Anorak News | Fox Hunting

Fox Hunting

by | 5th, March 2004

‘IT’S not as if Leicester footballers are any good on the pitch, so you think they would manage to behave off it.

Leicester City sully the name of Fabrizio Ravanelli

But, whatever the outcome of the Spanish police’s inquiries into events at a La Manga hotel, the bad name of the Premiership has once again been dragged through the mire.

“Slip another image into the portfolio of shame,” writes James Lawton in the Independent – and it was already a bulging book before this latest incident.

Where is the sense of responsibility among hugely rewarded footballers, he asks. But where also is the rage – “rage that this most pampered generation of sportsmen should so repeatedly disfigure a national game that has heaped upon them wealth and celebrity to the point of financial collapse”?

“What do they [the fans] think now when they look up from their factory benches or office desks? Do they feel part of a football dream? Or perhaps more likely, the victims of fraud?”

Or are these the same kind of fans whose sense of perspective is so lacking that they send death threats to the manager and star player of their own team?

The Guardian says Liverpool’s Michael Owen has followed Gerard Houllier in admitting that he has received death threats, which he admits are becoming “part and parcel” of the modern game.

“To be honest, although it is unfair and awful, nothing surprises me any more,” the England striker said yesterday. “It shouldn’t happen and it is not acceptable but it is almost part of the game nowadays.”

Owen already knows the more sinister side of “the beautiful game” as his sister was the victim of an attempted kidnapping in January.

And so does Houllier, who turns up to the club’s Melwood training ground to read graffiti which says things like: “Hope you die of Aids, Houllier”.

Even what is supposed to be a celebration of the game on the pitch cannot pass without controversy.

Pele’s choice of the 125 greatest living footballers has, in the words of the Telegraph, opened up to ridicule the man widely regarded as the greatest ever player.

“While any list is bound to attract controversy,” it says, “the inclusion of his namesake Abedi Pele (Ghana), El Hadji Diouf (Senegal) and Hong Myung-Bo (South Korea) smacks of political correctness rather than sound football judgement.”

Certainly, one wonders how they rank ahead of Jairzinho, who in 1970 became the only player to have scored in every round of a World Cup, Gerson and Tostao.

Another list that appears on the back of the Independent is bound to raise a few eyebrows, not least in Manchester.

In a rating of the top 11 European clubs, Premiership champions Manchester United scrape in at the very bottom, while Chelsea lie in ninth position and Arsenal sit pretty in second.

The rankings are, of course, completely meaningless – but if they serve to enrage Sir Alex Ferguson they are not completely in vain.’

Posted: 5th, March 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink