Soapbox: good news, bad news.

Soapbox
.…in which Pete Sixsmith welcome attempts to turn the Stadium of Light dressing room into a new League of Nations….

The news
from the Stadium just gets better.

I nearly drove the car into a lorry when I heard that we had signed Djibril Cissé, albeit on a year’s loan. He is another player who has touch, pace and a pedigree that would go down well at Crufts. Compare this signing with what we brought in three years ago – let’s face it, they were more suited to the Leeholme and District Lurcher Show.

This morning’s paper says that Roy is hoping to bring in at least two more new players before the weekend. We could end up with a staggering seven new faces when we turn out at White Hart Lane, all speaking foreign languages like Finnish, French and Cockney (if Ferdinand signs).

When I started watching SAFC 45 years ago, foreign tongues were spoken by the Scots and Irish in the club. Translators were probably called in to interpret George Mulhall’s dour Aberdonian and Johnny Crossan’s gentle Derry accent. Now we have, Finn and French heard on the training ground.

As we set off for Spurs, the mood must be positive. They are vulnerable and I think that there is every chance of a point – at the very least. What chances Diouf and Cissé opening their accounts?

Forty years ago, we played a midweek game at Queens Park Rangers. As it was the school holidays and I had made a bit of money working in a factory, I paid my first visit to Loftus Road.

Rangers were seen as the new “next best thing” in London football, having achieved successive promotions on the back of their Wembley League Cup win in 1967. We were a middle ranking first division side going into the campaign having shed a number of highly paid and high welfare Scots and relying on a decent crop of youngsters.

The game ended in a 2-2 draw with Gordon Harris netting both of ours. It was here that I had my first experience of that warm London welcome that will endear our capital city to the Olympic visitors in 2012.

Having a post match pint of Youngs Bitter in the QPR Social Club we were told to drink up and f— off by a Rangers fan. Being habitual cowards we followed his instructions.

A long journey home saw me being dropped off in Darlington and catching the early train to Shildon. As I walked up the ramp from the station, the signalman, Joe Blacklock, opened the window and told me that he had just heard that Soviet tanks had entered Czechoslovakia and that the Czechs were not resisting.

It was a sad and deflated trudge home along the Black Path to Drybourne Park that morning.

There you are: football and History intertwined. Next week; how Sunderland fared when Sandie Shaw won the Eurovision Song Contest.

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