Soapbox: fine words butter no parsnips

Pete Sixsmith welcomes the praise heaped on the Lads for their spirited peformance against Chelsea, but sternly reminds us that we still lost and are now deep in trouble

Not a phrase that is used very much nowadays. In fact, the only people I have heard it from are Captain Mainwaring in Dad’s Army and John Major, and some might regard those two as interchangeable.

The non-buttering of parsnips came to mind as I listened to the genuine and fulsome praise that Avram Grant and John Terry threw in our direction over the weekend. Phrases like “good side”, “great support” and “they should be ok at the end of the season” are all very well, but once again we took nothing from a game and we slipped a little closer to the Great Grimpen Mire that is the Championship.

It was a good performance, of that there is no doubt. It was good enough to push a very strong Chelsea side all the way and to make Terry and Lampard, who are the heartbeat of the team, show us why they are so highly rated.

There was hardly a weak link in the side that Keane put out. Those whose training was not as intensive as the manager would have liked were not missed. O’Donovan showed real promise and clearly prefers playing up front rather than being stuck out wide where his ability to run at players is hampered by that major inconvenience known as the touchline.

It was great to see Carlos back, although he is desperately short of match practice. At my age, I don’t really have “favourite players” but I do have the utmost respect for Carlos. I admire his attitude and demeanour and particularly his match winning skills. Need to see some of those at Villa and the Mags.

He did give us an option on the right flank as did Andy Reid on the left. I have rarely seen a top class player with the body shape of Reid, but he can play. He has great control and is always looking to make a pass that will open up a defence, something that has been sadly missing since Sean Thornton succumbed to the riotous night life of Ryhope.

Kenwyne is another player who has Premiership qualities. A Chelsea fan of my acquaintance described him as awesome, although he might not have been so enthusiastic if the two headers had been planted firmly in the net – as they should have been. He leads the line well and looked a much better player than the very disappointing Drogba, who looked like a man desperate for La Dolce Vita in Milan or Turin.

Good players who work hard and show a positive attitude are the way out of the relegation thicket. If players are “not as intensive in training as I would like” then don’t play them.

Fulham’s revival is a worry. They have taken four points from two difficult games and are back in the mixer. Bolton and the dreary Megson can’t get anything from 10 men and they go to Old Trafford on Wednesday. As a club they would not be missed. No away fans and not that many ay home. The same applies to Wigan, although I think that Mrs Doubtfire has the nous and the savvy to get them clear. Middlesbrough should be alright although it depends which referee wants the award for comedy red card of the week.
Realistically, the two places are between us, Reading, Bolton, Birmingham Fulham and the Mags. Tonight’s game against Birmingham is a biggie, so here’s hoping that McLeish and his boys are inspired by the arrival of the Toon Army and their portly chairman. It would maintain the pressure on KK – and we all know what happens when that is exerted.

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.

5 Responses to “Soapbox: fine words butter no parsnips” Subscribe

  1. John Penman March 17, 2008 at 8:52 pm #

    If we fail to survive this season then the absence of Edwards and Richardson for such a substantial part of the season would have been a major factor.
    Stangely enough since Evans replaced McShane at the back we have shored things up as Nyron found his soulmate again.Sadly we now look rather blunt up front as we have failed to score in the last 4 games and rather more alarmingly not created a lot either.
    A bit like my golf…One week my driving is ok , putting is rotten, next week putting good , driving rotten.When it all comes together watch out Tiger.
    Boro pick up points where you wouldn’t expect them to and Wigan just fluke results at home because their pitch resembles a cowfield.Because of that I agree with Pete that they will probably survive.
    I still think Fulham, despite a bit of a form upturn, will go down and Reading have enough scrappers to fight their way out.That leaves one from us , the Mags ,Brum and Bolton.
    I am hoping that Megsons fine managerial record comes to fruition and KK’s magic touch continues.Let’s face it if we finish below these two losers we deserve to go down.

  2. Ian Todd March 18, 2008 at 6:39 pm #

    >I have rarely seen a top class player with the body shape of Reid, but he can play.<
    Jan Molby?

  3. Ian Todd March 18, 2008 at 6:40 pm #

    >I have rarely seen a top class player with the body shape of Reid, but he can play.<
    Jan Molby?

  4. Mark Walton March 18, 2008 at 10:19 pm #

    “fine words butter no parsnips” – I’ve always loved this phrase. It doesn’t get used often though the 1st time i know of it being used is pre Major and Mainwaring. It was Kenneth Clark in the Civilisation TV series (sorry for getting all intellectual!)

  5. Pete Sixsmith March 19, 2008 at 10:27 am #

    Congratulations Mark. You must be the first person to connect the ultra aesthetic Lord Clark of Civilisation to a football web site. I’m sure he is looking down from the high plateau of his cultural heaven and feeling proud that at last he has touched base with the Peoples Game. What next – Lee Howey on the art of Gilbert and George?

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