Arsenal v Sunderland: Davy Lamp, Sir Hardly Anyone and a man with one leg

Text of Billy The Dog’s interview with Ino Nothing on BBC Radio 5 previewing the Big Match.


Sunderland is a small village to the north of Hatfield (actually one geography book has it north of Bradford but I don’t think that is possible).   The village was invaded by the Vikings in 1227 (just before lunch) and King Quinn the Lofty was installed as Oligarch.   His descendent, King Quinn XXXII the So Lofty I can Touch the Stars, is now in control.

The local dish is jugged portacabin.  The area is one in which the ancient Viking tradition of setting fire to fields (known as Sta Dium) is continued and indeed the club play in one such venue – the Liter Sta Dium.

The main activity of the village is DNA tourism, where psychic lawyers lead the way in evolving a new race of bantering yokels.  Their local rivals are Gateshead.

Now the interview…

“Well Billy, this is a Big One.”

“Oh aye, away the lads, och noo.”

“Ah ha, very droll Billy.  How do you see this going?”

“Well Ino, you have to remember that Sunderland were formed by a teacher, so they do everything by the book.”

“Any particular book?”

“Just a book that they found inside a Davy Lamp in 1890.”

“So how do you see it going Billy?”

“We have to recognise that Sunderland is a wonderfully fine team, played by jolly good sprots and sprats who played in the first division for at least two weeks and thus claiming the record.  They also won the Cup or Coooop as it is called in the north and they have a statue of a one legged man outside the ground to prove it.  They beat Leeds you know.”

“Good, so, well, how do you see this one going?”

“In essence they are crooks, so I expect a lot of spiritual violence and headbanging.  They were found guilty of breaking all the financial rules of football in 1957 and fined the equivalent of around £100,000 for being jolly naughty.  Their chairman and three directors were suspended for four days, because this was a very bad thing to do, and they shouldn’t have done it, what with being founded by a schoolmaster and all.  They’ve never recovered from the blow, and these days regularly play a collection of basset hounds at left back to ensure there is nothing underhand.  Pesky creatures they are.”

“Sunderland won their last game in 1973 and as a result went into Europe – a day trip to Calais where they bought chips and drank a lot.  History proclaims that they are the only side in history to have lost to Norwich at Wem-ber-ley.

“So in essence Sunderland are a third division (north) team, but they got into the top league by playing Swindon Town in a play-off final, losing and then getting promoted.   In the north they call it ‘doing a Norris’ in reference to the way Henry Norris got Croydon Common into the Southern League and Fulham Up Again into the Football League after losing 7-2 to Brentford in the play off final in 1903 or thereabouts.   Details of this are given in one of the most beautiful and exquisite books ever written on the history of our ‘winter game.’

“They are however happier in the second division where they can play Newcastle and Middlesb, as their local rivals are curiously known.   There is talk of them all moving to the Northern League where they can play Gateshead.

“Their current king is 9 feet six inches tall and used to play for Arsenal.  Apparently he is a jolly good chap, and so is their current manager who is a real sweetie.   The supporters are the only people in the kingdom to sing a sweet and lyrical Bob Dylan song and turn it into a dirge.

“For this game I expect Davy Lamp to play at centre forward.  We will as usual put out our youth team, what with the whole first team and reserve XI being down the pub…..

Baby Bob

Baby Bill, Baby Dick, Baby Jon, Baby Fred

Baby Mick, Cesc, Baby Jim

Baby Theo, Big Bendtner, Nasri the Tough

“And the result Mr Dog?”

“Oh I don’t think there’ll be a result.”

“Thank you Mr Dog.”

“An honour.”



Ashley Cole’s house was broken into last night.  The player was found by police driving his car at 240mph around his garden while he was on a mobile phone.   When asked by the police why he didn’t dial 999 Mr Cole replied, “It is all very well telling me to do that, but how am I supposed to know the number.  I mean they say, ‘dial 999’ but they don’t tell you which buttons to press.”

Upon being asked by a member of Her Majesty’s press what he intended to do when he retired from football he replied, “I am going to be a banker.”   The journalist said, “I thought you were one already,” and a fight ensued.

Mr Cole is three years old.

Meanwhile Scotland has lost one of its two spots in the Champs League next year.  “I knew I had it here somewhere,” said Bruce Bankrupt, chairman of Rangers.  “I can’t think what I did with it.  Did anyone else see it?”  Belgium has gone ahead of Scotland in the coefficient rankings.  Will someone please stop Walter dancing in the street?

Correction from yesterday’s rumours…

I should like to apologise for the headline to yesterday’s article.  The headline “Stolen Cabbage” should have read “Homicidal tiger caught in high street”.

Tony Attwood plays accordion for the Rutland Morris Men and not the Duke of Cumberland’s First Rifles, as stated.

PS: Was Sir Hardly Anyone actually in this piece?

24 Replies to “Arsenal v Sunderland: Davy Lamp, Sir Hardly Anyone and a man with one leg”

  1. I think Sir Hardly went up Noah Vale to see the missus. They’ve been quarreling, as you know. But the missus told him to “leave the trout tackle at home”, so a reconciliation weekend could be on tap. Or Sir Hardly will be under the tap all weekend, drinking the sorrows. 😉

  2. “In essence they are crooks, so I expect a lot of spiritual violence and headbanging.”

    WOW. It doesn’t get funnier than this on a football blog (including the always humorous spiritual violence and headbanging in the comments section of Le Grove…) Hats off to you Tony, once again.

  3. tim, Everton has played really well against both ManU & chelsea.. Congrats to them.. Moyes is a great manager and I have appreciated everything he has done at Everton over the last few years inspite of the problems..

  4. whew. a great night. too bad wolves didn’t come through, but can’t be greedy 🙂

    that cana tackle was malicious. and people wanted AW to sign that crazy man?

    Job well done and we could have done better as we missed a lot of chances. But what the heck the only thing that counts is the 3 points.

    Must say we really played well apart from our finishing.

  6. I didn’t expect Chelsea to lose points at Wolves to be honest. They haven’t played in midweek and Wolves was not that good against us as we won rather comfortable.

    And what can we say about Almunia ? I think he was very very solid today and for once I hope people can give hime credit for his performance today.

    Song was brillant again, Bendtner was a very good target man, Eboue was great.

    When the ref gave that silly free kick to Sunderland at the end I feared that the football Gods would be against us but we deserved every point we got today.

    And hey we got a penalty (it was a clear penalty) what a surprise…

  7. And in my excitement I ever forgot to react on the article. 😉

    Tony, you can be assured that the only reason I am dancing in the street is for the 3 points. 🙂 But on second thought the fact that Belgium gets an extre CL spot could be great news for the gooners in Belgium.

    This season we had the luck to be able to see The Arsenal in Liège and who knows next season the chance of Arsenal playing in Belgium in the CL have suddenly doubled.

    I’m off again… going to do some dancing in the street…..

  8. “Eboue is a good example that you can always change the opinion of people if you keep focussed, have talent and produce on the pitch. The people who booed him one year ago today love him. That is down to his attitude and it is the credit he deserves.”

    Loved it!! This is a real slap on the face on the D&Gs…

  9. Mark, he’s probably referring to the corruption in France when he managed Monaco.

  10. Cesc is a real concern now.

    Having a blip, off-form and worst of all, no fire in his belly in contrast to 1st half of the season.

    For the last 3 games, I have not seen so many wayward passes from Cesc, nor such a disinterested showing for majority for the game.

    Perhaps, opponents are now targetting Cesc for a good that brutal back-tackle committed by Mensah.

    And Cesc was playing on an edge, extremely frustrated, and I fear for him as if everyone of his tackle will result in a 2nd yellow and a sending off..

    Cesc bears watching and I hope that he will rediscover his confidence in the team, shakes off his lethargy, and re-dsicover his enthusiam and drives his team as he can during 1st half of season.

    A collective team effort, a job well done and we move on to Stoke City, another “MUST WIN” game in the context that ManIOU lost.

    Perhaps, yesterday win had restored BELIEF and CONFIDENCE in those youngsters, who seemed lacking in cofnidecne after the thrashing that got from ManIOU and Chelski…and that confidence-sapping loss at Porto.

    I see this win as another turning-point in not so much as 3 points; but the restoration of self-belief and confidence within the ranks of the players that the title is still within their collective reach; and they can do it by winning the next game..the enxt game..the next game…ad infinitum.

    Let’s hope that next week, Cesc will play with a spring in his step and it is the start of Bendtner’s scoring run as well.

  11. Merlin96 I think you are looking for something that isn’t there. Did you see the way Cesc dived onto Diaby when he scored the winner against Liverpool? If you were at the game yesterday, you would also have seen him pumping his fist and shouting ‘come on’ at the crowd when he scored the penalty. They didn’t show that on the highlights. It has been a long and difficult season, Cesc has been targeted in recent games and got no protection from the referee, so if he is a little less effective, it’s just part of what happens over the course of a season especially when the team around him is ever changing due to injuries.

  12. SOrry, I am an oversea visitor.

    I hope so.
    I missed that Cesc of 2009!!!
    May he reappears again at Stoke City.

    And yes, lately, he ahd been targetted for kicking and I am sure it will get worse.
    Time to have an enforcer riding shotgun over him if teh referee is not protecting him.

    But there is a danger ofr Cesc too!
    Barring last season, that previous 2 seasons (2006/07, 2007/08), Cesc had been playing 60 to 70 games and was visibly exhausted during March of that previous 2 seasons, losing his edge due to tiredness.

    I hope it will not happen this season as March/April are two crucial months that we cannot afford a tired Cesc.

  13. Merlin, everywhere here understands that far more people watch the games on TV than those of us who are fortunate to be able to get to the games – and that TV gives a different perspective.

    I’m one of the lucky ones, and being at the games I don’t see Cesc having a problem, other than his extreme annoyance at the way that he is now the victim of the rotational fouling.

    I sit in the upper tier behind the goal where Cesc scored his penalty – and to the side where the players always run to celebrate (they always go there because that’s where Red Action stand – in the lower tier), and believe me he was excited and positive, not just then but throughout the game.

    Tell you one other thing you would miss by not being there – Arsenal are trying out new songs for the club, having decided to cut “The Wonder of You” next season. Yesterday they tried “My Generation” by the Who, with a great fast moving film. I thought it was really good and powerful. There’s a lot of changes going on behind the scenes.

  14. Oh and I meant to add, Tim, they showed the Everton game in the ground prior to our match, and the roar that went up when Everton got their second and third goals – absolutely incredible. Got everyone in the right mood for our game.

  15. Sorry Merlin, I wasn’t sure if you were an overseas supporter, but Tony is right, it’s easy to get a different view of things from TV as you see what the TV director wants you to see and they can sway things to support a certain view point. For example the match of the day highlights from the BBC heavily focused on Theo Walcott’s best moments as Fabio Capello was in the crowd but underplayed Eboue’s contribution.

    I agree about My Generation Tony, “people try to put us down” is a perfect line for this young team! And “why don’t they all f-fade away” is an even better riposte!

  16. My take on yesterday:

    1. Eboue is good in games like that. It’s good letting Sagna rest a bit. As long as we win the game.
    2. Walcott’s pace is coming back, his touch is there and his backtracking is there. His final ball isn’t quite there yet, but he’s on the way back.
    3. The bench was solid.
    4. They can focus for a week on beating Stoke.
    5. They need a plan to beat them.
    6. I think they can beat them.

    Rumour of the day: TfL decided that they wanted Arsenal fans to mingle with QPR fans in seasons to come, so they keep shutting the Metropolitan line from Baker Street to Kings X, making Gooners come in and out on the Central line and past that bastion of blowing hot and cold Italian style, Loftus Road. Apparently our homegrown ‘good ol’ fashioned centre forward’, Jay Simpson, is doing well in West London, which begs the question as to whether he is better than Bendtner. Arsene has therefore decided to organise a punch up at the summer training camp between the two of them to decide who will be ‘our John Toshack’ next season……

  17. I saw the match on setanta ireland, and the 2nd commentator (lou mascara) was slagging theo throughout. on the MOTD highlights it was the complete opposite.

    as for cesc, i just think that hes a bit tired. mentally he is all arsenal.

  18. For those who say that the ref gave us a penalty I just would like to say that in fact it was the assistant that forced the ref to gave the penalty.
    I really think the ref would not have given it (it was a penalty) but because of the assistant signaling a) a foul b) direct free kick in the box = penalty and only then the ref gave the penalty.

    Before that the ref had a shocking decision first by not giving a free kick for a blatant foul on Bendtner and in the last minute for giving a free kick to Sunderland for… er… I still don’t know for what. Vermaelen clipped himself(bad moment to do this ..) and was just lying on the floot when Bent tried to controll a ball which he failed and then he ran backwards in to Vermaelen who was just lying there. There has to be some kind of intent to make a foul and in this case it is not forbidden for any player to lie on the ground and you can not dissapear in the air just like that.

    So at the end of the day we had the luck that there was a very good linesman who took his responsibility and it would be intrested to see if he can spend a few games in lower leagues after this…. (= the usual punishment if you do something the big gents dont like)

  19. hey, thanks Tony and “don’t believe the hype”.

    I am here to enjoy the views written by fans at Emirates and also ata way matches.
    Diversity of views as compared to one’s tunnel vision from the google box.

    I believe he must rediscover his confidence first and improves on his decision-making as to when to cross and when to take on players (like Eboue) and drives into the box.

    If Arshaivn is back next week, and Theo starts, then we will see mroe coutner-attacking plays at pace with both Arshavin and Theo speeding away chasing one of those accurate long passes from Cesc.

    Remember that Inter match with Cesc dominating and spread all those accurate long passes all over th pitch?

    Love to see those kinds of performances next week.

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