Well I mean … it’s a sad day when you can’t see the funny side of a thin Belgian kid kicking a fat Welsh kid for acting like a tit.
Obviously my first reaction was, kick him harder! Kick him in the face! Punch that fat Welsh kid! But this was just the booze talking. Then again, as we all know, booze acts in much the same way as adrenaline and fatigue, so it’s entirely reasonable to assume Hazard must have experienced the same counselling himself, which in consequence suggests he should be lauded for his restraint, if anything. As it turns out, both Pat Nevin and Joey Barton expressed concern that the fat kid hadn’t been kicked enough, Barton going so far as to express the shortcoming as a ‘crime’.
The real shame is that this episode can only have negative outcomes. The fat kid’s writhing was directly inspired by the behaviour of footballers and as such offers an irrefutable example of the influence players have as role models and the damage it does to see them diving, play-acting and basically acting like tits. Couple this with today’s attention-seeking faux celebrity-idolisation and Fat Dafydd’s antics can only serve to incentivise future wanky behaviour from impressionable ballboys.
For this, Swansea should face disciplinary action: Nothing serious, just from now on their ballboys should have to wear tutus or something. After all, by doing nothing, the FA will be tacitly condoning unsportsmanlike conduct that directly influences games and brings thousands of twitter followers. In that light, whether it’s twattish or not becomes irrelevant: unless taught otherwise, more kids will do it.
But slowly, my booze-brain subsided and it occurred to me that perhaps I wouldn’t have cared as much had we been 2-0 up, or indeed had we not lost 2-0 at home in the first leg. In fact, I wouldn’t have cared as much had we been top of the league, or still in the Champions League, or Club World Champions. In fact, if anything were going right for us at the moment, I might not have cared so much.
So what’s the problem? Well, obviously there’s a little bit of the old ‘regression to the mean’ going on: we can’t win the Champions League every year, so immediately after such a high, we’re expected to have a lull. There’s no reason for that, it’s statistically inevitable, but still, it feels a bit rough. On top of this, we have a moody bunch of home fans who like to bear a grudge. Remember how long we chanted “you don’t know what you’re doing” to Avram? That guy ended up with a win ratio of 67% and came within a JT penalty-miss of being a Chelsea Legend forever. But we booed him relentlessly at home because we felt jilted about Jose. Well Dimat’s gone, and it’s about time we started to support our team at home. I dread to think how much delight the rest of the league is getting out the vibe going on at the Bridge.
Lastly, we need JT back. If his sabbatical has taught us anything it’s that while Mata and Oscar are high on skills, there’s no substitute for leadership, especially at the back. Cahill can stick a boot in and Cech likes to shout after the event, but those guys don’t get teammates tracking back anywhere near enough. You lose your man these days and you might get an earful. Time was when you dropped a 2-0 lead against Southampton and before you knew it JT would have slept with the mother of your child and racially insulted you in a non-racist way. Dick or no dick, we need JT back.
And this should serve as a timely reminder to Roman. You can’t just cart off the entire old guard and expect the youngsters to know what to do. Every team needs continuity. Every team needs guidance. If you’re chopping about the managers every season and a half then it’s vital that you keep a handful of players to lead the way. What I’m saying is, to sell Lampard doesn’t just make poor business sense, it makes poor footballing sense too.