Graham’s Geordie Past Not A Problem For Me

Martin O’Neill won’t talk about things publically until a deal is 100% done, but it seems a deal for Swansea City striker Danny Graham will be done sooner rather than later. I’m absolutely delighted with the fact we’ll be bringing to the club another regular Premier League goalscorer, but for many that’s not enough to overcome the fact he’s a staunch Newcastle United fan.

Graham’s Geordie Past Not A Problem For Me

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January 25th, 2013

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It’s infuriating that it’s come to this. The tribalism which is part of football has overnight become the be all and end all of it, with fans seemingly perfectly happy to ignore the player’s very good scoring record – all because he once said to a Newcastle fanzine that he isn’t too keen on Sunderland.


Yes, the interview given a while back in which he doesn’t actually state he actively dislikes Sunderland, just that if in some bizarro-world that if Newcastle ceased to exist he’d choose to support Gateshead, and “stay as far away from Sunderland” as he could.

Is it so shocking that a Gateshead native would say anything else? If asked the same question, what would you say? I’d imagine the great many in SR postcodes would move on to Hartlepool or someone else rather than our neighbours to the north – especially if asked by a Sunderland-based publication such as A Love Supreme.

People seem to be falling over themselves to get us to look at our experiences with Michael Chopra, Lee Clark and to a lesser degree from some knuckle-draggers, Steve Bruce – seemingly ignoring the fact we have a statue of a born and bred Newcastle fan outside the South East Corner of the Stadium Of Light.

When it comes to Chopra we all knew what we were getting ourselves into. He’s a Newcastle lad, and even scored against us for both them and Cardiff, celebrating wildly; perhaps almost as wildly as we celebrated his last-minute goal against Tottenham Hotspur, or his crucial game-winning goal against Aston Villa which went a long way toward ensuring our Premier League survival that season.

But regardless of what happened in the past, he’ll only be remembered for an awful cross-come-shot against Newcastle at St James Park which came nowhere close to being either and cost us a very good chance to win the game that day. It was a distinctly poor decision from what was ultimately a limited player. Nobody seems willing to recall the fact he put the Newcastle defence to the sword that day, or him with hands on head in the Newcastle penalty area, having seen his header crash back off the crossbar in the reverse fixture.

As for Clark, he continues to insist he was the victim of circumstance. His Sunderland fan-insulting t-shirt worn at Wembley as he went to see the club we all knew he supported. It could have been described as ill-advised, had it been his fault. Clark will tell anyone that he regrets it and the t-shirt was thrust upon him rather than him choosing to wear it. He was class on the pitch.

So if we’re to take Danny Graham at his word that he is too big of a Newcastle fan to play for us, then surely we can forgive the sins of Clark. At the end of the day, they’re both just words on a page, playing to the audience which will read it.

Because of these two though, too many Sunderland fans still have something stuck in their craw about signing anyone who supports Newcastle. It’s really quite astounding that so many others have been overlooked who have quite successfully done so because they’re professionals – something Danny Graham might well choose to be. Should a bid be accepted by Swansea for his services he can either come here, be professional about things and do his job, or if it’s seen as too much of a hardship for him then he can stay at Swansea or go elsewhere.

If he does choose to come, he’ll be warmly embraced by myself until he does something to hurt the Sunderland faithful. It would be a lot better for everyone if we just supported the lad until further notice. Nothing may happen, something may happen. Don’t sit around waiting just so you can proudly and smugly say “I told you so” because that won’t help anyone.

At the end of the day we’re getting ourselves worked into a right mess over a t-shirt and a poor effort on goal. I think we really need to get over ourselves here, for the good of the team.

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