BY the time you read this column I will be either celebrating a derby victory or complaining we woz robbed.
Not the Sunderland versus Newcastle United derby, you understand. But the much-anticipated clash of the titans – the Sunderland Echo against the Shields Gazette.
It’s a fixture that conjures up all sorts of images – and none of them pleasant.
The game was arranged some time ago, giving us all several weeks to hone our fitness levels and ensure we weren’t just fit, but “match fit”.
Match fit was the buzz expression of the TV pundits around the time of the World Cup four years ago. It’s now in common parlance among punditry circles and an accepted scientific fact.
Without match fitness you are nothing.
Which is why every first game of the season ends 0-0 with a quarter of all players carried from the pitch on stretchers after 70 minutes. No match fitness, you see.
Football punditry is, for me, the biggest waste of air ever. It’s why Sky+ was invented, to fast-forward through Alan Shearer and Alan Hansen’s post game Match of the Day blather.
The format of the show means the pundit can’t be wrong. How can they be wrong? They’ve already seen the match! Do we really need them to point out where Ipswich lost the game against Chelsea? They let in seven goals, that’s where.
Leon Best scored a hat-trick on his Premier League debut for Newcastle after months out of the game. How does that fit into the pundit’s law of match fitness?
The blather of punditry knows no bounds. If a young player slips up, he’s “showing his inexperience” – if an old player slips up “he no longer has the legs”.
Oh, and don’t get me started on “Technically”.
“Technically, the Europeans are far superior on the ball than the English players.”
What exactly do they mean? Why not just say they are better? Technically, football pundits are a waste of space, don’t you think? If they really knew their onions, they’d be able to correctly predict the results of every game. They can’t, so what’s the point?
It’s like those Baby Einstein books and DVDs that claim you can unlock the genius in your child. Unless the DVDs have been written and directed by a five-year-old, don’t bother. They don’t work.
Anyway, you can be rest assured that next week’s column will feature an in-depth post-match analysis of my winning 30-yard screamer in the game … whether I scored one or not.
THERE will be a few raised eyebrows when the name Dicky Ord appears on the team sheet for the Sunderland Echo game.
Any fears the Gazette players may have will vanish when it’s revealed that the Dicky Ord in question isn’t the former Sunderland star, but yours truly.
Dicky, being the nickname bestowed on me within five minutes of being signed up by the Sunderland Echo.
My 10-year-old son, who, as a wide-eyed schoolboy finding humour in anything vaguely smutty, scatological or puerile, cracked up when he heard my nickname.
I mentioned it in the local garage when paying for petrol. He sniggered.
Then, mid-giggle, he pointed to a packet of peanuts on the front counter. They were called Nobby’s Nuts. He buried his face in his hands, his shoulders shaking uncontrollably.
When I approached the cashier and announced “pump number two, please”, I thought he was going to explode.
Praise the lord for the gift of laughter.