William ShakespeareImage: tonynetone (who had to doorstep William – or is it John McCormick? – for days to get this shot)

Out of the Henrys who have ruled England, Henry II would have been of more interest to Stéphane Sessegnon, assuming our Sess shares Lorik Cana’s hunger for cultural and historical knowledge – Henry was born in Le Mans, Sess played there. But for John McCormick‘s lurch into English Lit territory as his prelude to the Wear-Tyne derby, Henry V’s your man. Here’s hoping for no Shakespearean tragedy cometh Sunday …

Once more onto the pitch, dear team, once more;

And close the midfield with a wall of red.

Off-season nothing so becomes a man

As modest stillness and humility:

But when the fixture list is in the news,

Then imitate the action of the tiger;

Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,

Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;

Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;

Let Sessegnon run at the Magpie team

with Adam Johnson, let Fletcher o’erwhelm it

As fearfully as doth young McClean

O’erhang and jutty their confounded backs,

Swill’d with the dead ball skill of Larssen.

Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,

Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit

To his full height. On, on, with noblest Mackems.

Whose blood is fet from pitmen!

Pitmen aye, as well as shipwrights who,

Have in these parts from morn till even stood

And shouted for their team on many Derbies:

Dishonour not their mothers; now attest

That those you call fanatics do beseech you.

Be skilful now to men of black and white,

And show them how to play. And you, good fullbacks,

Whose limbs are made of iron, show us here

The mettle of your pasture; let us swear

That you are worth your contract; which I doubt not;

For there is none of you so mean and base,

That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.

I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,

Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:

Follow your spirit, and upon this charge

Cry ‘God for Sun’lan’, Martin, and the lads!’

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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.

12 Responses to “Barred from losing a SAFC-Newcastle derby? Ask the Bard” Subscribe

  1. salutsunderland October 15, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    In case anyone has wanted to post a comment and couldn’t, SORRY!

    WordPress has started imposing a Comments Off setting on some postings and I can only untick the relevant box if I notice it, as I did with Sixer’s piece earlier and have now done with this

  2. Jake October 15, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    It’s probably much ado about nothing Monsieur!

  3. salutsunderland October 15, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    You’re bard!

  4. Joan October 15, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

    If that doesn’t inspire them, nothing will !

  5. salutsunderland October 15, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

    Taming of the Toon?

  6. Jeremy October 15, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

    Given the recent debate about Wonga it’s something of a surprise that Shylock from the Merchant of Venice was not deemed worthy of mention.

    • sobs October 16, 2012 at 10:28 am #

      aye, he’ll have his poond of flesh

  7. Jake October 16, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    That should be MORCHANT Of Venice!

  8. Dennis October 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    Is this the Northern team the name of which one dare not speak?

  9. malcolm October 16, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

    Let’s hope it’s A Comedy of Errors for the boys in black and white and that All’s Well That Ends Well for SAFC.

  10. Bill Taylor October 16, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    That which we call a skunk, by any other name would smell as rotten.

    Stars, hide your fires; Let not the Stadium of Light see their black and white desires.

  11. sobs October 17, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    What are these,
    So withered, and so wild in their attire,
    That look not like th’ inhabitants o’ the earth,
    And yet are on ‘t?
    It’s the mags!

    Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
    Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
    Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
    Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing

    Sorry, you can’t bring your own pies in here

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