Monday, February 26, 2007


A lot of things have been said and done. We won’t go into that now. It was a Premiership weekend. We expect mistakes to be made. We also had the League Cup final which made it like drinking Red Bull when you’ve already been on the espressos all week. Everything becomes unreal. Feet were raised. Tempers flared. Very little sleep was had. Except, of course, by John Terry, who decided to put his head down inside the penalty box during the second half. But we forgive him that too. We need to forgive everyone and move on.

In this new spirit of forgiveness, I’m willing to accept that I was wrong. And I say this without the fear that you’ll want me to cover your bets. We’re in a forgiving mood. So, I was wrong and I don’t want you ever take another tip I might give you in the future about our wonderful game. Only a day or so ago, I was telling you that Arsenal would win the League Cup. But by now, I’m sure you’ve calmed down. You’ll have had time to check yourself out of hospital, headache raging. It’s no worse than mine. Defeat is worse than caffeine. It’s worse than any drug I know. The effects last for weeks.

What can I say? I can’t be right all the time and Arsenal definitely had the beating of the champions. Their youngsters won something greater on the day: the knowledge they can challenge any team if only they can keep their cool and win a few lucky decisions. In the end it came down to one appeal for offside. But consider it again. Arsenal might have won. They should have won. Which is frightening. Frightening when Arsenal's second team can match the most expensive players in the most expensive league.

It’s doesn’t come as a surprise to me. I was wrong because I’m an idealist. I believe that the better football on the day will always win out. I remember watching Chelsea defeat Liverpool last year. On the day, Liverpool deserved to win. Yet Chelsea won through a sublime goal and Liverpool failed because they lacked even a competent striker. The parallel between politics and football is so evident. The best players, the better play, and the better tactics do not always bring success. The better campaign does not always lead to a win. I’m reminded of the last election when the Tories would have had the beating of the Labour Party if only they’d had a striker who could get the ball into an open goal. They’ve revamped their front line, now, though their choices were odd. Does anybody really think that David Davies was a weaker candidate than David Cameron? Yet at the same time, Gordon Brown looks like a shoe-in to take the reins of the Labour Party when better candidates surround him. Brown will probably become leaders, and Davies obviously remains a deputy.

I should learn not to gamble on neither football nor politics. They only leave me with regrets and headaches come Monday morning.


james higham said...

Pity you don't also cover the rugby.

guanoforks said...

I've never understood the appeal of rugby. I watch it and sometimes I understand it and sometimes I'm even excited by it. Only I don't understand the appeal of it. Where's the skill? Where's the neat footwork? And where's the midfielders making penetrating runs into the penalty box? And where are all the men with nicknames like 'Nobbler' and 'Gnasher'?

Jeremy Jacobs said...

and where's the link to Margate FC?

Lobster Blogster said...

Never mind all this chitter-chatter, over at the PM's petition blog there's a petition to get Brian Clough a posthumous OBE!

Anonymous said...

There's also one to get Bob Paisley a knighthood. They're never going to happen.