Tuesday, 12 August 2014


Repetitive Saying Syndrome, certain fans' habit of yelling the same phrase over and over again during the course of a game/season/lifetime came up for discussion the other week. I recalled a ginger-haired giant who attended The Riverside with his elderly mother and could barely get two minutes into any game without rising to his feet and howling, 'Jesus Christ, Boro!'  Brian mentioned a bloke who sat just along from him and cried out, 'Play like you mean it!' several times per match, and another who greeted Marvin Emnes every touch by groaning . 'Here we go, bloody dickie dancer.' Chris had fond memories of an old man at St James' Park in the late-sixties who always positioned himself near the touchline so he could shout 'Your fatha should have had a wank' at full-back Frank Clarke. Saddest of all these voices was the one of the man who used to attend Boro away games in the early-1990s. His plaintive call, 'Get us a goal, lads, and we'll sing you home' haunts me still.

Anyroad, here's something about fans that appeared in Red Square on the first day of the new season. Thanks to Mick Hydes and Ian Cusak for the opening story.

At a midweek Northern League match at a Northallerton years before many of you were born, a dozen or so garrulous away fans from Ashington were approached by the home team’s secretary and asked to stop singing because, “There are people in the clubhouse trying to watch Inspector Morse”.

At the time I thought this a terrible thing. I am older now and as the new season dawns no longer so certain. The fact is that once you pass fifty you become less tolerant of other people. Their foibles start to annoy you more and more.  And more.

My enjoyment of any game these days is disrupted by all sorts of things I didn’t used to notice: people who arrive late, people who leave early, people who drink beer when they apparently only have a bladder the size of a ping-pong ball and therefore have to keep getting up every quarter of an hour to go to the gents. They all get my goat.

I travel to any game now knowing that I am bound to be regularly disturbed by some bloke, so wide, vast and lacking in neck that if he sprayed himself green he’d be a dead-ringer for Thunderbird 2, who apparently suffers from a medical condition that means he has to eat a hot dog and chips every twenty minutes or lapse into a coma.

This fellow’s twice-per-half trip back from the burger bar is invariably accompanied by the following commentary:  “Mind your backs. Scuse, pal. Can you just lift your bag up, pet? Oops! Sorry. Hey, calm down, mate. It’ll wipe off with a damp cloth. It’s only ketchup. Coming through. Watch your leg. YEEEEEEEEEEEES! GET IN THE NET! There’s no need to get so narky, chief. You’ll be able to see it on The Football League Show later. Hey, luv, d’you mind if I get those chips out of your hair, only I’m starving”.

And then there are those fans who insist on phoning their mates up on a mobile whenever there’s a goal? Having first held the phone aloft to capture the crowd noise, these merry communicators then embark on a conversation that runs: “Gary? It’s me. Are you there? I can’t hear a thing.  Smithy’s just scored. Header. Are you there? I said, SMITHY’S SCORED. Did you hear that? Are you there? I can’t hear you. Can you hear me? I’m ringing off now, mate.……. Bob? It’s me. Are you there? One nil to the might reds! Hahahahahaha. Can you hear me? I can’t hear you”.

In a nutshell then, what I’m saying is this: Welcome to the new season, now sit down and shut up.



  1. Ow Harry man, stop starting brilliant blogs, there's people here trying to get some work done!

    1. Glad you're keeping busy.I've just spent half an hour of my working day trying to work out how to add one of Pete Doddman's photos of the gents at Shildon to the side bars, but I've given up now. Hope you and yours are well.

    2. Fine thanks hope you are too. Drop us a line, andymss@aol.com

  2. "Tempo, Reds, tempo."

    Said in a dull, monotonous voice every ten minutes regardless of what was happening on the pitch.

    Still, at least he didn't have a thermos and jam butties.

    1. Good one. The key is to say something that doesn't actually mean anything, but sounds like it might. It's an art pundits demonstrate through use of the phrase 'great technique'.
      In fact I may experiment with that. If you hear somebody in the North Sand shouting 'Where's our technique?' you'll know who it is.