Saturday, 29 October 2011

Racism row: Political correctness gone mad.


First Suarez, now John Terry. Both accused of making racist remarks to black players during Premier League games. I just felt I had to put in my two cents on this one. Terry, apparently, called Anton Ferdinand a “f****** black c***” or something to that effect.

I would like to categorically state that I am a Chelsea fan, so maybe I could be biased. I also happen to be a black person who has lived with people of other races, and witnessed incidents of racism in one form or another.

But surely this is political correctness gone mad! We all know that in professional sports, players say and do all sorts of things to each other in a bid to get the psychological edge over their opponents. Vinnie Jones even wrote a book about it, where among other things, he said he used to tug at opponents’ armpit hair during set-piece situations. It’s nothing new.

Those of us who write articles and give opinions have time to stop and think about we say, we have time edit. I am sure if Terry had said “f****** c***”, no one would have a problem. If he had time to edit, he probably would have omitted the word “black”. Anton Ferdinand is black. Terry described him thus. Why all the fuss? If he had called him the “n-word”, that would be a problem because that word is historically derogative towards black people. If Peter Crouch called Aaron Lennon “a f****** little s***”, would that mean Crouch hates little people and he is a ‘size-ist’

The fact that such a big deal has been made about this is actually indicative of an insidious, hidden racism among the white public. Let us ask ourselves a question. If Anton had called Terry a “f****** white $**#”, would the public have made such a farce? I don’t think so. Basically the white public doesn’t even give black people a chance to be racist because you know, they are disadvantaged. It is why I get to write such an article, I am black. If a white person dared have such views, they would be lynched for being racist! It’s madness!

What about other disadvantaged footballers?  The little ones, the balding ones, the ones with disfigurements(Tevez), those with weird hairlines(Jolean Lescott), the ugly ones(Rooney). Should they all go running to the FA when they are described as such in a heated moment of gamesmanship? Give me a break. It’s time black people started getting treated like everyone else. When did the word “black” become such a taboo word? At this rate, the words; short, fat, bald, ugly and others should also be deemed derogatory. Then football will become a game where everyone is nice to each other, no trash talk and all that ugly business, and Vinnie Jones book will be rendered obsolete.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Derbies; and thoughts on City vs United

Sir Alex gave us another glittering example of British delusion this week when he reportedly said the Liverpool-Manchester Utd derby had become as big as Spain’s El Grande Classico. I have a lot of respect for Fergie so I am guessing he said this to give reporters a sound bite for a slow news day. Real and Barca have 13 European titles between them. They have, arguably, four of the world’s best five players between them. For the last 15 years, Zidane (Juventus), Kaka (Milan), Cannavaro (Juventus) and C. Ronaldo(Man Utd) are the only players who have won the World Footballer of the Year award while not playing for either of the Spanish giants. (Incidentally, they all subsequently moved Madrid a season or so after they won the award) See list here

English fans will argue that derbies aren’t about the players involved, but the passion of the fans, the hatred the clubs have for each other and so forth. Even if this argument was taken into account, anyone who witnessed the five Classicos last season would be mad to say they didn’t have passion, hatred, atmosphere and all other adjectives the English use to excuse their football deficiencies. A Madrid official made some doping allegations against Barca. Mourinho made some silly noises about a UEFA and UNICEF conspiracy. He poked Barcelona’s assistant coach in the eye! If that’s not hatred, then I don’t know what is.

 Anyway, at the end of the day, I’d think most people love derbies because of the drama, controversy and what have you, but most crucially because of the quality of football on display. Derbies tend to push teams to elevate their game. Everton could be fighting relegation but when they play Liverpool, they will look like they are vying for the title. Lest we forget derbies are more intense when the teams involved are in the same league in terms of ambition.This is why I don’t think I am alone in thinking Sir Alex now considers the derby versus City to be more important than the north western derby against Liverpool. (The team he selected to play ‘Pool last weekend tells us a lot) Derbies with Liverpool were important when they were contenders, now those with the Citizens are crucial because they are the ones challenging the throne. I can’t wait to see United’s team sheet this Sunday (I’m positive Jones won’t be the holding midfielder) as they face City in what could be a season defining game, particularly for the latter.

 Despite the manner in which they have swatted away opposition, City have played only two games against quality teams this season, and their credibility as ‘Big Boys’ has taken a hit in both. They were given a sound spanking by Bayern and held, at home, by Napoli in the Champion’s League. Maybe it was teething problems, but surely they should have seen off the group whipping boys Villarreal without having Kun Aguerro rescue them at the death. Sunday will be the first time they get a real test in the league this season so I dare say the pressure is on City, to show us that they not like the playground bully who swats his way through the smaller kids until he meets someone his size and cowers away.

It will be very interesting to see which line up Mancini opts for. History will suggest that despite the embarrassment of attacking gems at his disposal, he’ll be cautious and crowd the midfield with goons like Nigel De Jong. I would like to see him deploy his attacking troika of Nasri, David Silva and Sergio Aguerro to test United’s shaky defence. If Mancini doesn’t go negative, the key man for City would have to be David Silva. I have noticed that in all the matches City have struggled, the little Spaniard hasn’t been at his imperious, outrageously sumptuous best. He really struggled in the games against Bayern and Villarreal and City looked labored. When he’s on song, he is, for me, the best playmaker in the league.

The City wizard

United have a slight advantage going into this one. The obvious reason would be because they are at home but I think we also need to consider the psychological edge over their rivals. Since the arrival of Sheik Mansour, United seem like the only team that City have absolutely failed to get the better of. In a way, if City won, they would take that monkey off their backs, thereby going some way in entrenching themselves in the ‘Big Boys’ club.

As a neutral, I look forward to a draw, with a couple of goals. On a personal note, it would be nice if Silva and Nani scored. They are both in my fantasy team.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Of bad refereeing and fat Frank: Weekend review.

We all saw Jack Rodwell challenge, if it can be called that, on Luis Saurez. First of all, that buck-toothed cheat needs to be marooned in Accra for a few days so that he can pay for his crimes against Ghana; and Africa as a whole. The referee spoilt what was shaping up to be a good old derby by sending Rodwell off after 20 something minutes, no doubt to the delight of the impish Liverpool no.7.

We need technology now!

As usual, it leaves all football fans asking ourselves if there’s something that can be done about these officiating errors. All our clubs suffer from these injustices routinely, some more than others of course. What makes football so special, in the eyes of FIFA that they refuse to catch up to the times? We have decided as a society to trust machines with the most intimate aspects of our daily lives; yet we refuse to trust them to ensure fairness in the world’s most popular sport?

 I have a simple solution; the officials can make all other decisions but subject the following to replay technology; red cards, penalty shouts, goal line scrambles and disputed offside goals. There’s an argument that introducing replays would stop the flow of the game but let’s be honest; replays are generated within seconds of the incident and the decision would be relayed to the referee in an equally short time. Besides, in the aftermath of most controversial decisions, the flow of the game is still interrupted by players remonstrating with the officials.

Frank Lampard vs. Ryan Giggs.

Frank Lampard is back! He has been vindicated! Chelsea fans are creaming their pants after Frank Lampard’s hat-trick against Bolton yesterday. Apparently he is back to his free scoring best. Some people had some arguments, on Twitter, about who was the better of two of the EPL’s elder statesmen, Giggs and Lampard.
Firstly, I would like to state categorically that Lampard is not back. Yes, he scored a treble but come on, this was Bolton. They are propping up the league table, United put five past them (without reply, I may add), and they were the source of three of Arsenal’s seven points this season! Also, a person saying Lampard has lost it doesn’t mean he won’t score from time to time. It just means he can no longer do on a weekly basis, especially if he is up against quality opposition. He will make a good squad player this season given his wealth of experience but he can not be Chelsea’s go to man if they plan to make some noise.
As for comparisons with Giggs, I am sorry but it is tough to back Lamps. My comparisons have nothing to do with trophies, by the way, because I reckon if they had swapped teams at the very beginning, their trophy counts would be reversed as well. It just that, for me, Lampard has been too one dimension in his career to be compared to the man who started his career as a flying winger to a central midfielder, with almost similar efficiency. Lampard may be third on Chelsea’s all time scorer’s list, but Giggs has scored in every Premiership season and is the Champions League’s oldest scorer. The argument that clinches it for me is; in the prime of both their careers, if England had a chance to swap with Wales, Lamps for Giggsy, would they hesitate to do so? I am afraid they would grab the chance with two hands.

On the lighter side.

Wenger’s logic

Was it just me who noticed the foolishness of Wenger's argument that Van der Vaart should have been sent off yesterday? The Frenchman claims VDV should have seen yellow for using his hand to control the ball before scoring. Then he goes on say that the same player should have gotten a second yellow for celebrating with the fans, after he scored! WOW! So the ref should have carded Van der Vaart for handball, and then allowed the goal to stand so he could card him again for the celebration! WOW!

Drogba’s age.

God did Ivorian look old on Sunday! He genuinely looked older than AVB and Roberto diMatteo. I think it’s about time they gave him a full time job, as Lukaku’s mentor.