Only a few hours to go to Christmas, just over a week of 2015 left and we’re all in festive spirits. Aren’t we? Pete Sixsmith swears he heard someone say the beatings will continue until morale improves. But he’ll be there again on Saturday, and next Wednesday night and the Saturday after, clinging to the hope we cannot stand. For now, it seems fitting that a man who keeps the kiddies happy each year as Father Christmas should offer a seasonal contribution to the older Lads and Lasses who frequent these pages…
The 12 Days of Christmas is a much loved song, cataloguing the different gifts given to a young man or woman by their beloved. Why anyone would want a partridge in a pear tree is beyond me and the noise caused by the 10 drummers drumming is almost as awful to contemplate as the damage done to the fabric of the house by the arrival of a dozen leaping lords – hopefully not all possessing the girth of Lord Hattersley.
There is a very rude and not particularly pleasant version that was sung in the back of John Tennick’s bus in the 1960s, which featured Lord Montague of Beaulieu, who had been arrested and charged with having an affair with a boy scout in the 1950s – but we won’t go into that, as the actress said to the bishop.
And so, after a busy day Ho Ho Ho ing I give you a version of this fine old English carol that appertains to the current Sunderland side. Ready? Here we go;
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a defender from FC Maccabi- probably because no decent central defender would be particularly interested in joining us at the moment
On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, two pacy wingers – seeing as Jeremain Lens has gone into a sulk and Duncan Watmore is playing through the middle, we could do with a couple of wide men. Roy Greenwood any one?
On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me three French midfielders, who, if they are as committed and as thoughtful as Yann M’Vila, will be a genuine asset to us – perhaps we could tempt Steed Malbranque and Eric Roy out of retirement?
On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me four trips to London – we have had five of the last six away games in the capital. One of them was on a Monday night, another is at 12.45. And they wonder why supporters are becoming tired of the Premier League. Still, maybe we can get a nice Friday night at Ipswich next season.
On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me five Rodwell bookings. Amazing that a man who appears as infrequently as he does can end up being suspended – Charlie Hurley played for us for 10 years and probably got less than Jack did.
On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me six derby victories. We don’t have much to get excited about, but those six wins have kept us going. A number of youngsters have been reminded of this by Santa in the last few weeks. Well, it would be cruel not to.
On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me seven supporters sighing. Plenty to sigh about at the moment. There is almost a collective sigh every time the players walk on to the pitch and there is huge sigh whenever poor, benighted Danny Graham is sent on to run around after the ball like an enthusiastic cocker spaniel.
On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me eight trips to Stoke. Eight miserable, windswept, cold, hostile afternoons/evenings on top of a hill next to a municipal incinerator and, to make it worse, they usually end up beating us. They have played in Europe, had two managers while we are on our seventh and they sign good players from Barcelona and Inter Milan. We get players from Wigan and Tottenham Hotspur Reserves.
On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me nine Fan Zone passes. A great innovation particularly on a wet and windy day. Blue Sky thinking at its finest. Meanwhile, the team slide inexorably down the league.
On the 10th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 10 Johnny Crossans, for no other reason than I like mentioning the mercurial Ulsterman at least twice a year. He was one of the first players I idolised. Still in Derry [scored five goals in a 5-a-side game, aged 70+ – Ed] and still one of my all-time favourites.
Catch the buildup to Man City v SAFC:
* Guess the Score – it’s a rollover at https://safc.blog/2015/12/manchester-city-v-safc-guess-the-score-cricket-variations-permitted/
* Who are You? – with David Mooney of the Blue Moon Podcast at https://safc.blog/2015/12/manchester-city-v-safc-who-are-you-toures-king-sam-gives-hope/
* Monsieur Salut’s review at ESPN FC of the season so far: http://www.espnfc.com/barclays-premier-league/23/blog/post/2755970/premier-league-report-cards-leicester-the-big-story
On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me eleven proper football shirts. They would have a v neck and broad red and white stripes. There would be no logos belonging to overseas bookmakers, South African food distribution companies or TV Bingo games. The numbers would be 1-11 and the badge would be the one from the 70s and 80s with the ship on . The players would be proud to wear these shirts, following in the footsteps of Charlie Buchan, Raich Carter and Brian Usher. Ah, the days when football was football.
On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 12 more points by February…………….
Well, an old man can dream can’t he?
* Salut! Sunderland once again thanks all readers, contributors, advertisers and sponsors for their support throughout 2015, our ninth year of existence, and wishes all a merry Christmas and happy, healthy new year.