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All Things Footie | Thursday, December 16 | Jordan

(Not) in sickness and in health

2nd December to 16th December = me very ill. But I’m better now, so you get to hear me roar.

Harry Redknapp. Great bloke, slightly dodgy with regards to his rather unorthadox financial dealings, but a genuine football man who works hard and gets results (for the most part). It’s a very shrewd move of Southampton’s to get hold of him, and there’s no way on Earth he’s showing any disrecpect or disdain to Pompey fans. Milan Mandaric is one of those chairman who brings both the beginning and the end of a football club; a character who breathes new life into a stale old beast and gets it back on it’s feet. Hires a great manager, but gets above his own station and starts appointing dodgy Croat fitness instructors as managers. Chelsea, are you listening?

Speaking of Chelsea, what a game on Sunday? Like Liverpool before them, they proved that if you have good players you can play football against Arsenal and still get a result. Frank Lampard, John Terry and Arjen Robben were magnificent, as were Sol Campbell, Cesc Fabregas, Thierry Henry and Robert Pires. It was a thrilling game, and a fair result, but I still think Chelsea have a big problem. Forwards. I’m fairly sure John Terry has outscored all of Chelsea’s forward line bar Gudjonsen, and Frank Lampard has probably outscored them all. Without a world class forward (which Chelsea don’t have) they won’t win the league, but under Mourinho they’ll give it a damn good try.

As for the free kick, Mr Cech, don’t make me laugh. Aside from the fact that Graham Poll is actually a Chelsea fan, he did nothing wrong whatsoever with regards to the free kick that Thierry Henry scored from. If you can’t be bothered checking the rules out, then just look at the reaction of Eidur Gudjonsen, the only man in the Chelsea line up who was paying attention. The Icelander clearly indicated to hi ‘keeper to get back over, fearing Henry would take it early as he was entitled to, and he was right. Cech looks like a plum, Chelsea look like plums: Jose, remove those sour grapes from your mouth.

I watched a BBC program the other night called “What Ron Said”, dealing with Mr Atkinson’s rather unecessary remark concerning that ‘f*cking lazy n*gger’ Marcel Desailly after Chelsea’s Champions League tie last season. At the beginning of the show, a small part of me had some sympathy for Ron; at least, it was willing to listen to his explanations. Heat of the moment, stupidity, a bad choice of word used as a personal attack rather than a racist one, I think it was open to more interpretation than the average brain-dead tabloid journalist gave it—particularly given Ron’s past actions in bringing through ‘the three degrees’ at West Brom in the 70s. You could tell from the opening narration by Adrian Chiles, that it wasn’t going to be that kind of show.

They took Ron to America and put him on a ‘right-wing’ radio show, where the phone in poll to ‘judge’ (you should have seen Big Ron’s face go purple when they used that word, unauthorised) him. Is Ron a racist? Rednecks phoned in and told Ron that he should be able to call african-americans n*ggers, after all, they called caucasians ‘whites’. Expecting Ron to distance himself from these inbreds was expecting too much however, and while he didn’t agree, he significantly didn’t disagree. Maybe taking Ron to see some students at an Alabama university would help. Nope, Ron seemed to insist on taking a defensive stance to everything, actually getting to the point where he was defending using ‘the’ word, and defending his sentiment.

The lowest ebb Ron reached in the program was in a museum of racist artefacts—from a tin of little n*gger liquorice drops (featuring a delightful cartoon of a black child being dragged away by an alligator), to Al Jolson masks. Upon asking the curator (a lecturer in race relations at Alabama state University) what was wrong with the assorted rubber masks with big lips, flat noses and sticky out ears (yes, asking) he couldn’t comprehend it. “If you told me that was a mask of Diana Ross, I’d believe you. You have Reagan and Bush masks don’t you?” “Yes, but those masks are styled on individual features, these masks are styled to general sterotypes of a race, they are racist.” Go on Ron, say it, them lot all look the same don’t they?

Not once did he use any one of a number of arguments that would have garnered at least a little sympathy from me, and perhaps others. Perhaps even worse than the mask incident was a flashback to a comment he made during the 1990 World Cup match between England and Cameroon, something I was hitherto unaware. After commenting that a Cameroon player was ‘absolutely brainless’, his co-commentator Brian Moore quickly stepped in ‘of course you mean no footballing brain, Ron?’ to avoid controversy. At half time, the studio mics were off and only overseas viewers heard the following conversation:

Ron: “Do you reckon I got away with that?”
Moore: “Probably”
Ron: “I’ll only get into trouble if his mother’s back home watching the game sitting up a tree.”

Even worse than the Marcel Desailly comment in my opinion. The truth is, sorry as I am to say it, that Big Ron may actually be a racist. Anyone who describes themselves as ‘not politically correct’ as though it’s some kind of badge to wear so that you can employ a few racial sterotypes, is a worry, and if he’s nothing else, Ron’s a worry.

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