just how many sides is something you can decide for yourselves:

As my regular readers will know, I am a proud member of the Heart of England branch of Sunderland’s Supporters Association. It is this membership which has allowed me to achieve something I thought impossible, namely to travel frequently from my Midlands location to home games. At our recent AGM I was amazed to be told that I had won our annual “predictions competition”.

This, like many other such fun contests, involved guessing a number of football stats based on the season’s games, and not just those of SAFC.

Jermain’s Bradley montage
Entry cost £2; I received £69 and the Bradley Lowery Foundation benefitted to the tune of £100.

It was nice to be reminded in the same week of the efforts of Jermain Defoe to help in Bradley’s life, which partly contributed to Jermain receiving the OBE.

and who will occupy it next season? asks the editor

My win was a real fluke but I determined to use my winnings to good effect and so this past Wednesday saw me fighting with a self-assembly garden seat, see above – in its thrice assembled/dismantled finished state.

Thursday saw Mrs Wrinkly and me in the company of one hundred plus Aston Villa supporters for the day as we were invited to the wedding of Dawn and Dave, mad keen fans.

Their reception was held at the Chateau Impney hotel near Droitwich, pictured on the left.


Their wedding and reception, besides being great fun, raised money for Acorns Trust and Cancer Research UK. You can judge their allegiance to The Villa by their wedding cake, pictured right.

After the meal, Dave and Dawn were circulating amongst their guests on the terraced garden when one guest approached them with a large envelope which he insisted needed immediate opening. They did so and were genuinely shocked to discover inside was a wedding card signed by the entire Villa playing squad.

It’s nice to be able to witness, first hand, decent actions by footballers who are so often maligned.


thanks, Ellis, from Wrinkly Pete*.

On the subject of decent actions and malignance, I should like to record my personal tribute to Ellis Short.

He became public enemy number one for many of our fans towards the end of his ownership but I think his action in taking the personal hit with the club’s debts speaks volumes for his feelings for the club. Without that gesture, who knows what may have happened?


Will Aston Villa be so lucky? The answer to that may feature in next year’s predictions quiz.

Wrinkly Pete


*Ellis Short photo courtesy of If there is any copyright claim, not answered by ‘fair use’ exemptions, on the images used to illustrate this report, please make us aware and we will add credits or remove as requested.

1 thought on “The Beautiful Game? Wrinkly Pete’s thoughts on the power of football”

  1. I have been a long and vocal critic of Ellis Short’s ownership of the club for years – long before it became fashionable – not the man himself who I appreciate poured loads of his own money into the club, though I equate it with me tipping the window cleaner a fiver at Xmas. I also applaud the honourable way in which he settled the debts and appears to have waited for a buyer who he thought would be able to act in the club’s best interest.

    I appreciate he didn’t have to do that but his record as an owner has been littered with disastrous decisions and it is the results of those decisions which has dragged a once great club down to its nadir.

    No tribute from me.

    Just like when I was working with kids with behavioural problems I would say to Ellis Short “it’s not you I don’t like – it’s what you’ve done I don’t like.”

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