Monthly Archives: October 2014

Footballers on drugs would be awesome

I thought it would be good to imagine what would happen if you gave a few players, past and present, some drugs.

 

I don’t mean boring drugs that enhance performance. I’m talking cocaine, weed, ecstasy, that sort of thing. The fun stuff.

 

How about Dimitar Berbatov on Speed? But only for the second half of games. You could watch him glide around the pitch occasionally making a beautiful and nuanced flick for 45 minutes. In the second half you’d get raging bull with a Velcro first touch and a sublime finish. It’d be magical.

 

Imagine John Terry on MDMA. None of the hateful, racist bile. None of the “Captain, Leader, Legend” stuff. Instead he’d be all about the team. “Nah boys, you earnt this. You did it. Franky, come here, I want you to have the armband today. Nah, you deserve it mate, you work your bollocks off and I know I sometime take the piss, but I really respect you for knowing your latin. Nah I’m being serious, I do, Wayne Bridge’s Mrs has some lovely latin drapes.”

 

I think every United fan has at some point or another wished they could give Rafael a quick tug on a blunt once he’s got his first yellow card, just to calm him the fuck down before he flies in and gets his second yellow card four minutes later. Of course, you’d need to get the right weed for the right player because the last thing you want is a paranoid right back stood on the goal line and playing everyone onside.

 

My final call is Emile Heskey on cocaine. Football is a confidence game, look at Diego Costa for Chelsea and compare him to Diego Costa for Spain. You can’t tell me that there’s any difference in quality of service, it quite simply comes down to him thinking he’s going to score with every chance for Chelsea and shitting his pants for Spain.

 

Emile Heskey had the odd game here and there when he was all fired up and he was fucking unplayable. He once bullied Nesta and Cannavaro. Most of the time though he was terrified of his own shadow. You could psyche him out in the tunnel by telling him his flies were undone. He’d spend the next 10 minutes working out whether it was a “made you look, made you stare” joke or if his flies really were undone. It was only when the mascot told him that you don’t have flies on shorts that he could start running about again, and even then he felt silly.

 

Emile Heskey on cocaine though. Fucking hell. Who’d want to mark him? If cocaine was allowed in football Emile Heskey would have won a Ballon d’Or.

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Tired? Pah, get down the mine.

On Sunday 12th October England beat Estonia 1-0 with Raheem Sterling coming from the bench having told Roy Hodgson he was tired.

Friday October 10th was World Mental Health Day.

The only reason I mention this is because two days after the World celebrated how much more aware it is of mental health and people suggested that we stop stigmatising, telling people to man up, get over it, cheer up or perk up, we then see a barage of critiscism aimed at a 19 year old kid who admitted to feeling tired.

Now the natural assumption has been that it’s been the intensity and frequency of games that’s done it.

But what if it’s not? What if actually the pressure of being 19 years old and carrying a football club as demented as Liverpool on some talented shoulders is weighing a little heavily on a man who until recently had Luis Suarez to carry the pressure and burder of responsibility. Last season Suarez scored more than a goal a game, Sturridge was firing them in for fun and Gerrard was getting roughly one penalty every three games. Goals from Sterling were a bonus. A wonderful, match winning at times bonus, but a bonus none the less. Liverpool were the wild cards and Sterling, the unpredictable young talent was the wild card of wild cards.

This year he’s the go to guy. For England he’s one of probably four players who actually looks like he could beat a man. The other three being Jack Wilshere, Ross Barkley and Andros Townsend. Again, there’s a pressure and an expectation.

At 19 I could barely deal with the pressure of turning up to work sober, if at all.

Wayne Rooney went into Euro 2004 with all that expectation and all that pressure and ended up stamping on Ricardo Carvalho’s man parts, getting himself sent off and with him, any chance of England winning. Who knows what might have happened if Rooney had felt better mentally prepared?

What if the penalty takers of Shearer’s squads were a bit more honest and a bit less stiff upper lip? “Actually boss, I don’t think I’ll be able to handle it as well, is anyone else feeling up for it?” David Batty didn’t look like a man who was going to score a penalty. He looked like a man who was prepared to do the brave thing and take one for the team.

This is of course all speculation, Sterling may just have felt physically tired, but it shows how far we still have to go if nobody is even considering the mental side of things, if all we can think to do is mock somebody for their honesty.