Mohammed gives Pulis food for thought and Goughie gets a mouthful

Every Monday afternoon, I take the kids with learning difficulties from the school I work at to a college, where they are taught about catering and cook various dishes. It’s a fantastic mix of extremely bright kids, and the somewhat less fortunate ones who find it amusing to squirt disinfectant spray in each others eyes. One of those happy-go-lucky culinary pilgrims is 14-year-old Mohammed, who spoke more sense on the Aaron Ramsey incident yesterday, than any other professionally paid pundit.
“I wonder wot wulda happened if Ryan Shawcross had broked his own leg?” he said. I followed up what Mo meant while keeping one eye on the large kitchen knife in his right hand. What he was getting at was, what if one of Stoke’s players had injured himself by putting in an over-the-top tackle as instructed by his manager? It was a lovely, innocent thought, that could only come from the basement of the brain of a nutter like Mo, and not an unsympathetic, inconsiderate, arrogant buffalo like Darren Gough.
This is Mohammed, who asks if the chocolate for his brownies are Halal, but whose consideration for his fellow man was up there with the actions of Glenn Whelan, and crossbars above the sickening antics of Talksport, which chose to put the Shawcross tackle into a poll alongside Liam Ridgewell today, to find out what one was worse.
As Ramsey stares into space in some sterile hospital ward worrying about his future, the low-level scabs of Adrian Durham and Gough exploit him by provoking Arsenal fans merely to boost ratings. Not just distasteful, but also a joke poll, because the station know it will only be appeased by listeners texting ‘Ridgewell’ in order to enrage Arsenal fans, whether they have seen the Birmingham defender’s tackle or not.
Funny how a 14-year-old boy has more moral sense. Mo was not only thinking about the consequences of what could happen to one of his own cherished Arsenal players, but also about the player who these red-faced managers ask to play hard. To be honest I don’t really care if Shawcross comes off worse from a reckless tackle – that’s where Mo is a better human than me. Still, he raises a good point: how much can Tony Pulis care about the safety of his own players if they are encouraged to charge head-on into tackles at their own risk? There has been no big self-inflicted injury yet, but is an interesting hypothesis.
Now, make Mohammed head of Sky Sports, or at least employ him to lead the post-match interviews with managers. How would Pulis have responded hit with such an angle as Mo’s? After a stunned silence, he would have declared his interests reside in the foremost well-being of his players, yet at least it would have tested how worthwhile the tactics to rough-up Arsenal really are.
Why was nobody pressing Pulis as to what his approach was for beating Arsenal? They are quick enough to ask Didier Drogba, and Eduardo if they dive, so why not question Pulis about what he said to Shawcross before the game? It wouldn’t have been unreasonable given one of the league’s brightest players was rushed to hospital, and at worst it would have at least prompted some genuine response from the Stoke manager. If that fails, then Mo could always spray some sanitizer in his face.
Forget my bitterness, I just write blogs and run around after kids with permanent runny noses all week. Men like Gough though, the ones with national radio time for the purpose of rational debate, have shown a real bias. Gough’s opinion could genuinely be that Shawcross’s tackle was mistimed, and that is OK. It could be as slanderous as possible so long as it is honestly held. The problem is, the list of critics who have formed a line behind Gough, do not even attempt to hide their predisposition.
Through the tone in his voice, Gough showed where his loyalty lies. I could hear his teeth grinding with amusement, leaving callers at hair-tearing point by his smart schoolboy quips. It was nearly as disgusting as the sadistic cheap-shots who mocked Ramsey as he left the pitch, probably the same pikeys wearing Stoke shirts who stood by the motorway and threw rocks at the Dagenham fan’s coach when they played Doncaster in the 2003 Conference play-off Final, at the Britannia Stadium.
All of this though could be Arsenal’s gunpowder to show savoury football is no pushover. Not only do the team have an incentive to win the league this season, but also a chance to right the wrongs of how it was lost under similar circumstances two years ago. Double ammo! The fans should feel a composite charge for the remainder of the season and Burnley this weekend now has an anticipation as if it were Manchester United coming to the Emirates. One lad who I know can’t wait is Mohammed.
Our knife-wielding future Rick Stein has helped highlight how a sense of concern sadly went out of the game this weekend, that for our fellow professionals and disregard for each other as football fans. The Ramsey incident really has drawn all supporters to the debate who mostly set up stall on one side or the other. And it was the medium of radio that put more emphasis on the spitefulness of our sport, when some toff spoke this morning about how well England and Ireland rugby fans got on at Twickenham over the weekend, suggesting football fans can’t emulate it.
I couldn’t listen to anymore, because I also realised that hating each other is definitely what makes football the most exciting sport. The nourishment and satisfaction of rubbing victory in the face of your friends. Possibilities of hearing the voices from television and radio you detest so dearly, turn to a pathetic whimper. Don’t tell our overseer of the people Mohammed though, he scares the daylights out of me and next week the class is making crčme brulee. That means using the blow-torch! Pulis, Collymoore, Brazil, Durham, Shawcross, and the rest of the Confederacy of Dunces, you’re more than welcome to attend.
07.15pm: just driving home and thought a bit more on the Talksport poll ….
Polls are usually about something that is the best, as in what was the best goal? Or what was the save of the season? Of course they can be any public inquiry into a general opinion but I feel Talksport have undone themselves once again by glorifying the horrible tackles from the weekends play. What they are saying here is: what was the best tackle to watch, revealing their sick fantasy with the tough-nut Brit. Also what it did was trivialise it and this is where we lost sight of things this weekend, just like we lost sight of John Terry’s actions. The real human issue isn’t about how his fling will effect the England team in a tournament that is still three months away, but how pathetically he treated what was supposed to be a mate.

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