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Anorak | Losing His Bottle

Losing His Bottle

by | 17th, September 2002

‘GOALKEEPERS often fancy that they can play a bit. And Fabien Barthez thinks he can play a bit more than that. Which creates a problem for the Frenchman.

”Okay, who else wants some?”

Are we to suppose that when he booted his drinks bottle towards the back of the net he meant it to snake its way through the webbing and smack a celebrating, baying Leeds United fan in the face? Just how skilful is the French No.1?

Police investigating the incident would do well to request a collection of Barthez moments from the Manchester United video store.

The sleuths would soon note that Barthez is given to moments of deft foot play and has even played outfield for his current club.

But the same videos will also show a few clangers, such as shooting the ball at Thierry Henry’s feet last season and forgetting that he can use his hands whenever Wes Brown is in his team.

But whether or not it is referred to the CPS might come down less to the player’s skill and more to the investigators’ allegiances.

Because ask yourself thing: were it Leeds ‘keeper Paul Robinson who had smacked the bottle at the back of his net in a fit of pique, would the struck fan have complained?

Or would he have glowed with pride as the blood filled his eyes, happy to have experienced first hand the legendary Robinson Rocket?

My feeling is something of the latter – as the home player goes and gives the injured fan his gloves and a hug. So Barthez’s misfortune is that his unlucky strike, or splendid finish, occurred at the home of the sworn enemy.

What self-respecting Leeds United supporter could pass up the chance to cause mental anguish to a Manchester United player?

The situation could only have improved for the Leeds fan had it been Rio Ferdinand who had stuck the bottle. Then we could be talking about considerable trauma, possibly fractured heads, whiplash and all manner of injury.

Rio would be shaking in his boots, expecting to hear the rap on the door that heralds the arrival of the Yorkshire debt collectors, Messers Woodgate and Bowyer.

Fans are given over to blind hatred, and how much more partial the view if seen though the eyes of their own blood.



Posted: 17th, September 2002 | In: Back pages Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink