“Clutching” and “straws” springs to mind as the image of Carlos Tevez desperately googling ‘big eared television characters’ to find an excuse for his provocative celebration in the Carling Cup Semi-Final. I can’t say I believe his claims that he was paying tribute to ‘Top Giggio’, the star of an Italian children’s television programme. No, I have no doubt in my mind that Tevez was actually questioning the silence of the Manchester United fans or the comments of both Sir Alex Ferguson and Gary Neville, alarm bells ring regarding an important, whilst at the same time trivial part of the game.
Clearly neither Didier Drogba or Emmanuel Adebeyore were quite as ‘quick-thinking’ as Carlos Tevez regarding excuses for their celebrations, in the Champions League Semi-Final following Rafael Benitez’s comments prior to the game and against Arsenal in the league earlier this season respectively.
But this raises questions regarding the etiquette of celebration in general. Why are players prevented from taking off or lifting their shirts? (Why they would want to is irrelevant). In the same vein why are players denied the opportunity of celebrating with fans? The same people who pay their wages, the same people who dote their lives on these eleven men; I personally believe that if a footballer wishes to celebrate with the fans then why morally or legally should they be prevented from doing so?
But the fact of the matter is that the obsessive political correctness has engulfed football entirely. Managers, players and officials alike tip-toe around the metaphorical ‘thin-ice’ that is the current state of the game. Managers can’t voice their true opinions and referees are being denied the opportunity to comment on decisions that they may have knowingly got wrong.
Referring to my first point, if Carlos Tevez wished to respond to the comments of Neville and Ferguson through his actions on the pitch then where is the problem? I’d like to think I’m as pro fair-play and as sporting as anyone else, and maybe I’m making mountains out of molehills but it appears the passion is being squeezed out of the game, at least in the celebratory sense.
Elsewhere it appears that the wake of vultures of the Footballing world now soar over the tired, declining state of Portsmouth Football Club and have begun to peck away at the still-breathing carcass before there is nothing left to salvage. An ugly metaphor I know, but an applicable one nonetheless.
Just weeks ago seven million pounds of Portsmouth’s television rights income was funnelled straight past the coastal club and headed for the capital; right into the pockets of Chelsea, Tottenham and Watford, of whom they owed money for previous transfers.
Not too long afterwards the high court rejected a winding up appeal regarding a supposed overpriced tax bill. Overpriced by a whopping seven and a half million pounds. This is said to be a detrimental blow to their attempts at fighting the battle against administration and being the first club to fall prey to the current recession.
If this wasn’t bad enough Sol Campbell has decided to squeeze what is his out of Portsmouth before there is nothing left to be had. He is supposedly owed £1.7 million over image rights, and from his point of view, it seems a smart decision to make. Another few months, maybe even weeks and Portsmouth will have no money to give.
The powers that be at Udinese have clearly taken the same approach. Whilst there appeared to be no qualms regarding the arrival and departure of Sulley Muntari at Portsmouth, the Italian club have suddenly seen need to retrieve what they believe to be theirs from the sinking coastal club, before it inevitably goes under.
West Ham appeared to be in a similar situation until the recent take-over David Sullivan and David Gold, though the situation was never quite as dire. There are dark times on the horizon for Portsmouth Football Club, and only a matter of time will reveal to what extent of trouble they are in.