Soapbox: El-Hadji Diouf and learning to love hate figures

Roy Keane says it’s good to have a player who gets up the noses of rival teams and fans. El-Hadji Diouf fits that bill and has the added advantage of not being Robbie Savage. But can we come to love and value him? Pete Sixsmith rolls back the years on other less than crowdpleasing signings…..

The news of El-Hadji Diouf’s signing was not greeted with universal approval.

John Penman texted me to say that he was less than impressed with the employment of someone who spat at a Celtic fan – and for someone who loathes Celtic as much as he does that was a major statement.

It got me to thinking about players we have signed who we hated when they played for other clubs. So, for a spot of fun on Salut! Sunderland (unless we get some great replies and Colin decides to award a prize for the best), here are five that registered on my radar.

* Bobby Moncur

A Mag and a Mag who captained them to European glory and FA Cup Final embarrassment. What was Bob Stokoe doing signing him? As it turned out, we got a good season out of him and he was a nice guy.

* Leighton James

Cocky, arrogant and made a complete arse of himself a number of times when he played against us, with gestures to the crowd and awful tackles on defenders. Played well as a supplier for Frank Worthington and scored a couple of good goals, but I always had my doubts about him.

* Alan Durban

The original dour manager, when Cowie appointed him I thought the sky would fall in. The infamous “if you want entertainment, go to the circus” quote stuck with him and our football was dull but effective.

* Tony Towers

Remembered for an horrendous challenge on Micky Horwill in 1973 and a figure to hate for a while afterwards. Did well for us when he was exchanged for…….. Micky Horswill

* Mick Harford

Although born in the city, had played for the Mags and had always scored against us while battering any of our defenders who got in the way. Did nothing during his spell at Roker, although that might have been due to the inadequacies of those around him.

There must be plenty of others who fall into this category. All contributions gratefully received. Here’s hoping Diouf can get the crowd on his side. He could be an inspired signing.

Salut! Sunderland is written, illustrated and edited by - and principally for - supporters of Sunderland AFC. The site aims to be sufficiently literate and entertaining to appeal to people who do not follow SAFC but enjoy good football writing.

One Response to “Soapbox: El-Hadji Diouf and learning to love hate figures” Subscribe

  1. John Penman July 31, 2008 at 8:37 pm #

    I think Mr Diouf has deposited his flem on a variety of individuals from the crowd and on the pitch.I think players from Villa and Portsmouth were both receiptants of his disgusting habit.Mind you he can do that all he likes to the old firm fans.
    I think the fact he is a decent players will carry him at the SOL.I am sure there are many fans who despise him for a variety of reasons but if he were instrumental in plotting our way into Europe ( plan A ) or saving us from the drop ( plan B) then he will be regarded as some kind of hero.I suppose after escaping having to witness McGeady in our shirt Diouf is a blessing.
    And before I am accused of some kind of instutionalised racism by hating just one half of the ugly sisters I would state that I hate Rangers just as much.So there !!!

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