Mock, mock and Phil Brown’s two smoking barrels

Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Schadenfreude may not be edifying, but it certainly seems to be a particular preoccupation of the football fan. Time was when goading your local rivals was confined to a selection of uncomplimentary chants and maybe the odd rude gesture. Not any more – the bar appears to have been raised considerably.

Take Man City, for example. The now-infamous billboard poster unveiled after they’d pinched Carlos Tevez from city rivals United, featuring a picture of the Argentinian with the slogan “Welcome to Manchester“, was a club-sanctioned bit of triumphalism calculated to rile those in red. And riled they were, Sir Alex Ferguson fuming about the “arrogance” of “a small club with a small mentality. This from the manager of a club whose stadium has been adorned with a banner celebrating the number of years since City last won a trophy – now consigned to the dustbin following City’s victory in Saturday’s FA Cup final.

Then there’s my own Newcastle, who celebrated crushing Sunderland 5-1 in October with a blast of ‘Daydream Believer’ to which fans could gleefully bellow the alternative Mackem-baiting chorus. The veins popping out of his cauliflower-shaped face, Steve Bruce came over like an aggrieved mistress at a finishing school, complaining about our “lack of etiquette.

The latest tactic, it seems, is to take to the air. As West Ham were busy squandering a two-goal lead to Wigan and sliding towards relegation, their fans’ misery was compounded by a plane flying over the DW Stadium trailing a banner which read: “Avram Grant – Millwall legend. Expect the two clubs’ Championship head-to-heads next season to be spicy affairs.

The Lions fans behind the stunt had clearly taken inspiration from their Blackpool counterparts, who a week earlier seized the opportunity to revel in relegated Preston’s misfortune with two different airborne banners, one proclaiming the Tangerines’ superiority and the other stating “Poor little Preston enjoy League One. An incensed Phil Brown, strangely not in the mood for an end-of-season karaoke session this year, declared “If I had a gun, I would have shot them down“, while the pilot could yet be in hot water with the Civil Aviation Authority.

One resourceful Blackpool fan went even better in midweek, though, engineering it so that the jumbled letters of the Countdown Conundrum spelled out “PNECRISIS. You suspect that presenter Jeff Stelling will have spotted the jibe, given his other job, and that Clarke Carlisle might have worked out the answer as “PRICINESS” – but perhaps, as a Burnley player, after a chuckle at Preston’s expense…

Ben is a long-suffering Newcastle Utd supporter (is there any other kind?) who co-founded and co-wrote Black & White & Read All Over, a blog that, over the course of a decade, chronicled the ups, downs, chaos and calamity of the club he has the misfortune to follow. Since the blog hung up its boots in May 2014 (note: not as a mark of respect for Shola Ameobi leaving St James’ Park), he has contented himself with sporadic, splenetic Twitter outbursts and shamefully rare contributions to The Two Unfortunates. He is currently haunted by visions of Joe Kinnear returning to the club for a third spell and pondering whether he’ll live to see another victory over the Mackems, but at least has a cardboard coathanger with Robert Lee’s head on it for consolation.


  1. Stanley
    May 16, 2011

    While I would agree that schadenfreude is unedifying, I can't seem to get this grin off my face today. The play-offs aren't even done and I'm already looking forward to next season.

  2. gerschenkron
    May 17, 2011

    Taggart's “small club” barb towards their neighbours was doubly amusing following his pathetic rant about St. Rafa.

    Opposing fans schadenfreude should engender positive feelings to some degree though – after all, no matter what Blackpool achieve this season, it clearly still rankles that hated rivals have been successful in the past and may be again in the future. Likewise, Liverpool fans back in 1994 unwisely advising their Surrey opposite numbers to “come back” when they were celebrating a higher state of greatness provoked an equally unwise gesture at Anfield last weekend.


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