Posted 20 hours ago

Nice One Cyril

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Your feature about localism initiatives in Preston ( How to take back control, 31 January) was inspiring. In Cockney rhyming slang it was adopted to mean "squirrel", [12] and it was the title of the autobiography of Cyril Fletcher. Tottenham Hotspur quartet in a defensive wall – L-R: Steve Perryman, Cyril Knowles, Phil Beal and Roger Morgan – at White Hart Lane in 1972. I knew Capita were in trouble ( Capita shares plunge amid fears over ‘new Carillion’, 1 February) a few years ago when they wrote to me as District Nurse David Simpson. The "Nice one Cyril" chant used by Tottenham fans for Cyril Knowles is also used for another Tottenham player Son Heung-min, reworded as "Nice one, Sonny, nice one Son / Nice one, Sonny, let’s have another one.

From Cyril Knowles the baton was passed to Cyrille Regis, and from Cyrille Regis it has passed to Son Heung-Min. Given that my name isn’t Cyril, the reference might appear baffling to Millennials and Generations Zers but, at one time, it was a phrase used in common parlance as a way to express praise for someone. Due to the popularity of the TV slogan and the song, "Nice one Cyril" became a popular catchphrase in the 1970s used to praise someone.As a Coventry City supporter, I too sang “Nice one Cyrille” back in the days ( Tears and tributes for trailblazer Cyrille Regis, 31 January). The slogan was picked by fans of the football club Tottenham Hotspur, who chanted "Nice one Cyril" to praise a Tottenham player named Cyril Knowles.

In another example I was particularly annoyed by the Virgin East Coast line train manager last week, who decided it was really funny to announce that the train was stopping at various “holes in the hedge” on the way to London, and that “unfortunately” we would be stopping at Doncaster. In 1972, Wonderloaf Bread created a television advertising campaign written by Peter Mayle with the slogan "Nice one, Cyril", where the slogan was used to congratulate a baker named Cyril for baking a good loaf of bread.However, as an academic I feel bound to say that the chant was originally for Cyril Knowles of Spurs. Photograph: Popperfoto/Getty Images View image in fullscreen Tottenham Hotspur quartet in a defensive wall – L-R: Steve Perryman, Cyril Knowles, Phil Beal and Roger Morgan – at White Hart Lane in 1972. Nice one, Cyril” was actually invented by Peter Mayle, of A Year in Provence fame, as an advertising slogan for Wonderloaf Bread in 1972. There are far fewer Cyrils (or Cyrilles) playing in England’s top-flight of football today than there were in the 1970s.

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