Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Friday January 18 2008
January is typically a month of low spirits; bank accounts are generally drained as we all feel the pinch of the overly hyped festival of commercial vomitis that is Christmas. Resolutions predictably tumble by the wayside after your first three attempts to go for a run ended variously in a severe stitch followed by cardiac arrest. The summer and that fortnight of sangria and suncream are some way off, even Easter, your next significant break from the banality of nine to five, seems a lifetime away. As ever, football fills the dream filled gaps when life simply doesn`t cut the mustard. Football represents many things to many people; hobby, passion, lifeblood. But occasionally, it can also provide a fascinating paradigm to so called "real life." As January represents perhaps the most insipid period of the calendar year, it`s the time of the season when things go a little mad in the football world.
Much of this has been due to the advent of the January transfer window in England. I know the system has many detractors, but while not a staunch advocate, I am something of a casual admirer. I quite like the fact that teams have to build their squads at the beginning of the season and, if they ain`t up to it, tough shizzle mate. With the legions of mega rich investors flooding the Premiership, I think the window evens the playing field a bit. For instance, had Chelsea been able, they would have undoubtedly bought their way out of the little pickle they delightfully landed themselves in back in the early Autumn, and doubtless they would be leading the title race right now. As it stands the parasites were left to starve on a carcass of industry.
But what the window has really injected into the top flight is a sense of January madness, and this particular January has picked up the top hat and invited all and sundry to the tea party. Following on from my karma thread of a fortnight ago, Newcastle and Liverpool have transitioned from objects of schaudenfraude to spectacles of outright ridicule. Having sacked yet another manager who could not instantly turn the historically average (at best) Newcastle United into world beaters, the self congratulatory "Geordie nation" have now decided that the best way to alleviate their ongoing circus is to have Nelly the Elephant ride back in on her unicycle. The appointment of the floundering fusspot Kevin Keegan is a folly almost as laughably desperate and transparent as owner Mike Ashley`s "beers for the boys" act, decked out in replica shirt and sitting "with the lads, like." What an excellent solution to massage their delusional psyche, let`s all just stick our fingers in our ears, shut our eyes and pretend it`s 1996. Maybe Messrs Albarn and Gallagher can have at it on the cobbles again? We`ll all don kangol bucket hats and tell the world that we`re "mad ferret" and that "football`s coming home." Maybe Blair can sweep back into number 10 and we`ll all just forget about Iraq and the honours scandals? Maybe I`ll go back to secondary school and ponder which Spice Girl to masturbate over? And how is the new messiah greeted? With the sight of twenty thousand empty seats at a typically moribund St. James` Park. Best supporters in the world? My arse.
If there are any Arsenal fans left out there who were open to the clutches of megalomaniacal corporate investment, surely the current shambles that is Liverpool F.C. has given us cause to take our food for thought with a pinch of salt. The Benitez v Gillet and Hicks saga has taken a curious twist with the American owners openly admitting to having lifted their skirts towards Jurgen Klinsmann, offering him a tantalising view of some fetching lederhosen. With Liverpool`s form stuttering and the media muttering, the Americans eyes started fluttering. Openly soliciting your manager`s job is hardly the way to stabilise another season that has flattered to deceive. Benitez`s impetuous behaviour has only served to fan the flames and make the Liverpool F.C. soap opera my latest guilty pleasure. (Now that the Spice Girls are all mingers).
As we have discussed on this site at length this week, Lassana "verbal diarrhoea" Diarra has also been affected by a touch of the January crazies. After unsuccessfully attempting to get himself noticed in training by crying and crying and crying until his bottom lip did that weird trembly thing, holding his breath until he passed out and deliberately weeing himself, Diarra, after a mammoth four months effort, has decided to toddle off to Pompey. Not giving a seconds thought to the fact that the egg timer on Flamini`s contract is ever fading and Gilberto`s loss of form (together with the fact that Diarra is actually a genuinely talented player) he`s spat his dummy all the way to the South Coast. But not satisfied with his errant bout of impetuousness, Diarra has already told Pompey that he is plotting his next move to a big club! Eh? That`s right the boy who bailed on two top four clubs in quick succession now has ideas above his station. But Lassana, by walking out on us after four months, you ostensibly admitted you didn`t have the stomach to play for a bigger club, so, why do you…how do you…oh forget it! On top of all that, just as my view towards Nicolas Anelka was beginning to soften, he goes and joins Chelsea and Spurs decide the best way to solve their defensive crisis is to plough all of their resources into trying to buy another striker. To slightly adapt an old Bill Hicks mantra, "football`s a mad, mad world….and I`m so proud to be part of it."LD.
Date:Friday January 18 2008
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