Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Thursday January 3 2008
I'm far from the most spiritual person you'll ever meet. In fact, I am perhaps the most cynical, brow beaten, world weary human being ever to to sport a hairstyle. I'm from the Noam Chomsky school, 'if you're not cynical, it's because you're not paying enough attention.' In fact, I would wager that Richard Dawkins and the ghost of Bill Hicks would probably spit out their mouthfuls of roast lamb and storm out of my flat in disgust at my rationalist world view should my fantasy dinner party ever come to fruition. However, I have always been drawn towards the theory of karma, what you give is what you get and all that. I do not know if I genuinely believe in its existence, or whether the small, misty eyed romanticist in me is just rather attracted to the idea that the arseholes will get their comeuppanece. If I do believe in this mechanism, then it is certainly not through any omnipitent guiding force, I think the law of averages just sets its steely gaze on all of us. Just lately, as the 2007/08 season begins to motor into gear, I have noticed several pleasing transitions that have made this season, up to this point anyway, the most enjoyable to date.
Firstly, the sanctimonious are getting it both barrels this new year. Number one on the list of sanctimonious over zealous idiots are, well, everybody and everything connected to Newcastle United. The myth of the 'hardy, loyal Geordies' all misty eyed and with a song perenially etched into their hearts makes me sick to my stomach. Having visited St. James Park on a plethora of occasions, I have never heard the volume raise above that of any other of the legion of moribumd Premiership grounds (including our own). What I have noticed are unintelligent, ill informed boo boys who berate their own side at will, haruang and spit on opposing players when they are stretchered off the field and demand instant success because they occasionally fill a fairly big stadium (check their attendances nowadays, it is rare that they are full). A club that has not won a significant trophy in living memory and spent most of their existance flirting with mid table in the top flight at best is NOT a big club and does not have a divine right to win anything. So imagine my delight to see two of football's most unsavoury characters in the shape of Alan Shearer formerly and now Sam Allardyce whittle away once promising careers with this soap opera of a football club. I almost feel sorry for Allardyce, having been given precisely four months to turn around sixty years of mediocrity, his job is on the line due to a bunch of fans so myopic you wonder if they have noticed that Ant and Dec are actually tossers and Newcastle Brown Ale tastes like carbonated donkey's urine (possibly extracted from one of the Magpies back four). Until I remember Allardyce's numerous fallacies and pig ignorant comments about the trend for foreign managers (ignoring the fact that the Premiership only has five managers from outside of Britain- four of them currently occupy the top five). His despicable violent tactics and accusations of poor little Bolton being the victims. How nice to see this odious little twat get found out and hounded out by the stupidest supporters in football.
Next on the sanctimony hit list are Liverpool F.C. The ever whining, ever pompous chatter boxes who constantly regail us about how Liverpool somehow 'belong' as Champions of England and beg sympathy at their every injustice but refute any suggestions of guilt on their part. For instance, Anfield quite rightly has a memorial for the victims of Hillsbrough and one I make sure to visit every year, yet there remains no recognition of the victims of the Heysel disaster. Led by the insatiable egoist Stevie Me, how wonderful it is to watch Liverpool's title aspirations vanish in January. Liverpool are in danger of forever overtaking Tottenham's infamous 'next year' assertion. Peter Crouch and Stevie Me have been lining up to blame Johnny Foreigner for their shortcomings, when a look at England's Euro 2008 Qualifying Campaign would confirm that simply removing their heads from their backsides would reveal the hilarious truth. You're just not good enough.
Of course this brings me to England. Usually my stance towards the national team is one of apathy, I don't care about them and I'm not going to pretend that I do in a vain attempt to kid myself for the benefit of a few tabloid journalists. But I cannot deny affording myself a little smirk as England capitulated against Croatia. With my own club appointed cheif scapegoats, I cannot deny that watching Stevie Me and Lampard yet again shirk a big game in the face of a technically superior opposition gave me a sense of smug self satsifaction. Especially as Arsenal had so beautifully taking Reading to the cleaners with an exhibition of aesthetically inspiring football just days earlier versus Reading. It was the night the 'you need more foreigners' chant was born and our timing was incredibly apt. Karmic you might say.
One of my chief reasons for my apathy towards England stems from the fact that I cannot suddenly pretend that Ashley Cole, Stevie Me MBE MOTM, Frank Lumplard and John Terry are likeable characters because they share one of my passport details. For all of John Terry's 'iron man' pretensions, what we have seen this year is a callous bully, so minutes after ploughing onto a prone Cesc Fabregas in a cowardly tackle, perhaps it was karma weaving its magic when Terry smashed into Eboue's boot and found himself stretchered off in a game in which he should have been sent off. Naturally, he whinged like a little bitch afterwards. I remember penning articles on here last season, pleading with Arsenal fans not to berate Ashley Cole. The plead was underpinned with a firm belief that Cole would see the error of his ways all by himself soon enough and that our intervention would not be necessary. So it proved, not only did Gallas ram Chelsea's murky attempts to blacken their ex lynchpin's name by scoring the winner against team evil, but Gael Clichy being awarded man of the match left poor Cashley with little recourse than to aim a petty two fingered salute at us. Anyone here offended by it? I found out fricking hilarious, while Cashley's game is lost in an ultra defensive mire and the man we swapped him for proves to be our best captain in years, Arsenal fans everywhere are laughing so hard that I think a few moderately priced vehicles are being swerved off the M25.
Climbing down from my soapbox for a moment, I look at the current (and I stress current, their is still four months of the season remaining) fortunes of my own club. This summer, journalists the nation over were clammering over themselves to witness the signing of Arsenal's death certificate. Having sold Thierry Henry and Freddie Ljungberg and made the unpopular William Gallas skipper, lazy, media fed idiots the nation over proclaimed Tottenham to be the new kings of North London because they had splashed out on the desperately average Darren Bent. Those with a more independent view of football might have seen an ailing Ljungberg, a shadow of the player he was, and an Henry who had become a caricature of himself, lambasting any team mate who dared not submit to his demands. He also had a sciatic injury, and anybody with a vague inclination towards sports science will know that sciatic injuries are like ex lovers. As much as you don't want to, you're always likely to meet them again at the most unseemly moments. Fast forward five months and Arsenal sit top of the league with Gallas proving himself a real leader, whilst Tottenham 'next year' Hotspur are looking up towards mid table mediocrity. (Those of you thinking I am jumping on the 'I'm glad Henry's gone' bandwagon since the summer, should consult this article here 'http://www.arsenal.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=70941' written on the 25th June.) Maybe it won't last, but at this moment, in the footballing world, the universe looks to be in perfect working order. Now, given the criticism and schaudenfraude I have dished out in this article, you'll have to excuse me if I wrap myself in cotton wool and lock myself in the house until May.LD
Date:Thursday January 3 2008
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