Something For The Weekend (176)
The football dialectic continued over last weekend between the global wannabes and their less bloated and idealistically less f**ked-up, poor relations from the lower divisions. And, at least one of them, in the form of Barnsley, won the argument and seemed to prove that the old adage about it being just a game of eleven versus eleven, might still have some value.
Personally, I took the whole affair as a pleasant prolepsis to soothe my dread of things to come and even if the quality of the components of the actual game, were not quite up to the best collection of the Premiership's greatest hits, its hucksters might muster, it proved that when the fat f**ks go west for the wonga, the game will continue to function with hardly a hitch.
There was even a delightful portion of romantic symmetry about the Tykes winning at Anfield, as it was against the Red Scouse a decade ago, that Barnsley suffered their cruel tipping-point, when they had three players sent-off against Liverpool and their Premiership career went into a nosedive. It was a worthy win and might go a long way to healing the scars, and the sense of shame, which surely must arise whenever they are reminded that Geoff Horsfield was born in the town.
And I'm sure I heard Charlie Williams, chuckle in the night.
Villa interest might have lingered upon the Cardiff result, as ex-Villa Academy wunderkind Peter Whittingham, enjoyed a superb eye-catching performance, which saw the Bluebirds move to within a single game of a semi-final visit to Wembley. Cardiff City more than fulfils any definition of a club, what with Jimmy Floyd, Fowler and Sinclair, occupying the seen-it-done-it, big-time Charlie, forward-line, while presumably still playing for the sheer joy of it. And, too many for it to be a coincidence; the once-upon-a-time-nearly-made-it-BIG Villa/Blues contingent.
You can only imagine the banter between Darren Purse and the Finn-who-fluffed, one Peter Enckelman (on loan from Blackburn).
With such a gathering of old mates and thick-waisted creaky ex-super-stars, you can't help but think that clubs like Cardiff are fun places to be and that unlike the Spartan obsessives of the Premiership, where a squirt of ketchup (Spurs), is seen as a sign of the dissolute; players might think it a better place to be than the ignominy of the bench or the stiffs, in a higher division.
Football for fun - imagine that! Luke Moore, take note.
Talking of whom: is young Luke cup-tied? Now that would be some incentive to get his act together, if he could do the business and help West Brom get to Wembley. It was great to see Saint Cyrille in the crowd that saw Albion annihilate Coventry and I was astounded to find out that he was fifty the other week. Wow! Time moves on.
In the absence of anything thrilling to report from the other cup games I was left to mull over the disappointment which was Manc Red versus Arse Red. This was supposed to be King Kong V. Godzilla but it turned out to be a letdown as Godzilla had turned up minus dentures and having failed to upset King Kong too much with some vigorous use of the gums, was left so desperate that kung-fu was the only recourse. And, as I'd only tuned in the hope of seeing United get an ass-whipping, I was more than a little disappointed.
If, after the last few weeks, I needed to be reminded that it is now the sponsors who call the shots, then there was plenty of evidence here, as the Rooney brand was instantly promoted to match-winner and the antidote to world hunger, universal peace and global-warming. Having stayed awake through most of the game, this seemed a little unfair on the likes of Anderson and Fletcher, who both had stand-out games. I've nothing against Wayne but the constant calls to worship from the minarets of mammon, tends to get on my nerves. Its not as though I deny the mighty Swoosh its due or deny that Rooney looks better in his Nikes than Fletcher (more easily associated with arrows than swooshes) but it just gets a bit wearing on the old thre'p'nnys.
Rooney did a fair job of trying to impress the watching Capello but despite his frustrating habit of always going for the spectacular, I wouldn't dare criticise England's great white hope. He's obviously a lovely bloke and his casual willingness to hand over half his fortune, come the summer, with a couple of whispered 'I do's', is an act of generosity, worthy of any philanthropist. To enter into such a one-sided relationship, where his partner in the crime of 'lerv', can walk away whenever she wants, while his contractual uxorious commitment, is a legally enforced lifetime financial obligation, takes more honour and heroism, than you'll usually find on a football field.
So, more tap-ins Mr Rooney, if you please, and welcome to the ranks of the pussy-whipped. May you be a fine example to us all.
Not as though being pussy-whipped is so bad, and there is a lot to be said for the benefits of gelding - takes you out of trouble's way and into the garden shed, mostly. And, you only have to look at Gazza and conclude that there's a man who could usefully do with some remedial pussy-whipping. Even if, in his case, a dominatrix, complete with whip and electrodes, might be required, to subdue his aberrant and self-destructive ways.
Most punters, are so well adapted to a life of dire ordinariness, they have no idea how miserable their existence looks from the outside, until they see just how difficult those who have enjoyed the status of star, have in adapting to such a come-down. Gazza like the rest ( Paul? Stan?), is obviously still waiting for his moment of satori. Its bad enough with furniture but imagine how difficult it must be to build a dull ordinary life from a flat-pack self-assembly kit: the instructions are always rubbish.
'Align current circumstances (1a), with future expectations (2b) using bolt-hole (1x). Apply liberal quantities of acceptance (sachet 1) and leave to set, in the warm glow of sensible friends and wise mentors. When self-assembly is stable it is ready for use - maintain with soft-soap (sachet 2) and avoid exposure to alcohol'
Those glory days - you just have to let them go.