November 2 2018: woof guide to art

Exactly 20 years since their run to the FA Cup second round – indeed since that memorable season in which they reached the FA Vase final and won the Northern League by 26 points – the name of Bedlington Terriers keeps cropping up.

Searching for something else entirely – how often is that serendipitously supposed? – I come across the June 1999 story of a painting called Bedlington Terrier in Red by a Scottish chap called Craigie Aitchison.

It was part of the Royal Academy’s summer exhibition, an event also remembered for formaldehyde cows and pictures of baboons doing what, apparently, babons do most of the time.

No, no, that’s bears….

At any rate I’d wondered if there were a football connection, rang the Academy and spoke to a lady so detached from the real world she probably though Darlington RA was an Acamedician, too.

The original was on offer for £2,050, 40 screen prints for £1,750 apiece. Davy Perry,. then Terriers’ chairman, didn’t think he’d be forking out. “It seems a bit ower our heeds,” he said.

Once, however, he’d commissioned a similar sign for his pub, inevitably called the Bedlington Terrier. “I think it cost ten quid,” he added.

*Recent reference to former Sunderland striker Thomas “U-boat” Hauser – the German sub – prompts Don Clarke to recall that manager Denis Smith compared him to Bambi on Ice, such his balance on a wintry pitch.

The phrase probably wasn’t original. It was certainly employed by Matt le Tissier some time after the infamous Ali Dia’s sole appearance – sub for Le Tiss – for Southampton in 1986.

He wasn’t George Weah’s cousin after all, then?

Martn Birtle also recalls Smith and Hauser from a 1991 family holiday to the Isle of Man which coincided with a pre-season tournament there. Sunderland reached the final, played at the Douglas Bowl, subs and coaching staff seated on long benches.

“At one stage all the people at one end jumped up to make a point, sending those at the other end gracefully on to the grass.”

Sunderland lost, Martin adds, of course.

*Ruby wedding recreation continued today with a sun-blessed walk up to the Arkengarthdale hamlet of Booze. Crackpot (honest) is nearby. Happily, for the hill is steep, the lovely little Red Lion at Langthwaite sits at the bottom.

Thanks to all those who’ve sent cards and emails, many echoing the thought that the lass deserves a medal as big as a bin lid. A big lid, sprayed gold and suitably inscribed and beribboned, was indeed among her presents.