We just about got there. With the help of readers, a couple of emergency nominations and a spectacular own goal from Peter Crouch to fill the last gap (P for Peter), we now have targets for the odd burst of booing for each letter of the alphabet. The posting remains open to improvements suggested by Salut! Sunderland readers …
If you are thinking of nominating your own candidates, bear in mind the basic rules that appear in a footnote**:
* A is for Anyone who played what Johan Cruyff magisterially called anti-football, for the Netherlands versus Spain (see individual entries). And for Nicolas Anelka (see B)
* B is for Les Bleus, namely any member of the awful, angry, arrogant French World Cup squad who earns his living in the Premier. Think Evra, Anelka, Malouda, Sagna, Clichy, Diaby. And Gallas if he returns to the Premier. And boo your hearts out at les mecs.
* C is for Cheats, the growing number of players of all nationalities who happily engage in all that diving, writhing about in apparent agony when not even hurt, shirtpulling, sneaky handling of the ball, badgering of refs to book or send off opponents and other nasty habits now taught as basic technique by Premier coaching staff.
And from George, C is also for corners – “all the pulling of arms, bear hugs and downright cheating at corners … it’s about time it was eradicated from our game but which referee would be strong enough?”
* D is for Nigel de Jong of Man City, for his passable impression of a clumsy martial arts practitioner disguised as footballer (see A).
* E is for the England players who got games in South Africa: as overpaid and overrated a bunch of underachievers as you’re likely to encounter (Les Bleus excepted). Wasn’t our Darren well out of it?
* F I’d have nominated Sir Alex Ferguson except that his achievements outweigh his pantomime boorishness
But, from Terry McLouglin, comes a stronger candidate, though more difficult to boo: “F for Fifa for refusing to take their collective heads out of their backsides and moving into the 21st century.”
* G, nominated by Malcolm, is for Gordon Strachan and his teams’ tactics at the SoL (with Coventry and Southampton) when his players would feign injury so that the ball would be put into touch whenever we looked like getting an attacking advantage, enabling his defences to get themselves organised.
And Gary Neville still deserves the odd jeer or two, if he plays against us, for his anti-Sunderland comments of the past
* H is for John Heitinga of Everton (see A)
* I is for Hérita Ilunga of West Ham, just so he doesn’t think we’ve forgotten his disgraceful play-acting in the Kenwyne Jones incident last season
* J , says Malcolm again, is for David James “for crap hair and that dreadful challenge on Kenwynne in the Trinidad v England game”.
Or, according to Sean, J could stand for Jermain Defoe “for his stamp (or should I say innocent tackle?) on Craig Gordan last year when he broke his arm”, or even “Joey (silly tash) Barton”.
* K is for Dirk Kuyt of Liverpool (see A)
* L Looking for a better target than the inanimate London match ticket prices, but they’ll do for now
* M is for Arsenal’s Marouane Chamakh, who was probably innocent in the let’s-insult-Sunderland campaign of the Bordeaux chairman Jean-Louis Triaud and the then manager Laurent Blanc of a year ago but can accept the boos on their behalf.
M is also for Andre Marriner., declares Luke Harvey, “for generally being the most consistent referee Sunderland seem to encounter on a year-by-year basis, but for all the wrong reasons”.
* N, I am afraid, is for Newcastle United who have had far too much grudging goodwill from here for Chris Hughton’s impressive managerial achievements and need to be put back in their places
* O is for any linesman who flags for offside against Darren Bent, especially when he’s onside
* P may be for Peter Crouch, for not being serious about coming to Sunderland when we wanted him and also for what every man who has ever seen a photo of Abbey Clancy must be asking. And if it turns out to be a heap of nonsense, boo the News of the World instead (but we’d then need another P)..
* Q This letter was inserted into the alphabet by a Mag hoping we’d forget ourselves and invite boos for Niall Quinn. With the departures of Quashie and Queudrue, I cannot even find a current Premier player with a name starting with Q , though republicans among us could always suggest any playing of God Save the Queen.
* R is for referees who think the ball crossing the line is just its way of remaining in open play, who miss keepers charging out of the area and handling the ball (Mr Webb at Villa a couple of seasons ago) and who generally make it even harder for Sunderland to win.
But surely, Stuart argues, R is for ‘Arry Redknapp “who would be very interested in player X though of course he hasn’t spoken to him because he’s contracted to another club”.
* S is for Sky TV for mucking up long-distance match travel arrangements with scant notice. And for Salut! Sunderland if you wish.
Again from George, S might stand for substitutions, too. He’d ban timewasting late subs unless forced by serious injury
From Sanddancer, comes another thorn in the side of Mags: “I give you ‘Toon vanity’. Good to have them back but they don’t seem to have learned their lesson. It’ll be nice to put them back in their place by taking six points off them this season as they tumble back out of the Premiership. They’re just not good enough in any department; ownership, players or fans”.
* U can only be for Uefa, again hard to boo and again Terry Mcloughlin’s choice, “for, well, being Platini”.
* V is for Robin Van Persie of Arsenal (see A). Maybe merits especially loud booing because 1) he defended Holland’s roughneck gameplan and 2) Arsenal fans adopt such a high-minded attitude about ruffians at other clubs. And keep some boos for the first fan who blows a vuvuzela at a Premier match
* W is for whichever authorities in the West Midlands ordained that away fans should routinely be banned from licensed premises in Wolverhampton, even in the friendly, sunny, nothing-at-stake atmosphere of the last day of the season
* X is for players who commit X-rated, career-menacing tackles
* Y is for any attempted comeback by football yobs but also for club officials who decide there’s no need for the presumption of innocence, banning people before they’ve been convicted of anything
* Z is for the teams that set out to induce Zzzz…. or deep sleep with their boring, unadventurous tactics. Unless it’s Sunderland and we desperately need the point.
** It’s just a spot of fun. But you must not suggest the booing of a player from your own club (well you can, but he won’t be added)
* you may choose a player (first or last name), referee, management figure or any other individual or inanimate entity associated with the top flight of English football – and you’ll see that we’ve been a bit flexible on that by including Uefa and Fifa
* your comment will be held briefly pending moderation if you haven’t posted before. The IT cretins and robots that have tried to dump nearly 5,000 spam messages here could explain that one