What do we love about The Beautiful Game? Personally, I enjoy the anticipation before each new season. Over the summer the holidays, the soothing sun and cooling rain gradually get us over the hurt and disappointments of the previous campaign, and we look to the new signings. The Black Cats have new arrivals, e.g. Cristian Riveros of Paraguay, who excited us in South Africa with some excellent performances for his home nation; Argentina full-back Marcos Angeleri, Titus Bramble, Belgian goalie Simon Mignolet and Egyptian defender Ahmed Al-Muhammadi. So our defence and midfield is bolstered, but we also look to players who are coming back from long-term injury, and many are itching for the return of cult legend, crowd favourite, folk singer and creative midfielder, Andy Reid.
In 2009, Reid forced his way into new manager Steve Bruce’s plans by shedding a stone or two and making an impact in the away League Cup win against Norwich with two outstanding goals. They look even more impressive in retrospect, given Norwich's amazing season. Andy, we hope to welcome you back after your calf muscle surgery, and by the way, can we have the number for your personal trainer?
It is a shame that we have not been able to twist Harry’s arm and secure the services of Alan Hutton, he was in great from as right back in the last third of last season and contributed hugely to the turnaround after our terrible winter form. We have shipped out Murphy, Nosworthy, Fulop and Cana, but with McCartney hopefully returning, Bruce's squad looks sound, with at least 2 players competing for each position in the team. And we are all very pleased to see all that paper talk about Kenwyne Jones leaving evaporated like summer mist.
For the amusement of regular readers of this blog, here are some of the 25 Best Football Chants from the Independent, passed on by my friend Allan. Some of us remember the time Brian Clough put a wooden notice on the penalty spot at the Trent End before kick-off for a Nottingham Forest top tier game. It read No swearing please. Brian. Because the fans loved Cloughie, they obliged. Songs that day included: You're a naughty, you're a naughty, you're a naughty referee...; and A shot - he's missed - he must be rather drunk...
Derby fans just after Northern Rock went bust - to the Newcastle fans:
You should have banked with the Woolwich.
Best I've ever heard was during the classic 5-3 game at Highbury when Arsenal were 1-3 down at half-time thanks tor two from Joseph-Desire Job. The Boro fans were chanting One job in Teeside, there's only one job in Teeside.
You're not yodelling, You're not yodelling any more - Newcastle fans after scoring away at FC Zurich.
Deep fry yer pizzas, were gonna deep fry yer pizzas- Scotland fans when in Italy.
You're just a small team in Scotland, small team in Scotland you're just a small team in Scotland - Aston Villa fans towards Sunderland fans.
Two Andy Gorams, there is only two Andy Gorams - Celtic fans on Andy Goram after it was revealed the keeper was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
You should've stayed on the telly - Liverpool fans on Shearer during his brief reign as manager of Newcastle.
When you're sat in row Z, and the ball hits your head, that's Zamora, that's Zamora - Fulham fans on goal-shy Bobby Zamora.
For Sunderland fans, the best chants are always about Newcastle. Whenever a visiting team has an ex-Newcastle player warming up at pitchside, I listen out for We beat the scum 2-1, Let's hope the new season will bring some real progress and real excitement for Sunderland, as well as some great new chants. I am curious what Blackpool fans and their quotable manager Ian Holloway can bring to the Premiership.