Sunday, 31 January 2010

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

He does. I'm telling
you, he really does
look like a pterodactyl

Poor old Andy Murray. To add insult to injury, after losing his second successive Grand Slam final, he wept like a small child in front of millions. An uncontrollable overflow of emotion, you might say. Or was it? Seemed to me like Mr Murray has been taking acting lessons, performing with a the lump in the throat and a moist eye the fist-to-mouth, turn-from-the-mic-in-grief-stricken-humility move with decidedly more precision than any one of his many unforced errors this morning, or evening depending on your hemisphere. ‘I can cry like Roger, I just wish I could play like him.’ Oh come on, surely that was scripted, considering the most you normally get from the moody Scot is an eyes-to-the-floor monosyllabic grumble.

I felt most sorry for Sue Barker, who, with a beaming smile at the beginning of the coverage, looked every inch like she had been finally provided with her raison d’etre. Henman seemed pleased to be out of the house too, providing the kind of nuggets of wisdom we have become accustomed to from the most easily caricatured man in tennis. Apart from perhaps Boris Becker who, occupying the same sofa (incidentally in the MOTD studio hastily prepared with different coloured mood lighting) looks more and more like a pimp every time I see him.

I don’t want to take anything away from Federer, he was, is and always will be in a class above Murray. I was surprised to read that going into the match, Murray was ahead in their head to head standings, but when it mattered, Federer was sublime. The perfect sportsman? As good a candidate as I can think of, especially as it’s highly unlikely it will ever emerge that Roger has been knocking off his training partner’s wife, unlike some model sportsmen we could, and now can, name.

That brings me nicely onto the sorry case of JT. There’s a bizarre financial element to all this, to do with his extra-curricular sponsorship deals that plunges the whole affair (excuse the pun) deeper into ignominy. To conduct an affair with the wife of your friend and team mate is one thing, but to insist on its cover up primarily to protect your extra-curricular income, on top of the £150 odd thousand per week from Chelsea, is pretty rotten indeed. Strip him of the England armband? I don’t think so; most of the reprobates lining up to snatch it from him are hardly model citizens themselves. Rooney would rather pay to use other, more elderly armbands, while Ashley Cole would leave his armband at home while he took another one to a hotel for the night. Joe Cole would leave his at the bar whilst he went into the toilet to have a fight, and Gerrard would shove it down the DJ’s throat after his second successive song request had been ignored.

No, I would allow Terry to keep the captaincy and just let them all get on with it. As penance, a televised bare-knuckle cage fight between him and Wayne Bridge might suffice, though with sanctions on the sponsorship. We as a nation should rise above all this nonsense and do what the English are famous for, and what makes us proud of our great nation. At this Summer’s World Cup, we should all get behind him and the team, giving them our unwavering support. We can then quite justifiably lynch him when we crash out to Portugal in the quarter finals.

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