Still it was marginally better than writing another blog on the plague-house that is Chelsea Football Club.
So I won’t do that. Much. I mean, steps are being taken by the FA – arthritic, doddery ones I grant you but steps nonetheless – and Clattenburg will be condemned or castigated one way or another so I’m not quite sure why Ferguson and Wenger feel the need to stick their oars in. Habit, I guess.Clattenburg’s decisions in favour of United might mean Ferguson feels obliged to defend the bloke but it’d be lovely if he could keep his gob shut, just once. Wenger thinks such things should be dealt with in private, which is hard when even the partially-sighted can lip-read John Terry on their 44-inch TV screens.
But what did Clattenburg say exactly, that was so inappropriate? It’s easy to misinterpret things in the current febrile atmosphere. But I have it on no authority whatsoever that the conversation went like this:
CLATTENBURG: Come here, son. I’m going to have to book your for that!
OBI MIKEL: He dived, ref!CLATTENBURG: Golly!
MIKEL: What did you call me?CLATTENBURG: You cheeky monkey.
MIKEL: Oh it’s like that is it?CLATTENBURG: Look I let you off for one earlier so don’t be so niggardly about this one.
MIKEL: I’ll be talking to my lawyers. I know you’ve got a reputation for being outspoken but this is ridiculous!CLATTENBURG: I’m not afraid to call a spade a spade if that’s what you mean.
(Or maybe Clattenburg simply called Mikel a ‘donkey’ which is to be fair an unarguable fact.)I hate to seem facetious about all this, and if the official concerned has uttered such regrettable remarks then his career’s in for the early bath, but in the light of recent events at Chelsea it’s hard not to get the sense of a bit of yah-boo going on here. The convicted user of racist expletives is still their club captain after all.
The situation would’ve been helped of course if the ref’s conversations were a matter of public record. Then there would be no doubt. No doubt too about the amount of obscenities lobbed in the direction of the referee during 90 minutes like so many bolts of phlegm expectorated from the throat and nostrils of the average footballer these days.
For that would be the danger of permanently miking up a Clattenberg – it would be a red rag to every prurient bull who reckons that passionate committed sportsmen should be able to compete whilst retaining the vocabulary of Noel Fucking Coward.
I remember being a tad incensed when Wayne Rooney swore down the barrel of a television camera – maybe that’s a tad too provocative Wazza - but if the lad can’t have the odd f-worded chunter at a ref who’s just turned down a stonewall penalty then we really are stepping back into the world of Mary Whitehouse – and what an annoying twat she was.You get the same whinnying Nannies tut-tutting when Andy Murray effs n blinds after playing a particularly shit shot. So he should. The lad’s a brilliant tennis player and if it helps him win and doesn’t bother his opponent then, as Kim Sears no doubt puts it, ‘Fuck away, Andy, fuck away.’
Me, I can’t even play a crappity shot in a pool hall without upbraiding myself for being the most useless cunt ever to grasp a snooker cue. I just dread the idea of licentious do-right nobodies banging on about how these multi-millionaires can’t even put a sentence together without being a bit rude.The Premier League continues to entertain us royally, with or without the odd wanker. (It's nowt compared to the Captial One Cup of course! A 7-5, a 5-4 and Boro in the quarters! That's entertainment). Two perennial Premier League tales are unravelling at present of course.
First, Arsenal – why have the wheels come off? Yes, Arsene Wenger’s temporarily solid Gunners have once again retreated into the same toothless keep-ball kittens: pretty and pathetic all at the same time.
Santos has proved once again that Wenger signs left-backs with a blindfold and a pin, and there’s no pace to scare anyone up front.
Giroud is just a paler version of Chamakh with less stupid hair. If Wenger insists on playing a centre-forward who can’t score he might as well play Walcott who is at the very least scarily quick. Cazorla’s a joy but there’s no devil up front without you-know-who who's doing very well at you-know-where.
Second, Sunderland – why have the wheels stayed on. When his teams do well, O’Neill looks like this genius football geek. When it’s going badly he looks like some bewildered blinking mole. The Black Cats' second top scorer in the Premier League is Demba Ba.
Martin insists they’ve not had the breaks, that they deserve better, but most of us watch them and think that the team play with all the artistry and wit of eleven Lee Cattermoles. Such is their dip in form that you’d almost think Steve Bruce was back at the helm.
There are other predictable sub-plots to the season: Suarez’s tightrope walk between genius and joke; Balotelli’s tightrope walk between joke and jerk; and Roberto Martinez continuing to prove that his sleeves are an endless source of cheap and very gifted footballers (Aruna Kone being the latest example).
We have the Champions League to look forward to this week. I’m guessing Mancini will already have written his post-match excuses. There is a small joy in watching them suffer in Europe. It's like when your rich neighbours come back from their skiing trip in Chamonix and he's got his leg in plaster. HA!