Friday, 18 February 2011
Those horrible foreign cads!
I was thinking of posting about this yesterday, but I wanted to savour the moment instead. I read Wednesday's reaction to the AC Milan v Tottenham match with interest. One article in particular caught my eye and it was written by Steven Howard in The Sun. What I read was a character assassination of the foreign national footballer, and how they had used all their dirty tricks against the mighty English conquerors at the San Siro. Howard basically used his column to say how Milan's style of play was unacceptable. He described how Milan had chosen to stick the boot in on the Spurs players as soon as they realised Tottenham were a better side then themselves (I could have told them that before kick-off when I saw AC Milan's midfield comprised Thiago Silva, Gattusso, Seedorf and Flamini). Obviously there was plenty of commentary on Gattusso's behaviour at the end of the game when he butted Joe Jordan - imagine what we'd be saying if he'd done it to Pat Rice. However, the main thrust of the article was that it is unacceptable to use rough-house tactics simply to stop the opposition from beating you. It was the same stuff he wrote after the World Cup Final when Holland went out to kick the Spanish team. On the face of it you would have to say it's a really quite laudable stance. But then you have to remember two things:
1. The article is basically claiming that the kicking and squabbling is an essentially foreign trait that would not be resorted to by an English team (he also claimed that Flamini's awful tackle on Corluka was a result of the fact that he once played for Arsenal - somehow they always manage to find a reason to implicate us)
2. Mr Howard is one of the many journalists who espouse the virtues of Stoke City's approach to the game. The same man who labels Arsenal as flat-track bullies, who can't handle it when the rough-stuff starts. The same man who praised teams like Bolton and Blackburn Rovers for "getting in the faces" of Arsenal, when Allardyce was their Manager, because "they don't like it up 'em Mr Mainwaring."
If Arsenal lose on Wednesday night at home to Stoke City we will read in The Sun on Thursday how Arsenal once again failed to deal with a "physical approach." Mark my words, that will be the case unless we get the win. I don't know why I read it to be honest as it only winds me up more and more.
Talking of journalists winding people up we had Henry Winter on Radio 5 after the Barcelona game giving his "expert" reaction to the game (I don't recall seeing him play too many games). Winter is a public-school-educated reporter for the Daily Telegraph. Just listening to his voice tells you all you need to know about him - you can be sure he grew up as a rugby playing posh boy. His main wind-up value on Wednesday was his attempt to sound more intelligent than anyone else in the country by constantly referring to Barcelona's home ground as the Camp NOY, or the NOY Camp. Strangely, I didn't hear Cesc Fabregas (from Barcelona) call it that. I think I'll add him to the list of people to give genuine abuse to should I ever get the pleasure of seeing him in the flesh - Michael Parkinson (how the hell did he get a knighthood?) and Teddy Sheringham currently top that list.
I'll do a match preview for the Leyton Orient game late tomorrow night (and I mean late, so don't wait up).