Think of all of the times you've been upbraided or dressed down for some minor infraction in your place of work. I once had a written warning from the former Liverpool player, Phil Babb, for getting beaten up by two pikeys on the stairwell of a B&B in Bournemouth. He gave it to me on my birthday. I wanted to go fucking mental, but I let it go. I knew I was going to leave at some point and simply couldn't be bothered to react to the ill-considered disciplinary actions of a man who is famous for slamming his knackers into a post.
I was also once sent off twice in succession for swearing at myself. The referee in question hated me because I had slept with his daughter. The first time he sent me off, I skewed a shot that would have won a local derby wide in the last minute and shouted, 'for fuck's sake.' Straight red, 30 day ban, no questions asked. On my return, and faced with the same ref, I knew I was for it even before he said, "I'll have you today Blackhurst," as I went up for the coin toss. He booked me in the first minute for a shoulder-to-shoulder and sent me off after 27 minutes when, after beating the full-back, I crossed the ball to our forward who completely missed an open goal. 'Fuck me,' I barely whispered. In fact I'm sure I only said 'Fu…' before I realised. Out came the red card and onto the roof of the dressing room went my boots. I had to use a ladder to get them down and got banned for 180 days. Yes, you read that correctly, six months.
I'm not trying to dress myself up as an angel here. I was sent off a few times for acting like an idiot and got sacked from a variety of menial jobs for behaving irresponsibly. But you have to admit that the punishments are quite harsh in the context of the crimes. Wayne Rooney and Ashley Cole, to name but two, must be glad they exist in the cosseted world of professional football where players are continually allowed get away with thuggish and cuntish behaviour that, if they did it in the street, at work or on the local park would be jailed, sacked or banned for.
Ashley Cole took A GUN TO WORK and 'accidentally' shot an intern while Wayne Rooney, a man who resembles a shaved bear that has had his porridge nicked while watching Goldilocks get rogered by the ranger, elbowed James McCarthy in the face with brutal intensity. Let's re-cap. Ashley Cole shot someone, Wayne Rooney assaulted a fellow professional. The punishments? A 'dressing down' and a free-kick to Wigan. What a fucking disgrace. Mike Phelan even had the brass bollocks to say 'ref's seen it, no need for a witch hunt.' I wonder how Phelan would feel if someone ran up to him in the street and elbowed him in the face? Or how Abramovich would react if someone accidentally shot him with a gun that was pointed at him but they didn't know was loaded.
It really is enough to make you switch off the TV.
The Hammer and his delightful left foot allowed Parker to provide us with another timely reminder of why he is the best box-to-box midfielder in the country, even while requiring a pain killing injection to play
Yet just when you think that you’re out, football drags you back in. Fernando Torres recently said that there was ‘no romance left in football.’ Seeing as he is now playing for Chelsea, alongside King Adulterers Cole and Terry, he has a point. I doubt his Iberian seduction methods involving Jamon, candles, lashings of rioja and beach sex fuelled by light hash-spliffs will cut much mustard alongside the Krug embossed clubbing devices wielded by the Neanderthals.
No-one, it seems, has told Birmingham City. Although I doubt Big Eck is a candles and foot rub kinda’ guy, the Blues were the better side yesterday. Coruscating in the first-half and backs-to-the-wall brilliant in the second, the impact this defeat has upon the young tyros of North London will be played out over the coming weeks of the season and beyond. Was it simply that they didn’t perform on the day, or did the pressure of being expected to turn up, win handsomely and begin a march to domestic and European success constrict the players?
A romantic air also drifted around the Boleyn Ground where West Ham were superior to Liverpool in all departments. They won a high percentage of the second balls, recycled them intelligently for Ba and Piquionne to wreak havoc in the channels and, in Parker and Hitzelsperger, had a pair of players who gave Gerrard and Lucas a lesson in how to run the midfield. Hitzelsperger played the crucial pivot with aplomb. With Lucas often too deep and Gerrard harried into making schoolboy decisions, the Hammer and his delightful left foot allowed Parker to provide us with another timely reminder of why he is the best box-to-box midfielder in the country, even while requiring a pain killing injection to play. Should West Ham go down, Parker will surely be seen in Europe next season. On this form, it won’t be for Liverpool.
On a weekend that also saw Wolves finally give someone a stuffing, Jermaine Beckford score two of the scrappiest goals in the history of football and Kevin Nolan unleash his ridiculous chicken dance against his former club, Manchester United were the real winners.
This week they face Chelsea in a match that could go a long way to deciding the title race. Rooney and Cole will both be on the pitch, allowed to continue to ply their trade after committing assault.
How, exactly, does that make you feel?
I’m off to nut someone by the water cooler. Who knows, I might get a raise…
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