Anorak News | Off Message

Off Message

by | 11th, September 2002

”’THIS FOR THE NEW-BORN KID.” Not one of the more offensive massages ever to have been displayed at a football ground but still enough to earn Thierry Henry a rap over the knuckles from the football authorities.

Henry addresses the spoilsports

The Mirror shows Henry celebrating his goal, the winner in Arsenal’s 2-1 victory over Manchester City last night, by showing is on-vest message, a reference to Texas singer Sharleen Spiteri’s new baby. All very showbiz, and not at all in keeping with the decorum one expects at a football ground – something Fifa, who have banned players from displaying messages on their shirts, are striving to maintain.

But Arsene Wenger is unimpressed. ”They seem to want to ban everything theses days,” says the Arsenal manager, ”but celebration is part of sport.” It is for the winners, and, perhaps, for people who scrawl ”THIS IS FOR SEPTEMBER 11th” on their chests.

Or, indeed, for the Luton fans who saw their side win 2-1 away at Watford and their fans engage in fisticuffs with the locals. In ”Yobs Rampage”, the Sun captions an action shot with ”hooligans give fan a kicking”, sensing the difference between the thugs in the replica shirts and the supporters in the same garb.

As it is, the picture of violence just looks like a ruck, and one about half as nasty as is often witnessed at Vicarage Road when Saracens rugby union side are at play. The one thing for certain is that football hooligans like a good fight nearly as much as football writers do.

But if sports fans want to see a real battle they should pull on their Comfi-Slax¬ô and settle in for this winter’s Ashes series. The Telegraph shows the team the selectors have picked to represent England down under.

The usual suspects are there – Hussain, Stewart, Caddick and all. And there’s Darren Gough, too, although Darren is sporting a huge bandage over the greater part of his right leg. And if you look really closely, you might just make out the message ”Property of NHS”. And that, as we can all agree, really is taking things too far.

Posted: 11th, September 2002 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink