Right, there’s a great Newcastle United “Who Are You?’ on its way and we may even devote a piece to Joey Barton, whose hopes of reinventing himself as a philosophical and well-read reformed thug have suffered recent setbacks. For now, Pete Sixsmith dips into a work of contemporary literature Joey, too busy exploring Song of the Day at Salut! Live, may not yet have reached …
Due to the appalling weather we have had this “summer”, my reading output has increased considerably.
Unlike Joey Barton, I have resisted the temptations of Nietzsche and Orwell and stuck to more humble fare, one of which is an excellent tome by Matthew Norman called You Cannot Be Serious.
The second title is The 101 Most Infuriating Things In Sport and Norman looks at er, 101 things in sport that really annoy him, ranging from Tim Henman’s parents , the Offside Rule in Rugby Union and Alan Green.
No doubt had he been writing it now, Peter Allis (“the Socrates of snug bar philosophy”) would have been relegated from the No 1 spot by the burglar-foiling, Gervinho-pulling Twitter merchant known as Joey B.
However, he does have a couple of entries that pleased this particular Sunderland fan. At No 22 is everybody’s favourite fence creosoter, Alan Shearer, who, despite attempts to ingratiate himself with Sunderland supporters, is still the devil incarnate for many.
Norman is not impressed with his punditry on MOTD, describing him thus: “As a pundit he is, of course, abysmal. No one outside the Sleepeasy Care Home For Retired Sporting Dimwits more formally known as BBC Sport, and his loyal army of self pitiers on Tyneside, could deny that.” Mmmm, tasty …
Nor was he impressed by his prowess as a manager. When the latest Tyneside Messiah was sent for, he failed to save them from relegation.
I quote: “They needed only to win a few home games in front of the self-proclaimed ‘most passionate fans in the world’. The late Barbara Cartland would have kept them up. So would Lamb Chop, Shari Lewis’s ovine glove puppet sidekick. Even David Pleat might have done it.”
Thumb back four chapters from Shearer, chuckling at his hatchet jobs on Ken Bates, John Inverdale and Steve McClaren (imagine being stuck in a lift with those three!!) and we come to No 26: The Bare-Chested Gargantuan Newcastle Fan.
Describing these not rare enough creatures as “having breasts that could suckle both New Zealand islands”, he cuts to the chase and sums up what many millions all over the world feel about these pitiful attention seekers.
“By any formula comparing fan base and revenue to silverware, Newcastle United is historically the planet’s least successful football club. Apart from headline-grabbing comic mismanagement of the sort so expertly provided by owner Mike Ashley, fake eccentricity is the only means of retaining any interest from a media and public that would otherwise have tired long ago of the club’s grandiose claims to relevance.”
Never have truer words been spoken and it is to be sincerely hoped that the sizeable minority who make up this element of our neighbours’ support are grizzling all the way back to Tyneside so that they can feast on “Nicholas Soames in a Cyril Smith-James Corden sandwich and still have room left over for a King Of Tonga sundae”.
Priceless stuff and if you enjoyed those, his pieces on Willie Carson (“ceaseless cackling at a pitch to shatter glass and possibly tungsten”), John Terry (“the Jordan of association football) and The Centre Court Crowd (“the planet’s largest flower arranging tutorial”) are guaranteed to make you chuckle if not laugh out loud.