The Beautiful Game: Spurs top, Stoke and Wolves bottom with us

Wearmouth Bridge, Sunderland

A pretty picture, but who are the Beauties and who are the Beasts in English football? Trust a Londoner to put Sunderland in the second category …


We have to
get away from the Boxing Day match and move on from the Howard Webb/Leon Osman affair. Legitimate, compelling subjects … but there’s a limit.

So here’s another starter for 10.

What do you make of the following statement, which I spotted in a text message from Dave of London – probably pronounced Dive of Landun – when checking the BBC website’s live football coverage last night?

“Three most attractive teams to watch so far this season 1 Spurs 2 Man City 3 Arsenal. Three most unattractive 1 Stoke 2 Wolves 3 Sunderland.”

Just the view of one man (maybe that should be “one geezer”). But it raises interesting questions. Many of us felt Sunderland, under Steve Bruce this season, played a mixture of attractive but ineffective football and deeply unattractive and ineffective football. Maybe Dive saw us at home to Fulham or away to Arsenal.

But if he’d seen us at Spurs, under Martin O’Neill, surely he’d have recognised a team that could string a few passes together, did have some ideas going forward. We just weren’t quite good enough at anything we did, but that didn’t make for ugliness. Or did it?

Dive certainly could not have based his mini-table on QPR away last week. It was a thrilling game, with lots of errors of course, and two of our three goals looked rather attractive. And we had Jarvis the cocker spaniel, prominently placed and willing to show off its most intimate physical charms to the delight of millions of MOTD viewers, among our supporters.

He’s right about Spurs looking good, though. At their best, they are lovely to watch. Arsenal, too, though without any longer having quite the killer instinct. Man City, of course, can be exhilarating enough to make us forgive or at least understand the reasons why. And it is refreshing to see Man Utd and Chelsea excluded from his list.

But I wonder whether Wolves and Stoke City fans might have something to say about coming second bottom and bottom respectively – or second top and top if you prefer – in Dive’s Ugly Mini-league …

* Photo of Wearmouth Bridge by Mrs Logic

Monsieur Salut
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10 thoughts on “The Beautiful Game: Spurs top, Stoke and Wolves bottom with us”

  1. Who really cares about the view from London? All we get to hear from the mass media is from Cockneys who can’t get beyond the perimeter imposed by the M25. They think they are so cosmopolitan and sophisticated, when their existence is one of insularity. The majority of Londoners have about as much style as a sack of sea coal over a bike frame.

    I’d be disappointed if a Landoner had anything postitive to say about anything much up north as I’d have to reconsider my appraisal of them which has been a lifetime in developing. They come from the same country as us, but frankly I’ve as much in common with someone from Nepal or Belarus.

  2. I sometimes despair at people’s inability to read what is there as opposed to imagining something that is not but suits their argument. Nowhere in the piece, Rob, will you find me endorsing the criticism of Stoke, or even hinting at my view. Ben, in one of the comments above, does so but that is, er, different.

  3. Stoke have played some dour games and some cracking ones. You laugh at a guy from Landan for dismissing Sunderland after only seeing them live a couple of times and on TV and then do the same about Stoke!

    I’ve seen Stoke play some incredible passing football this season and I haven’t seen Sunderland do much at all and YES I did go to Sunderland to watch us lose 4-0 with our jet lagged tired players.

    No doubt you’ll remember all the good bits (if there have been any) of Sunderland but like us, most people see you as a small unattractive route one type club. Deal with it. We do.

    • I’ve just watched the Stoke V Villa game Rob and in all truth you were bloody awful, and not for the first time this season.

      I have a considerably regard for Tony Pulis because he’s one of the shrewdest managers in the modern game, and for what he has done with your club he should be given a great big china plate. To do that he has resorted to a particular way of playing which is very effective even it it isn’t eye catching. There is clearly some sort of transition this season.

  4. We don’t need some non supporter commenting on our team thanks. Yea we don’t play attractive football and I as a Stoke fan hope it changes soon. It is effective on occasions though. But don’t lump us in with the likes of Sunderland and Wolves. They are boring and ineffective!!

  5. Funny that you cite your spuds game as the most attractive. Most Stoke fans would probably agree that it was our best game too.

    Typical landaners snobbery if you ask me. Spuds fan no doubt. Same spuds fans that burnt down their own town – idiots.

  6. Typical Londoner’s view of football.Probably never seen a live game outside of London but feels knowledgable enough to make his view.

    • You are probably right but ‘Dive’ certainly put Stoke in the correct spot. Any team that persistently relies on long throws into the box in order to bundle the ball home in a goal mouth scramble shows just how devoid of creativity they are. The trouble is it works and the Premier League is all about winning so you can expect it to continue. Horrible football.

      • Ben’s notion of how Stoke play is rather outdated as they have only scored one goal this season from a long throw. Delap is no longer an automatlc choice and his replacement. Ryan Shotton doesn’t produce the same distance as Delap.

        It may have been true last season and before, but not now.

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