#31 Red Hot Soccer Chat
Man Nuts Man In Newcastle. This Is News Apparently.
People like to rewrite history, especially when it involves making themselves look good. Any football fan paying attention to the anodyne Pol Pot Year One mutterings from the FA and media can’t have helped but be impressed by their brass neck this weekend as Alan Pardew was fined for putting the nut on some no mark from Hull.
Let’s have it right, it was great.
Having been on the end of a tongue lashing by a certain follically challenged ex Spurs winger myself I can tell you that being assaulted by a football person, verbally or otherwise, is not any different to being assaulted by anyone else. The only difference is in the reaction from other people.
In my own case I was inundated with offers of help to formulate police charges against him, or write to the club to get him fined, banned, sacked, arrested, or some combination of all of them. I declined every one. Why? Because they were bullshit; hysterical overreactions of people whose only goal in life is to be outraged on other people’s behalf. I had a pop, he had a pop. We both moved on, simple.
I had to chuckle at the treatment of Pardew though. he spends six days a week being told he’s part of a Cockney mafia running the wonderful institution that is Newcastle United. On the one day he shows that whatever his shortcomings as a manager and a Londoner he really really cares about Newcastle winning he gets called a disgrace, hit with a £100,000 fine and reminded of his responsibilities as a role model to the people of the Geordie nation.
That’s the same club who recently saw one of their own sent to jail for chinning a police horse. I think the role model ship has sailed.
But apparently he better watch out, because there are impressionable youths about, and they want them being busy being impressionable enough to pester their parents to shell out for multiple replica shirts, and any other tat they can stick a club crest on and flog in the club shop. Pardew reminding them why football in this country is so popular around the world is not to be allowed.
For let’s be honest here, English football sells around the world because it’s chaotic, mistake ridden, tribal shite.
Let’s be honest, if you can watch Lionel Messi and the rest of Barcelona putting on a masterclass in the tippy tappy shite why would you pay £60 a pop to watch Charlie Adam do it nowhere near as well? Our football doesn’t win you anything on the world stage, but we love it. Where else in the world does a fixture the equivalent of the Bristol or South Wales derby provoke the white heat that it does here? Go and find me a game at the same level that has the spite and tension of Nottingham Forest v Derby?
You won’t, because our game has evolved in such a way that aggression and passion put bums on seats and headlines in papers. Sadly, occasionally it means that people go across the arbitrary lines that the media like to create when an incident occurs. These are the same people who look back wistfully on the old days when degenerate alcoholics lolloped around creating mayhem and pine for more characters in the game. Then when they find one immediately leap on him for not setting a good example. (It would have been interesting to note how they would have viewed Tony Adams if his ‘characterful’ drunk driving had led to the death of a pedestrian).
Of course the biggest part of this hypocrisy is that if you have to rely on the likes of Alan Pardew to set the example for your children then you really don’t have any business being a parent, and should drop your offspring at the nearest foster family.
12 (well 11 actually) Years A Slave?
Speaking of football and hypocrisy, Sol Campbell has a book out. In it he details his gripe about playing for England 73 times and only being captain for 3 of them. He claims it’s because he’s black. I claim it’s because he’s a selfish duplicitous blame shifting cunt.
There are people who will tell you that there is something to this. They are people who don’t get Sol Campbell. When you decide, as we have in England, that captaincy is imbued with a certain mysticism that only certain people are capable of harnessing and using to improve the side, then you start to look for these qualities in the candidates for the job. You ignore that in most countries the captaincy at club and international level is simply given to the person with the most appearances, trusting that his experience will allow him to transmit calm and authority to the rest of the side simply by his mere presence on the field. You begin to examine how a player carries himself, both on and off the pitch, and his relationships with fans and other figures in the game, particularly the players he aspires to lead. So let’s do it.
Sol Campbell got into the Spurs side at a young age, and was given the captaincy once it became apparent he was the best player in the side at that time. Can you remember a single Churchillian moment of breast beating oratory or onfield motivation that got the over the line in a tight game? you could argue that Michael Dawson does more leading of the side than he ever did, and you wouldn’t have him leading a side on Championship Manager, let alone the World Cup.
Captains, even if not vocally evident, have to show in some form a mental toughness that allows them to keep up their standards and try and haul their side through a truly bad performance. Picture Roy Keane, yellow carded against Juventus meaning he’d miss the European Cup final, slogging his guts out for a game he’d never play in, and being astonished when praised about it by Sir Alex Ferguson in his book as if there would ever be a game in which he wouldn’t put up that level of performance, or at least try to. Watch Sol Campbell having a fucking shocker of a half against West Ham, shipping two, and fucking off on holiday before the second half started. Yeah, real mental toughness there.
A fan must feel that a captain is with them. They don’t expect them to get the bus to the ground with them anymore, but they do like to think that they feel the same about their team, and their enemies. So here’s your candidate (in his own head) for the England captaincy demonstrating his unique bond with the fans by sneaking off to their biggest rivals on a free transfer. Further, he showed off his unique brand of self-awareness by asking Les Ferdinand ‘it’s not that big a deal is it?’ as another derby rolled around and the abuse became so vitriolic it made him pass the ball into touch the first time he got it with no Spurs player near him (there’s that legendary mental toughness again).
Let’s add in the selfless nature of a captain, often playing out of position or slightly injured to show the side that they are all in it together and that the cause, not personal comfort, is what counts. It’s telling then that David Pleat will happily recount the fact that he would never play for Spurs unless he was 100% fit, or at least felt that way. As if any player spends much of a season not carrying a bump or knock. By that rationale he would have only played about 15 times for England.
Finally, picture Paul Ince (black) charging around the midfield giving it all in a white shirt, proudly wearing the armband and leading his nation. Oddly enough Ince never alleged racism on the part of the football establishment, at least not until he was exposed as a bang average manager.
Was there a big groundswell of opinion on this subject at the time? Did the media or other players and managers put his name forward? If he had a testimonial how many Spurs or Arsenal fans do you think would turn up, of any colour? Do you think Arsenal fans love him, apart from the fact he screwed Tottenham over?
Why is it that this legend of the game (in his own head) has had, until the serialisation of his book, nothing to say on his lack of captaincy opportunities?
It’s baffling isn’t it? It’s almost as if everyone sussed he was a good player but a bottling selfish wanker, and didn’t give it another thought.
I’ll leave you with a picture that seems to sum up how Sol sees the England team.
Next time, more rubbish, and maybe the racing stuff I promised. Or maybe not…..