Alas, ’tis that time of year again when thoughts invariably turn to the ‘new’ and stock is taken of the twelve months that played out hence – and we forthright bods at Soccerlens are no different.
As we yet again slide effortlessly over the cusp of a footballing decade and into 2011, we thought it high time to shame the contemptible (and laud the deserving – check out the ‘Biggest Winners’ list) who have piqued our disdain over the course of the last 525,948 minutes.
Anyway, on to more pressing matters. Soccerlens presents: The ‘Biggest Winners’ of 2010 (in no particular order)…
1. Wayne Rooney:
The wayward Manchester United striker has endured somewhat of an annus horribilis on the pitch, having contributed nothing to the cause of club nor country for something approaching nine months now and getting ill-advisedly stroppy in a bid to extort yet more swathes of money from the Old Trafford coffers – but it is his very public ‘private misdemeanours’ that have cemented Rooney’s place on the list.
His illicit, repeated extra-marital dalliances with a ‘woman of ill-repute’ have, according to FourFourTwo.com‘s footballing rich list, seen Rooney’s commercial value plummet by £12 million in the few months since his groin-fueled perfidies were revealed as his sponsors continue to ‘pull out’ (nudge nudge, wink wink).
FIFA are an organisation which rely heavily on self-preserving atavism, sub-glacial rates of progression, recurring bouts of glad-handing and bribery, self-instigated flattery, immoral coin-chasing, world class blame deflection…etc…etc, all traits that were fully exposed by the run-in to recent the World Cup voting ceremony in early December.
Will they reform? Will they buggery. I think you’ll find old Sepp likes things just the way they are.
Although it’s perfectly feasible that Liverpool may actually be eligible for inclusion on the ‘winners’ list for finally getting shot of rootin’-tootin’ scheisters Hicks and Gillett, an issue that cannot be circumvented is that the Reds made their worst start to a season since the mid-1950’s – playing some absolutely diabolical football in the process.
Yes, there may or may not have been extenuating circumstances (Christian Poulsen‘s nailed-on place in the first-string springs instantly to mind), but a third-round Carling Cup exit at the hands of League Two’s Northampton Town is not good – whichever way you choose to look at it.
4. Luis Suarez:
The toothsome Uruguayan quickly became the pantomime pariah of the World Cup when, in the final minute of his country’s quarter-final clash with Ghana, Suarez ‘single-handedly’ prevented Dominic Adiyiah from sending the Africans into the last four will a fingertip save.
Suarez was duly dismissed, but Asamoah Gyan failed to convert the resultant penalty, allowing La Celesti to triumph over a visibly frayed Black Stars outfit in the shoot-out – and, true to form, the Ajax man showed little in the way of remorse for his underhand actions:
“The ‘Hand of God’ now belongs to me. Mine is the real ‘Hand Of God’. I made the best save of the tournament. Sometimes in training, I play as a goalkeeper so it was worth it.”
5. Ear drums the world over:
Vuvuzelas filled South African stadiums with a kind of wretched, low-pitched tinnitus for going-on two months over the summer. Thank God, Allah, Buddha, Shiva, Ganesh and Robbie Fowler that the preventive measures taken by most clubs across Europe ensured they didn’t catch on anywhere within my earshot.
6. Sheikh Mansour:
The über-rich Man City owner has quite literally ended 2010 as football’s biggest loser, after the club posted annual financial losses of just over £121 million (up from £92.5 million the previous year) back in October.
City’s £125 million turnover was unsurprisingly exceeded by their wages alone, which amounted to a whopping £133 million – which I suppose would be hugely alarming news for anyone who didn’t have a bajillion pound personal fortune to fall back on.
7. Raymond Domenech et Les Bleus:
Under the glare of the global spotlight, Domenech’s side imploded in South Africa after striker Nicolas Anelka was jettisoned for branding his incompetent coach a ‘son of a whore’ during a half-time spat.
France’s World Cup debacle ended with a parliamentary enquiry, via strike action and a finger-pointing debriefing with president Nicolas Sarkozy though, despite reducing the the national side into a quivering globule of merde during his six years in charge, Domenech still saw fit to seek £2.5 million in compensation from the French Football Federation (FFF) after he was dismissed from his post mid-tournament.
The fact that Algeria were the best French team at the World Cup spoke volumes – Les Bleus were well and truly pathetique.
8. The ‘Terry gene’:
During the past twelve months, Chelsea captain John Terry has – amongst other things – seen various ‘gagging orders’ come and plenty of ‘super injuctions’ go, been breathalysed by police after running over and breaking a steward’s leg in his car,been found cheating on his wife of three years with former teammate Wayne Bridge‘s pregnant ex-girlfriend and been stripped of the England captaincy in favour of a man who merely beats part-time DJs to within an inch of their lives.
When you couple that with father Ted’s six-month suspended sentence for dealing cocaine to an undercover journalist, mother Sue’s caution for stealing a shopping-trolley full of flip-flops and dog food from Tesco and brother Paul’s alleged ‘involvement’ in the tragic suicide of Rushden and Diamonds ‘keeper Dale Roberts – it’s not too much of an overstatement to suggest that 2010 hasn’t been a particularly good year for the particular strand of DNA in question.
Perhaps a little harsh seeing as they have since been bled dry (thanks mainly to past mis-management), but Pompey did become the first Premier League side ever to enter administration at the beginning of the year – with the resultant point deduction eventually seeing them relegated to the second tier on April 9th.
10. Rafa Benitez:
Whilst still at Liverpool, Rafa whinged relentlessly about the money (or lack there of) that he had at his disposal. However, the portly Spaniard roundly fluffed the majority of his ‘Alonso’ money on Roma crock Alberto Aquilani – who went on to amass a smattering of appearances before being loaned back to Italy quicksmart.
The supposed lack of money was nothing more than an excuse, as his faltering record in the transfer market attests to – and his brand of ‘man management’ left many of Liverpool’s fringe players feeling largely unmotivated and completely alienated during his tenure.
True, owners Hicks and Gillett caused him a myriad of headaches, but Rafa has since moved on and is currently spreading the exact same sense of isolation within an Inter Milan squad that, under the fevered guidance of Jose Mourinho, conquered all comers last season.
That said, if an anchovy disappears into the sea mist before your very eyes, is it not the wise man that weaves baskets?