… in which Bill Taylor assumes the unlikely guise of Papa Noël/Father Christmas/Daidaín na Nollaig/Ded Moroz/Saint Nicholas/Weihnachtsmann and hands out some presents to deserving characters …


I’m glad
I’m not Santa. Not just because he only comes one a year and that’s down the chimney.

But what do you get a man who has everything? Penicillin, perhaps?

It can’t be easy for Mr and Mrs Claus (I’m sure she helps) and all the subordinate Clauses to come up with suitable gifts for today’s pampered proponents of the Beautiful Game. So I thought I’d help out with a few suggestions. Perhaps other people have a few they might add:

* Nicklas Bendtner:

As a stocking filler, an editing program for his laptop that automatically cuts his mea-culpas to three short sentences: “I’m really sorry (especially that I got caught on camera). I won’t do it again. And I’ll try much, much harder on the field.”
Big present – the expensive car of his choice, with the proviso that his name is painted tastefully on the sides and he has to park it outside Sid James Park every night.
(None of this, of course, assumes anything but Mr Bendtner’s innocence of anything he’s ever been accused of, except perhaps self-worship. I wonder if he’ll leave milk and pizza out for Santa…)

* Lee Cattermole:

Stocking-stuffer, a copy of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Big prezzy, clown shoes. It’s only fair that he should trip himself as much as other people. They leave smaller bruises, too.

* Stéphane Sessegnon:

The freedom of the Metrocentre. It’s actually for his wife in the hope that she’ll start looking more kindly upon the North East – isn’t she in Paris with their five kids? – Ed -and not get him wanting away. And if that sounds sexist, it’s actually stereotyping WAGs, too. Oh well.

* Seb Larsson:

A self-hypnosis course so whenever he takes a penalty he believes it’s a free kick. Stocking filler, a foot that can shoot straight.

* Asamoah Gyan:

A free transfer to Pyongyang United. No stocking filler. They can’t afford stockings in North Korea.

* Darren Bent:

Given the reports that he was off Christmas shopping while Liverpool were spanking his team-mates, he’s not getting anything from Santa.

* Steve Bruce:

A thesaurus, with “disappointed” underlined. Stocking filler, a map of Preston (or South Korea maybe – ed). Just in case.

* Martin O’Neill:

Anything he wants. Anything at all, including my first-born. If I ever have one. Stocking filler, a gift certificate for the striker of his choice.


* Ellis Short:

A red suit and white beard in the hope that he’ll act like Santa next month. Stocking stuffer, Steed Malbranque. Well, he would fit!

And one for the whole team

A “get out of jail free” card. Stocking filler, in the hope no one will have to use it.

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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.

10 Responses to “Lock up the kids, tell Bruce, Bent and Bendtner to hide. Santa’s here” Subscribe

  1. Bill Taylor December 21, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    I should add a gift for football in general: Reality with, as a stocking-stuffer, a sense of proportion. Even if this story isn’t true the sums involved are a perfect indicator of what’s wrong with the sport at its upper levels:
    http://www.thestar.com/sports/soccer/mls/article/1105089–david-beckham-paris-bound-reports?bn=1

  2. Bill Taylor December 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    I don’t recall Len Shackleton, Charlie Hurley, Brian Clough etc. etc. requiring a “management company.”

  3. Jeremy December 21, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

    Bill. This is undoubtedly the funniest and most astute article that we’ve ever seen on Salut. 🙂

    I must question the following though re Cattermole, “Stocking-stuffer, a copy of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. Big prezzy, clown shoes”.

    He’s already got a pair of these Bill. They were a leaving present when WIgan sold him. He puts them on at 10 to 3 every Saturday.

  4. Bill Taylor December 21, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

    To John Terry: A large bottle of nasty-tasting mouthwash. Watch the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0z_Y2dk-aQ&feature=related

  5. Jeremy December 21, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

    Root beer might be enough Bill.

  6. Bill Taylor December 21, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    Did I say MON could have my first-born? My second-born, too, if I ever have one!

  7. Simon December 23, 2011 at 2:01 am #

    Normally enjoy your articles but don’t try and be funny. Leave that to experienced writers. Could have been so much better

  8. salutsunderland December 23, 2011 at 6:03 am #

    Is that a job application, Simon? Doesn’t pay but there’s ample reward in heaven.

    So now we know: either “the funniest and most astute article that we’ve ever seen” or “don’t try and be funny. Leave that to experienced writers”. Bill can fight his own corner but he’s about as experienced a writer as they come having done nothing else since a youthful shot at the Doggarts, Bishop Auckland version of Are You Being Served?

  9. Bill Taylor December 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    Yeah, damn right. Piss off, Simon! And have a merry Xmas in the process!

  10. vince richardson December 23, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    All good seasonal fun.

    Bendter needs a giant pair of whiskers to enable his inflated fat head to get through narrow gaps eg the Watford Gap.

    Cattermole needs a copy of “Anger Management;How to positively redirect your agression”.And Wes Brown a copy of “How to cope with a worsening of your working environmnet”

    MoN gets the freedom of the city.

    Sessignon gets a big fat new contract to which he cannot possibly say no….with a Lear Jet service so he can get home to see his family whenever he likes in France.

    Ellis gets to wear his Santa suit with a sack stuffed with a shiney new centre forward(preferably one not too “used”) while we all serenade him with “Walking in a winter Sunderland.

    And the Sunderland fans finally get to see thumping win at next years Sports Direct jumble sale.

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