WAVE OF JUBILATION
Despite being among the rank and file of the “celebration police”, pundits who frown upon what they view as footballers prone to ostentatious revelry in the wellbeing generated by a difficult job well done don’t actually have powers of arrest. It’s a shame, because the sight of a stoney-faced Jamie Carragher ordering Martin Ødegaard to lay down Stuart the Arsenal photographer’s camera before cuffing the Arsenal captain’s hands behind his back, reading his rights and leading him off to a cell to sleep off his obvious jubilation would have added to the general hilarity of an already amusing Arsenal win over Liverpool.
Having been part of a side that on at least one occasion reduced one of the world’s best goalkeepers and elegant, authoritative centre-halves to the status of epically hungover Sunday League cloggers, Ødegaard, his manager and the rest of his teammates were within their rights to celebrate a victory that will almost certainly be crucial to the outcome of the title race. Admittedly, only in so far as it will increase Manchester City’s margin of victory over Liverpool but crucial nonetheless. If buzzkills like Carragher, Gary Neville and Rio Ferdinand think Ødegaard and Mikel Arteta should keep the champagne corked until the title is won, they’ll almost certainly lose their minds when the duo turn up uninvited at the Etihad to help City celebrate their latest Premier League trophy-lift on 19 May.
“Just get down the tunnel, you’ve won a game, it’s three points,” bah-humbugged Carragher, as Ødegaard snapped Arsenal’s snapper while waving to fans applauding their team’s efforts from the stands. “You’ve been brilliant, you’re back in the title race; get down the tunnel. I’m serious, honestly.” When news of the former Liverpool’s player’s criticism was put to Arsenal’s captain afterwards, it was greeted with a smile. “I think everyone who loves football, who understands football … they know how much it means to win this game,” he said. “And if you’re not allowed to celebrate when you win a game, when are you allowed to celebrate? We’re happy with the win and we’ll stay humble. We keep working hard and we prepare for the next one but of course you have to be happy when you win.”
Carragher, whose own post-victory celebrations famously included the application of a cilice to each thigh followed by a bout of self-flagellation and a roll in some brambles, doubled down. “By all means enjoy it, but enjoy it by being disciplined,” he tweeted, over footage of the Norwegian giving it the full Mario Testino. His tweet, a quip which nodded to an infamous quote from Neil Warnock, was immediately seized upon by many social media users, including Neil Warnock.
“Love listening to your opinions Carra, but get your own catchphrase,” tweeted the 75-year-old, who has decided to pass the time between now and the opening night of his Are You With Me? tour at York Barbican Theatre by taking the manager’s job at Aberdeen. With Pittodrie just a short, 1,440-mile round trip from Warnock’s home in south-east Cornwall, the decision to take the job following last week’s dismissal of Barry Robson was a no-brainer for a man who has long stated he would like a gig in Scotland.
“Aberdeen is a big club with clear ambition and I’m hoping that during my time here the supporters will get behind the team and I can put a smile on their faces,” he said at his unveiling, while admitting that “at least 50%” of Dons fans don’t actually want him at their club. They might change their tune if Warnock can mastermind victory over the Pope’s O’Rangers in his first game at Ibrox on Tuesday night, a statement win that would prompt the kind of celebrations of which a certain Scouse pundit would almost certainly disapprove.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Climate change is a big and scary topic. If you are told you must save the world, you feel useless as an individual. You must break it down, tell them how they get impacted by pollution and plastics, with everyday things like shampoo and shower gel coming from fossil fuels. If you multiply people making a change by billions then you can make a big impact” – former Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini gets his chat on with John Brewin about why football needs to play its part in tackling the climate crisis.
I was surprised to discover at last night’s match against Leeds United that Bristol City no longer produce a matchday programme. My further research revealed that a further 12 clubs had abandoned them too. What next for football in the digital age? Online recipes for those pies and burgers no longer to be sold at stadiums? Online knitting patterns for club hats and scarves no longer available for sale in club stores?” – Mick Beeby.
Following up on Derek McGee‘s ‘bell-bottomed trousers’ shape of the league table (Friday’s letters), should we find one of (insert your pick of Birmingham, Chelsea, Everton, Ipswich, Man City, or Southend) at the very bottom, would that constitute ‘bell-bottom Blues’ (a tune made famous by another Derek)? Same applies for Bury Town should they find promotion to and subsequent relegation from the league” – Tony Christopher.
For some time I’ve been getting really annoyed with some commentators who aren’t actually carrying out the job description. Martin Tyler take a bow (he used to read out lists of meaningless statistics most of the time) and stand up Andy Hinchcliffe (he always describes exactly what players do wrong and then tells us exactly what they should have done). More recently it’s the repeated banal things they say, the worst of these is adding at the end of a sentence ‘he really is’ or some close derivative of that phrase. I think that originated with Glenn Hoddle, then Jamie Carragher took it on board but now Ally McCoist is taking it to extremes. In the Aston Villa v Newcastle match I counted 17 examples but then in the Liverpool v Chelsea game the next evening he excelled himself with 23 of them. That’s one every four minutes, know what I mean?” – Richard Page.
Kev McCready has introduced a Schrödinger’s cat of complexity into goal celebrations (Friday’s letters). If the only time certain players hit the target is when they are throwing darts, then they will never hit the (goal) target and so will never throw darts and will never hit the (darts) target. Are they both throwing and not throwing darts at the same time?” – Richard Hirst.
Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org. Today’s letter o’ the day winner is … Richard Hirst, who lands a copy of The Social One: why Jürgen Klopp was the perfect fit for Liverpool, published by Pitch Publishing. Visit their football book store here.
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