Date:Thursday February 3 2011
There is a spikiness about Cesc that many seem to find an unattractive character trait. It's always been there as far back as the time when, as has been widely reported, as a 17 year old midfielder he allegedly launched a pizza at Ferguson following a bitter game at Old Trafford.
Two years later and he rattled Mark Hughes cage as he poured scorn on Hughes's brief tenure as a Barcelona player suggesting that the experience had taught him little about football. Move on another two years and Phil Brown is next up as the then Hull manager concocted a spitting incident that despite the plethora of TV cameras and press photographers present nobody had managed to record making it no more real than his tan. This left Brown protesting into his head mike at Cesc's failure to meet a nonexistent dress code and daring to walk on his own pitch.
This week he had apparently earned the ire of David Moyes whose delicate little ears seemingly hadn't ever before encountered any industrial strength abuse of match officials despite being heavily fined twice in the last 3 years for berating match officials himself. Neither of the officials were Lee Mason which, given the curiously benevolent tack he seems to have taken when officiating Everton games as revealed on another football blog, shouldn`t be any great surprise.
The 'disgusting' comment, described as such in Moyes's post match interview with every broadcasting media available to him turns out to be something along the lines of 'How much have they been paid?' referring to the almost universally condemned and bizarre nature of the decision to allow Saha's offside goal. Not the most judicious of enquiries to make in the tunnel at half time, accepting that he wasn't simply interested in their capacity to make a donation to Centrepoint, Arsenal's support charity for this season, but a question that many inside and outside the stadium witnessing the event would also have been asking.
Whatever Moyes's motives for raising an issue that the offending officials weren't prepared to (keeping their heads down seems a wise course for them to take) I'm pleased that he has allowed this further insight into Cesc's character. It tells us what was already evident, that he is a spikey character who can be unpleasant and downright rude to those who have earned his anger, but more importantly it tells us as Arsenal supporters that he still gives a shit. Just as much as he did six years ago as Ferguson picked the mushroom topping out of his ears.
As a role model to young people learning how to conduct themselves properly in polite society and in meeting the highest Corinthian standards of sporting behaviour it couldn't be more wrong of course. Make sure the kids don`t read this, cover their eyes, shake your head and tut-tut disapprovingly whenever you discuss the behaviour with them. But for those wondering whether his clear intention to return home to play for his hometown club at the earliest opportunity has compromised his strength of desire, passion and even love for Arsenal it couldn't be more instructive. It still matters to him - and however much anyone else wants to sneer and wag their fingers along with what the media will portray as a character defect - that will really be what matters most to us.
Date:Thursday February 3 2011
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