Date:Sunday February 24 2008
Out with the girlfriend yesterday, we were out to grab some brekkie, and stopped in at a greasy spoon.Our full englishes had just arrived when a mate phoned me, to ask what I was doing that evening, and we had a quick chat about the Brum - Arse footy match which was just about to kick off. After we'd scoffed our grub and gone back home, and were laying down to let the grub go down, I had switched on the radio to listen to the game, and my mate phoned again to ask me what I reckoned about the Eduardo game, to which they had only just alluded to on the radio since I had switched it on. The commentators spoke of a subdued, disinterested group of Gunners. It all began to fall in to place.
We came out in the second half and ripped into them, theo grabbing his first two goals, and I am so happy for him, I hope this is the starting point of hi Arsenal career. Ultimately we walked away after conceding an unfair penalty. But I'm afraid I cannot bring myself to lament two point dropped in this game, or indeed two points ceded to ManUre in the title race.
All this pales into insignificance when you think of that guy laid up in a hospital room, having just had his left ankle smashed to bits in just the third minute of a match.
I have since seen the stills and some video footage of the incident, and whilst i do not want to enter the 'was it deliberate' debate, I will say it was a fucking disgraceful tackle, the ball was a mile away, and if that is the extent of Martin Taylor's capabilities, all I can say to Birmingham is that I hope that was a one-off tackle, as if he's normally that late, he doesn't deserve to be anywhere near the Premier League, due to lack of talent, regardless of any malicious intent or not.
It makes you think though, doesn't it. Players, their careers, their wages. I'm sure everyone's been involved in one of those conversations about whether players earn too much money, and whether they dedicate themselves strongly enough to their profession, or spend too much time buying expensive cars, stumbling out of nightclubs with some trollop on their arm. That kind of thing.
And there are quite a few players in the Prem who do fall into that category. I'd hazard a guess that at least 85% of those that are like that, are English.
it angers folk that these people get paid so much money, 'just for kicking a ball about', and then act so with so little grace, flaunting their money and lifestyle.
But when you see an injury yesterday, like Dudu's, it puts everything into perspective.
Eduardo is a player of some note. With a goalscoring record in his adopted homeland of Croatia that any striker would envy, both at club and international level, he is still only 24, and his best years lay ahead of him. In the summer he had moved to Arsenal, and with no disrespect to Dinamo Zagreb intended, earned himself that move to one of Europe's top clubs.
More than just his talents, the outpouring of well wishes from fans of not just Arsenal, but from up and down the country, suggest he was a player who other fans well respected. The croatian fans who have spoken up with their well wishes for Dudu speak of a man who they believe to be a genuinely nice human being. Not one of said flash harry's.
And now he is recovering from an injury which threatens to curtail his career and bring it to an abrupt end. Indeed, his first battle on his road to recovery may be to ensure that he is able to walk properly once more.
Down the years, there have been some truly horrific injuries in English football. We've seen Abou Diaby suffer a very similar leg break to Dudu's, to an assault whilst playing away in the northeast. The worst I have seen still remains the David Busst incident, who suffered a truly horrendous leg break whilst playing for Coventry away at Old Trafford. His leg shattered so badly, that the game had to be stopped and the blood washed off the pitch. Much the same as yesterday's game, several of the players, including ManUre players, were visibly distraught, finding it hard to come to terms with what they had seen.
So whilst there are some players who do not deserve the fortunes they earn, and pay little respect to the game, the fans, the responsibility they may have to young people who aspire to be like their 'heroes', there are others there who serve as a reminder that the career of a top-flight footballer, whilst fantastically well paid and held up as that of a rockstar's, can be a brittle career - a fragile thing, that, like the left ankle of Eduardo Da Silva, can all too easily be taken away prematurely.
My thoughts and hope are with Eduardo Da Silva - I hope he makes a full and complete recovery from an injury that gets worse every time i see it.
Date:Sunday February 24 2008
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