Churchillian Rhetoric

John Sitton was a Churchill, not an Iain Duncan Smith, and you can – indeed, you must – see him in action in these three Youtube clips from the ’90s documentary Club For A Fiver.

  1. Fighting On The Beaches
  2. Some Chicken! Some Neck!
  3. The End of the Beginning

Courtesy of the Guardian, from whom we learn that Sitton’s record at Orient reads:

P47 W7 D9 L31


21 responses to “Churchillian Rhetoric

  1. And your point is?

  2. Two, really. One, that the clips are – in my opinion – treasures of the genre. Two, during the WC, much of the criticism aimed at Erickson focussed on his lack of rhetoric, his ability to “inspire the players”, to “put a rocket up them” etc. All so much guff, and I thought it would be interesting for people to see the approach they so strongly recommended then “in action” and to reflect on its real-life results.

    But I posted them mainly because I thought they were funny.

  3. As the Irish begrudgers say, “Good enough.”

  4. Insufficiently analytical, that chap.

  5. We shall fight them on the fucking beaches! This was their finest fucking hour! Never in the fucking field of fucking conflict…

    It has a touch of Simon Curtis’s ‘The Skinhead Hamlet’, combined with John Cooper Clarke’s ‘Chicken Town’. Can’t fucking say fucking fairer than that.

    Was there much blood that year? I expect there was some tears and sweat.

  6. For the last time one important thing football is about is anger, harnessing it, being controlled by it etc. But I have the impression this is like to talking to Terry Eagleton about religion. He’s cleverer than you you but he doesn’t fucking get it.

  7. Is football “about” anger in a way that rugby, cricket or speedway riding aren’t?

  8. I don’t think so, but I don’t know.

  9. Talking of Terry Eagleton, I think he actually had something to say on this issue that went along my lines. It’s not like arguing with Terry Eagleton on religion – it’s like arguing with both of us about football, at the same time! 🙂

  10. You and Terry Eagleton? I surrender!! But if you read David James in today’s Guardian you might see what I’m getting at. The players’ culture was largely created by white working class players. Anger spurs a Thierry Henry and a Peter Storey. The footballers themselves say it. I don’t think it explains anything I just think it’s very interesting. My feeling is that cricket, a noncontact sport with a very limited number of outlets for physical expression in play is very different.
    Opinionated of Brighton

  11. Would John Sitton like to meet Arsene Wenger? That quiet gallic contretemps with M. Pardieu. Am I imagining it or is the managerial spat a new thing? Did Busby and Shankly pout at each other? Did Bill Nicholson throw pizzas at Harry Catterick? (Well, OK, not pizzas but pies). Is there any betting on a Mourinho versus Warnock game of daggers?

    Ah, leadership! Is football management the new rock and roll?

  12. The new rock and roll indeed. As the splendid Warren Zevon sang, “I’ll live with the losees and watch the sundown through the portiere” (I think Eddie Bailey threw the pies)

  13. The word is losses. My it’s dull round here.

  14. OK, so you live with the losses and I’ll live with the losees. I’ve always liked them and reckon we could get along.

  15. Has anybody translated Endre Ady well into English? I know it’s not football. Sorry.

  16. Some have tried to translate Ady, including myself. He is very hard as he is mostly music and mood. Think of Verlaine. I have some three translations in an anthology. Hugh Maxton, the Irish poet, had something on the go a few years ago but heaven knows what has happened to that. Odd you should ask. I am writing from Dublin.

  17. Thanks. Which anthology is it?

  18. It is called The Lost Rider, in English and Hungarian, but published in Hungary. Nice book but hard to find here. Could send a copy…

  19. That would be marvellous. Thank you. My email address is I offer this quote from Godard’s Notre Musique as partial payment.”Communism only existed once for 45 minutes in each half when the Magyars beat England 6-3 at Wembley. The English played as individuals…” You may know who said it. Perhaps the galloping major.

  20. James, you’ve gone off the radar.There’s a perfectly good season out there rotting away.