Soapbox: Things I will never do

Having not missed a match home or away all season, except on the odd school night, Pete Sixsmith laments opting out of  the Chelsea game on the grounds of cost. Instead, the Horans’ sofa takes one hell of a beating.  

I have a short list of things I know that I will never do in my lifetime, things like never voting Tory or taking up English folk dancing. One of the football related things I vowed I would never do (alongside banging a drum at a match) was to pay £48.00 to watch a run-of-the-mill Premier League game.

Now, one of my golden rules has been broken. I have never ever voted Tory (or Lib Dem – they’re the same, aren’t they?) and you will never see me skipping around a market place with bells on my feet and waving knotted hankies at all and sundry. However, I do wish that I had spent £48.00 on Sunday on a ticket for Stamford Bridge.

If I had children (poor little sods) I could regale them in my dotage about how I was there at SJP in 1990, Hillsborough in 1973, Roker for the Manchester United replay in 1964. But I would not be able to say that I was at Stamford Bridge the day Sunderland slaughtered Chelsea (Paul Merson’s words, not mine).

I could tell them about how, when the first goal went in, Mr Horan’s dog ran around in circles, amazed at the sight of its master leaping around the room like a demented kangaroo, its owner’s wife bouncing on a chair and its owner’s mate sitting on the settee, kicking his legs in the air in a passable impersonation of Mark Cavendish powering through on the final sprint in the Tour de France.

I could tell them about the repeat performance when Asamoah Gyan slotted home the second and how, when Danny Wellbeck converted the most accurate pass that Ashley Cole made all day, two of the three in the room waved their fingers in the air at the departing Chelsea fans.

Good as those feelings may be, it’s not the same as being there, and I wished with all my heart that I could have been in those seats, bouncing up and down and roaring the boys home.

What a performance. From Gordon to Gyan, from Bramble to Wee Shugie McBardsley, the players were a credit to the club. The awful memories of two weeks ago, although not expunged, have been dissipated by this outstanding show of attacking football.

The outstanding moment for me, came in the build up to the second goal when Wellbeck and Zenden’s bout of inter-passing allowed Henderson to receive the ball in space. The ball he played through to Gyan was masterful and Asamoah never had to alter his pace or change his step. You just knew he was going to knock it in – and he did. A truly great goal!

In a team performance of studied brilliance, Danny Wellbeck’s head appears above the throng of heroes. He showed us what he is capable of when he is played in the right position, in the right formation and with the right motivation. His close skills were outstanding and his pace had Chelsea worried all afternoon. He utterly destroyed Ivanovic, who should have been sat in the dressing rooms before half time. The Pulis Theory comes into play here – had that been Turner, he would have gone.
I listened to 606 on the way back from the Horan’s and there was an outpouring of relief that Chelsea had been beaten. Apart from one idiotic fan who reckoned that Turner and Cattermole should have been sent off and that Ivanovic was unlucky to be booked, the Blues who rang in were effusive in their praise before going on to berate their club for sacking Ray Wilkins.

I wasn’t interested in that. All I was interested in was the fact that I had just had a superb footballing weekend. On Saturday, Shildon won 3-1 at Bootle in the FA Vase, despite having their goalkeeper sent off just after half time. The second half performance from The Railwaymen was outstanding as they scored twice to beat a physical Bootle side. They had the statutory squeaky voiced Scouser, but bucked the trend by playing him at full back instead of midfield. They have drawn Coalville Town at home in the next round on Dec 4th.

Now we have to face the problem of raised expectations. We have a different set of games coming up against sides below us in the league – Everton, Wolves, West Ham and Fulham. I didn’t expect 7 points this week – I would have been satisfied with 4 – but now we can push on and begin to challenge for a place in the Europa League. The prospect of FC Mypaa at home on a Thursday night will keep me glowing throughout the long winter months.

Haway The Lads

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26 thoughts on “Soapbox: Things I will never do”

  1. I know a young lad called Shaun Elliott Jackson. I suspect there are many many other similarly named children in Durham and beyond

  2. By the way, if Clare Michelle had been a boy, i’m talking about children now, not dogs, I would be the proud father of Martin Harvey Horan.

  3. Here’s a thought, Jody is 9 now and I am looking around for a German Shepherd pup to continue the trend. I have always used the ‘current squad’ for the naming of the new hairy beast.

    Can you call a dog ‘CATTS’ ?

  4. Just to put the record straight. My beloved pascoe was followed by a second German Shepherd that I originally called agboola. Mrs. H threatened to throw me in the doghouse so the name was changed to Cleo. However, she still responded to Ruben (compromise name) when I called for her. Jody is like his namesake; good pace, fierce tackler and good with his hairy brush, knocking over anything about waist height. I owe you an email jeremy and your memory was not blurred by your Fort sessions.

  5. sorry to disappoint Pete, but the ticket was £49. I’ll sell you my used one for a good price. Oh, and the White Horse was good as well

  6. Welbeck has scored and had a canny game. There would be some on this site that would have to wash their underpants if we had a young Marco Gabbiadini in the team. Talk about one swallow making a summer.

  7. Missed you at the White Horse but didn`t realise you hadn`t made the trip. The game provoked discussion on games as good. I came up with the Man City 73 replay, but the interesting thing was that most struggled with their memories. Standards are now set higher as a result of Sunday. Lets hope we can come close to them more often during the rest of the season. Welbeck up front is the biggest plus. He showed that v Arsenal in the second half. From worrying what we would do if Darren was missing we suddenly to have enough forward power. The only question I suppose is why it has taken 13 games to work it out. The next month could be the making of SAFC this season. Lets hope the red and whites ability to make a mess of a good situation doesn`t surface again.

  8. Aye Pete. I’m sure Mr Horan must have been threatening to call another dog of his Agboola. Either that or I’d perhaps been in The Fort for a bit longer than I should have been one afternoon.

    Good point about the formation Malcolm. I think that I’d like to see a good bit more from Welbeck before considering him a good player. I think Warren Hawke scored ONCE!

    The formation was of course influenced by Bent’s injury, but the other changes were deliberate and calculated; most especially Richardson down the right and Zenden doubling up in front of Bardsley down the left. Tremendous judgement, even if some fo the other changes were forced upon him. Any team without Elmo in it will be an improvement.

  9. Think I’ll have to go up for the Shildon v Coalville match Pete. You realise Coalville Town (as well as being just up the road from me) play in Black and White. Ha’way the Railwaymen. Then West Ham on the Sunday and no work ’til Monday afternoon.

    It appears Monsieur Salut was very astute in his piece about Wellbeck being a good player used in the wrong position and most regular posters were right in calling for Gyan’s inclusion in a 4 4 2 formation. How much of this was down to SB’s tactical change of heart or how much was it down to Bent’s injury?

    If Bent and Gyan can form an effective partnership then look out Premier League. It must be nice for the manager to be looking at a squad and wondering who to leave out.

  10. A good name Jeremy, but alas, no.
    Continuing this theme, I had a cat called Baxter in honour of the late, great Jim and the current feline incumbent at Sixsmith Towers is an elderly gentleman by the name of Samson.
    This one could run and run!!!!

  11. Jody eh? An altogether better choice of names for any Mackem dog. Correct me if I’m wrong Pete, but didn’t he used to have another one called Agboola?

  12. The Horan dog is called Jody after the admirable Jody Craddock. It currently has a low opinion of human beings, who would rather watch someone chase a ball rather than do it themselves.

  13. Wonderful post Martin. Heh Heh! Brilliant stuff.

    Bill, I was amazed that it took until the 72nd minute for the commentator to ask summariser Paul Walsh about the missing John Terry. Walsh was quick to put that to bed though!

  14. I couldn’t care less who was missing from the Chelsea squad! We had Mr. Bent missing and apparently we would be knackered without him!!!

  15. A friend of mine who supports (though they really need propping up) West Ham suggested that Chelsea had fielded a weakened team. His ears are still ringing. Mind you, this same guy thinks the Hammers are showing signs of promise.
    It’s nice to see what Welbeck can do when he’s used properly. It’s VERY nice to see the team playing as a team and not only that showing the sort of form that could make them world-beaters.

  16. In M. Salut’s absence I’m moderating the board and welcome comments from everyone. Thanks to supporters from other clubs for coming on here. For any new posters there may be delay while I check for spam but I will get round to moderating them.

  17. Another excellent article – gave me goosebumps!

    When Nedum (Pele) jinked past 19 defenders and got his shot away, it trickled so slowly there was an interlude for conscious thought. I remember thinking “Crivvens – this is going in!! But hang on a second – we’re away at Stamford Bridge playing arguably the best team in Europe. The ball’s going to hit a divot and loop over the bar”.

    It’s almost as though some higher power slowed the ball down so that we could all savour the moment! When it went in my delirium probably surpassed that of Pete’s friend’s dog – “Cunnington”. When my heart had slowed to about 350 beats per minute and I regained consciousness of my surroundings, I looked around and saw my wife standing in our open plan kitchen, drying a pan with a tea cloth, but rooted to the spot, with an open mouth.

    After a couple of seconds I said “what”? She replied in her Canadian brawl, “Do you have epilepsy”?

    My reaction to the third goal can be left to the imagination. Suffice to say there was an element of nakedness involved.

    Then to see the lads passing the ball all around the pitch making Chelsea look as ordinary as I have ever seen them is something I will cherish until I depart from this mortal coil.

    I felt as elevated as when I was that little 8 year old fella, when I watched Bob Stokoe sprint across the Wembley turf wearing a flashers trench coat and a Fedora to give Monty a cuddle! It took me back to when I went back to Framwellgate Moor junior school after beating Leeds and marching around the school playground arm in arm with me best mate Robin Bond singing “we are the Sunderland boys”!!!

    It was nice to have that feeling after 30 odd years!!

    What a game. As for the next few games – who cares!!

  18. A wonderful post about a wonderful performance.

    What does Mr Horan call his dog Pete? I’m sure that the German Shepherd that he once owned which remarkably (and for reasons I never understood) he christened Pascoe in honour of Colin, is sadly long departed.

    Is his current canine. possibly Lynch, Whitley, or Cunnington? I dare say that Mr Horan would stay clear of shouting after the latter when he takes it down the park.

  19. I think we should be extremely proud of the way the team performed on Sunday, as it wasn’t just a case of Chelsea being poor it was more that we were magnificent!! It shows what the team is capable of and even though we were let down in the most important game (newcastle) the team has shown excellent spirit in the last 3 games. I honestly think there is the makings of an excellent team at Sunderland although we will need to continue to strengthen! Keeping hold of the players will be paramount and young Henderson needs to stay put and see where we go, rather than be lured away.

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