Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Tuesday January 8 2008
You may remember in the latter part of last week, I produced an article on here exclaiming the pleasing karma that seems to be permeating the football season thus far. Part of the article reasoned that, in the long term, there really never was any point in Arsenal fans berating Ashley Cole. This has nothing to do with me being a lovely, forgiving bloke, but I always felt that in time he would see the error of his ways all by himself. The regret he will feel in his future will far outweigh any amount of abuse we can throw at him.
I was desperate to pen the article as soon as possible, aware that fortunes in football, as in life, can instantly transform, leaving the theme of the thread to unravel depressingly before your eyes. However, on this occasion, I was perhaps overly trigger happy. I reasoned that the spellbinding progression of Gael Clichy, together with William Gallas' winner against Chelsea were evidence of karmic retribution against Mr. Cole. So imagine seeing the theme of the article become even more poignant this weekend. Cole was appointed skipper for Chelsea's cup tie against Queens Park Rangers, but was humiliatingly forced to hand over the armband to substitute Didier Drogba midway through the second half. I can cite only one precedent for a substitute overtaking the armband from a stand in skipper. This moment was in Prague in October 2005, when Thierry Henry came off the bench and broke Arsenal's goalscoring record. Gilberto ran to him and adorned him with the armband by way of acknowledgement. I think we can agree that this is a special circumstance, and one that was not instigated by the manager, but of a player taking it upon himself to congratulate his team mate. Cole's submission however, was of a much more derogatory nature, particularly as Didier Drogba has never captained Chelsea before. So while Cole is left baffled and miffed at his public abhoration, William Gallas is proving that at least there is one genuine leader at number 10 in this country. Again, I implore you, the next time our paths with Cashley cross, quell your boos. Laughter would be much more appropriate.LD.
Date:Tuesday January 8 2008
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