Bingo, we have new sponsors, and Niall says they’re good news for Sunderland AFC. Salut! Sunderland offers Tombola a useful guide to the numbers on the backs of key members of the squad (but then realises it’s not needed because the firm’s chief executive is a Sunderland nut*, who comes warmly recommended by a good source)…
Salut! Sunderland is not sure it cares too much what name appears on the front of the players’ shirts.
OK, we’d certainly draw the line at seeing the initials BNP or NF emblazoned across the fabric separating thin air from Darren Bent’s chest.
But Vaux was great, Reg Vardy was equally Sunderland-relevant, Boylesport was inoffensive and, now, Tombola is something we can live with. Correction: Tombola is inoffensive, Sunderland-related (they employ people) and needs only to add Salut! Sunderland to its sponsorships to be great too.
Tombola does online bingo. Let’s not be snobbish about that, or any other form of bingo. Most of our mothers or aunts played it, at any rate the version that took place in what used to be fleapit cinemas, and you’d even see lots of blokes at the seaside bingo sessions. Some of us were even known to join in occasionally on the club trip to Whitley Bay.
We’ve looked for omens or nuggets of wisdom in the glossary of bingospeak:
Craig Gordon, No 1: On Its Own (somehow sums up a goalie’s life)
Phil Bardsley, No 2: One Little Duck (wants to waddle away for first-team football)
George McCartney, No 3: One Little Flea (so that’s what caused all the layoffs)
Michael Turner, No 4: Knock At The Door (but not at head height, Michael)
Anton Ferdinand, No 5: Man Alive (to an opponent’s dive?)
Alan Hutton, No 6: Tom’s Tricks (someone’s confused him with the former American Football player Tom Hutton)
Bolo Zenden, No 7: Lucky For Some (whichever club his incessant travels take him to next?)
Steed Malbranque, No 8: Garden Gate (ideal for resting on while contemplating life with a few drags of your Gauloise – the alternative, One Fat Lady, doesn’t seem to fit)
Fraizer Campbell, No 9: Doctor’s Orders (a prescription for success?)
Kieran Richardson, No 10: PM’s Den (streets ahead of Downing?)
Darren Bent, No 11: Legs Eleven (times two to get his current goal haul)
John Mensah, No 12: One Dozen (is that the best mapaubingo.com can come up with for a class defender?)
Liam Noble, No 15: Young And Keen (not quite 20)
Jordan Henderson, No 16: Sweet Sixteen (Sorry Jordan, that’s what it says)
Kenwyne Jones, No 17: Dancing Queen. (Er, sorry to you too KJ. Blame Abba)
David Meyler, No 18: Coming Of Age (by getting into the first team regularly?)
Lorik Cana, No 19: Goodbye Teens (Or nëntëmbëdhjetë in Albanian)
Andy Reid, No 20: One Score (well actually, one doesn’t, or not often)
Paolo Da Silva, No 22: Two Little Ducks (twice as good as Phil “One Little Duck” Bardsley?)
Matt Kilgallon, no 27: Gateway To Heaven (aye, if only the lad can get a game)
Marton Fulop, No 32: Buckle My Shoe (surely not what Craig Gordon tells him when establishing rank)
Michael Liddle, No 33 : Dirty Knee (not too many yet, but his time will come)
Lee Cattermole, No 39: Those Wonderful Steps (towards the ref for another yellow)
And finally, perhaps we can all put out of our minds the origins of the word tombola: it comes from the Italian tombolare, meaning to tumble, and tombare, to fall.
* Salut! Sunderland is indebted to the Blackcats list for this glowing reference to the Tombola boss, Phil Cronin:
“… he was actually a Blackcat subscriber several years ago … his credentials (and his family’s) are impeccable, red & white through to the bone, and his father was FD in the 60s & 70s probably during the Collings era. Obviously there’s always some sort of commercial gain implied in any sponsorship, but in this case, it’s a genuine SAFC supporter, prepared to put something into the club.”
The club site quotes Phil as saying: “Sponsoring Sunderland AFC is a fantastic opportunity for tombola. With our own head office here in Sunderland we have been able to see the work that Niall and his team have done to transform the fortunes of the club. We’re really looking forward to working with Sunderland and we’re confident that this sponsorship will help us achieve our own ambitions.”
** With thanks to Thunderchild tm‘s Flickr pages for the image.