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All Things Footie | Wednesday, January 26 | Jordan

Re-ignition

My footballing fires have been waning recently. Mind on other things.

Then I heard about Rodney Marsh; a man I’ve never been a fan of, and who—while some think him irreverant, honest, and down to earth—I find really quite irritating and prone to talking utter nonsense. Regardless of my personal opinion of him, I think it’s beyond a joke that he should be sacked from Sky for telling a harmless joke.

I can’t honestly believe for a second that to anyone personally affected by the awful disaster in Indonesia, a mild mannered joke playing on the fact that ‘Toon Army’ sounds a little like ‘Tsunami’ caused anyone one iota of disress more than they were already feeling.

It may not have been a tasteful joke, it may not be that funny and—given that Mr Marsh surely knows as well as I do that if you’re on TV you have a responsibility to be mild mannered, politically correct, boring and a model human being—it was a pretty stupid thing to come out with; but it’s certainly not malicious, it’s certainly not mocking anyone (apart from maybe the Beckhams) and it’s not making light of anything. It’s a joke, that’s the point, it’s not serious. It reminded me of the recent sacking of Frank McLintock for his reference to the Agatha Christie novel ‘Ten Little Niggers’; which although could be construed as racist comment, taken in context was not in the slightest bit so (in this authors opinion).

I can cope with the World going PC mad, but not the World of football. Please. Put ‘gaffes’ like this next to the racist behaviour of tens of thousands of spectators in certain (supposedly civilised) European countries and then tell me we’re not making a fuss over nothing. Compare the size of the fine the Cameroon FA received for wearing an all-in-one kit at the African Nations tournament (£86,000 and the serious threat of a ban) to the fine receieved by the Spanish FA for the racist behaviour of their fans (£44,750 and a ‘please don’t do it again you naughty boys!’). Yet we can’t handle a mildly offensive joke? I’ll tell you who the really offensive joke is: Sepp Blatter.

I could ramble on about all the annoying popstars playing benefit gigs trying to raise their profile and sell a few more albums whilst conveniently making themselves feel better for raising a tiny percentage of the daily interest accrued by the third world debt and making it seem like a huge chunk of the world’s suffering is being made better by their pathetic attempt at making their shallow lives seem wholesome. But I won’t.

Back to football, not for the first time, I think Alex Ferguson has gone mad. Ahead of tonight’s Couldn’t-give-a-Carling Cup match between United and Chelsea:

“It’s the best two sides in the country - it’s sudden death.”

But is it really, Alex? think about it now … that’s better, the table doesn’t lie (and neither does last year’s). Arsenal and Chelsea fight for the league and are happy with nothing less, Liverpool and United fight for the cups and have to settle for either.

Talking of Liverpool, you have to admire the work Rafael Benitez has done there. He’s turned a very average work-a-day team into an effective, fluent unit. They’re still too reliant on one player, and while he’s a wonderful talent he still never seems to cut it against his big rivals. Gerrard v Keane (even now) and Keane always comes out on top. Gerrard v Lampard, and Lampard’s on top. Gerrard v Vieira (even a poor, out of sorts Vieira) and he still loses out. He’s a great player, but not a big game one. It’s the same reason he’s never really done it for Enlgand too (a few spectaular long range goals apart—which is one thing he does do better than ALL his rivals).

I also wonder who’s telling the truth in the Craig Bellamy saga. I think both Bellamy and Souness would lie through their teeth to be thought ‘in the right’, and I dislike them both equally. I wouldn’t touch a player with as many personal issues as Bellamy, and with even Shearer speaking out against him, you have to think that the Welshman has probably brought all of this on himself. A bit like Jermaine Pennant at Arsenal, who after being given a second chance by boss Arsène Wenger, has thrown it back in his face by getting caught speeding again (and wrapping a car around a lampost)—all while being banned from the road. I strongly suspect Highbury has seen the last of him.

While we’re on the subject of highbury—I dearly, dearly hope that a new weblog that’s appeared: Chris Wreh Writes is the real deal; though I strongly suspect it’s not, for anyone who remember’s George Weah’s cousin’s time at Highbury (a few Wolves fans surely…) it’s still very funny.

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