Joan Osborne is of Irish stock so maybe casts an eye from time to time across the Atlantic at how an Irish-American owner and pure Irish chairman are getting on at Sunderland. She may be pleased to hear her whimsical hit One of Us served as a slightly tenuous inspiration for Jeremy Robson to set a rather interesting ball rolling …
That Joan Osborne song, Jeremy reports from his Ontario exile, was on the radio the other day, the one with the mention of “just one question” before the chorus line “What if God was one of us?”.
Some question. But what, he (not He) wondered, if we all had the right to put just one question of our own to any Sunderland player, past or present. To whom would you pose yours and what would it be?
Jeremy’s would be to Marco Gabbiadini.
What on earth made you sign for Crystal Palace?
M Salut has a pal at the BBC who occasionally contributes to these pages, knows Marco well enough and will probably know the answer. But I wouldn’t want to spoil Jeremy’s fun, or ours.
You can add your imaginary answer from Marco or post a question of your own. If the idea takes off, I may even offer a prize for the best response. If no one bothers to rise to Jeremy’s bait, we can all blame him.
I can’t immediately think of my own question, but do have a random Joan Osborne anecdote even if the poor girl is by now wondering how she got dragged into idle banter at Salut! Sunderland.
A few years ago, I arranged a telephone interview with her (I was then the folk bloke for The Daily Telegraph) about a fine version of a great Irish ballad Raglan Road.
It appeared an album by the Chieftains on which they backed a procession of female singers, all singing Irish or Irish-related songs. From memory, tracks included Joni Mitchell’s Magdalene Laundries, the Corrs singing I’ll Tell Me Ma and something by Sinead O’Connor.
I finally got through to her from a phone box in Belfast, where I was working, and had a good chat. It went on longer than expected (at gratifyingly large cost to the Telegraph) making me late for a meal with friends. I got there, plonked down my A4 notebook on the floor and prepared to slurp some wine.
The waitress appeared by my side and began to open a bottle of Moroccan or Lebanese red. As the cork came out of the top, the bottom of the bottle suddenly fell off, sending a torrent of plonk onto my notebook. If ever Joan wondered if and how her quotes had become pickled, she now has her answer.
All of which has for some reason put a question into my mind after all.
Sadly it has to be posed posthumously.
Andy Kerr, who died in 1997 aged just 66, was a Scottish centre forward who arrived at Roker Park in1963 with a big reputation as a man who, in 101 games, had hit no fewer than 90 goals for Kilmarnock.
His spell at Sunderland was a little less glorious, just five goals in 18 before he was shipped off to Aberdeen. Andy was clearly nearing the end of his career by then; his only two Scottish caps having been several years earlier.
My question? :What did you think when SAFC said to you: ‘Welcome to Wearside, Mr Kerr. We expect you to fill Brian Clough’s boots and take over where he left off’?