HUMILITY, noun: “I raised my knee, which I maybe shouldn’t have done, in hindsight.”

Never judge a book by its cover. Never... Oh go on then.

One can’t help but feel for JT. The guy is Chelsea. Chelsea is the guy. JT = CFC. And that’s maths. Mr Chelsea. CH3L$3A: reads JT’s number plate.

So it comes with little surprise that an envoy comprising of the people’s David Cameron, former pleb Kate Middleton and passion’s Gary Neville has been sent to Geneva to represent ‘the football family’, with the aim of ensuring that JT will be allowed to leer and make crude gestures towards women in the director’s box at the Champions League final in Munich; in much the same way as they did for that other undeserving bastion of Britishness, Wazza. The respective crimes are in the same ball park, so they should be able to secure a rescinding of the red card, a pay rise and a knighthood using the same notes as last time. One could be forgiven for not realising that six other men, probably with families and houses and legs just like JT, will also miss the game in May. But not one of them is blessed enough to hold a British passport, and therefore probably isn’t really bothered anyway due to having a relative passion deficit.

His insistence on his being “not that type of player” was a tactical prod from JT’s overworked PR team, who knew that such an original and esoteric phrase was a sure fire way to propel their man into the nation’s press, and subsequently their hearts. That he can still deliver such a line in 2012 without arousing even the merest suspicion of irony goes some way to explaining just how primitive the mind we’re dealing with here really is. JT’s latest whoopsie also reopened the debate over what it means to wear The Armband after a hiatus of roughly seven seconds.

However, get your JT fix before it’s too late, for if there is a man who’s likely to step back from the footballing spotlight now that he’s of no tangible consequence to the actual football match, who won’t want to detract from the eleven players who do take to the field of play in the biggest game in club football, it is he.

But rest assured good Christians, your hours of servitude in the house of the Lord have all but paid off with the news that JT CAN COLLECT THE TROPHY IF CHELSEA WIN THE EUROPEAN CUP. No, you haven’t left the door open, for that gust of air was the collective sigh of humankind revelling in that most just and divine news. To be fair, JT did have the humility to admit that “it does look bad on the replay,” before informing the hitherto ignorant TV audience that the world was indeed round.

The timing could not have been more perfect. His PR machine can now reel out the stories about how devastated/ distraught/ upset/ sad/ miserable/ melancholy/ depressed/ down-in-the-dumps/ suicidal their man truly/ really/ honestly/ genuinely/ properly/ frankly/ sincerely is, creating an illusion of victimhood just in time for Sunday’s game against QPR, and why-make-such-a-big-deal-of-it?’s Anton Ferdinand.

Team Terry will be hoping the events of midweek (when he assaulted a man – easy to forget, I know) give him enough credit in the sympathy bank to counteract the negativity due with the resurfacing of the Ferdinand affair.

Credit to the FA for what, inevitably, is looking like an increasingly appalling decision. JT’s trial could have been done and dusted by now, but instead they chose to keep him out of prison – till he’d embarrassed the nation at an international tournament, again – where he could have spent some useful hours keeping in shape for Euro 2012 running coke for his father and charging Ken Clarke over the odds for tours of the facility, as opposed to decking foreigners. Although having said that, he probably could have found time for that too. In fact, it’s rather difficult to see how JT’s hobbies would be altered at all by incarceration.

The news has obviously had Germany on tenterhooks, and Bayern Munich’s illustrious hierarchy are reportedly concerned at the effect the news is going to have on their boys.

Mental images of JT’s mitts fondling/ valuing the trophy will imbue the evening with an air of pre-determinism that could scupper Bayern’s preparation. They’ll see that smile we’ve become so familiar to throwing up to over the years – you know, the one that betrays an act of the most debased humanity – as he holds aloft the trophy, which will plunge the usually focused and head-strong Teutonic side into a fatal existential doubt, an inescapable ‘what are we doing this for?’ despair, as Phillip Lahm and Franz Beckenbauer engage in Socratic dialogue over the issue of whether something with the potential to make John George Terry happy can actually be worth pursuing, in this or any other moral universe?

Pep Guardiola is the latest victim of what’s being referred to in medical circles as the ‘Terry Effect’. The urbane Catalan has opted to take a sabbatical from football (as I said, no passion, this foreign lot), which hasn’t stopped our intuitive media from jumping all over wilful speculation that he may be about to take the Chelsea job. That Guardiola would go to the club where the man who’s cost him his job is the most heralded employee has done much to reassure concerned readers that the British footballing press’ commitment to irony remains as strong as ever. Abramovich is reportedly willing to offer Guardiola ‘total control’, the news of which lead to JT apparently wetting himself.

As mentioned already, this weekend JT will face off with Anton Ferdinand, a man who has alleged to the point of a criminal trial that John racially abused him, during their teams’ match earlier this season. Such is the low level of morality around which the football world revolves, that Ferdinand is anticipating being booed at Stamford Bridge.

“There is a big rivalry between the two clubs anyway but, with everything that has happened, I know there will be some fans targeting me.” I am myself often propelled into doubt over what day of the week it is, so to be so convinced of receiving aggravation for being a supposed victim of racism, one can’t help but fear for Anton’s long-term well-being – so low is his opinion of the human race. Well, football supporters anyway.

I can’t quite resign myself to such a forlorn sense of inevitability quite yet. I mean surely, surely he won’t cop abuse. This is West London. Michael Ballack couldn’t afford to buy there. They’ve got that swanky Harrods. Enlightened folk with enlightened ideas etc. It’s hardly Russia, Texas or Liverpool, is it?

One can only speculate as to what remorseless act of buffoonery JT will perpetrate at full time. Naturally, the topless-with-armband-on state of undress is a given – to the manner born etc., perhaps accompanied by a few righteous English fist-pumps. A t-shirt, with “INNOCENT” emblazoned across the chest? (Ladbrokes – 3/1) An against the odds moonwalk (studs etc.) to MJ’s Black or White? (William Hill – 6/1) Parading his kids round the ground in a bid to emotionally blackmail the jury? (Paddy Power – Evs). Or just a long stare into the distance, the Sky camera faithfully catching his profile perfectly… We can but speculate, but when JT has his back to the wall, one has to expect the unexpected. Before thinking: yeah, I kind of expected that.

Which all leads to the conclusion that JT’s misdemeanours are now becoming so numerous, it’s becoming increasingly likely to mix them up.

I’m sure my memory will soon harbour tales of when JT slept with the mother of Jody Morris’s child, or when JT assaulted Frank Perroncel during his 50 grand tour round Epsom, or when JT and Wayne Bridge mocked Japanese tourists after the Fukushima earthquake, or when JT spat in a child’s face.

Perhaps this is his thinking: if I commit as many atrocities as possible, I’ll water each and every individual one down to the point where no one will remember anything concrete I ever did, just that I’m a bit of a bad egg. JT is non-fiction’s Alex DeLarge, appearing to have completely omitted that post-adolescent phase of maturing, condemned to occupying the mind of an errant teenager for the rest of his days.

There’s perverse logic at play here, Ryan Giggs being the converse case in point. A one crime (well…) fool who doesn’t have the bottle to plunge to further depths – and will forever be known for shagging his brother’s wife. Try pinning a crime on JT with anything approaching accuracy in 2020; it’ll be nye on impossible.

Fans seeking to unsettle the defender will spout myriad opinions, as each individual finds themselves taking issue with a different wrong, resulting in the home crowd’s attempt to speak with one voice will falling comically short. Silence will reverberate through the grounds at which JT is plying his trade, as supporters look at one another and their iPhones for common Terry-bating ground; to no avail. The only way they’ll be able to chant as one will be to sing in praise of this seemingly unsurpassable anti-hero, unified in horrified respect for the total and utter lack of contrition shown throughout his career.

He’s is now in a no win situation, with inactivity on the JT scandal front prompting no relief in the populace, rather suspicion as to how he’s managed to cover up his latest transgression, i.e. we’d rather know who he’s cuckolded than be left floating in a state of tense ignorance. And with that in mind, there’s a semblance of comfort in thinking that he’ll still be with us next season, doing it all again: putting in solid performances, undermining the new boss, demanding a wage increase, shagging left, right and centre, beating on, a boat against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.


In Arsene We Trust

Wha' it's all abaht innit

Well, that was horrible.

Here’s a brief look over the weekend’s awfulness; proof, if it were still needed, of a total lack of any sort of moral authority imposing a benevolent design upon our piddly little planet.

Liverpool carry out an unreasonable threat to not play on a day when something happened once. Facetious? I don’t really think so. If you disagree, I think you’ll come around if you’re bored enough to read to the end of this piece. To this non-Scouse sub-human scum the most fitting Hillsborough tribute imaginable would have been the city’s two clubs and supports convening in a well-natured FA Cup tie on the day the tragedy occured. As Alan Davies queried: do they refuse to play on the anniversary of Heysel too?

But by stating this arbitrary signal of intent, they got themselves in the papers again. Imagine if they’d just left it, and said they’d play on either day, whatever’s easiest for the FA, and all that? Don’t be silly. The result was the club got to draw further attention to it’s self-obsessed view of history, combined with the added bonus of being able to convey ‘affront’ at the reaction from a minor secti… no, every other sentient being on Earth at the club’s inherent self-absorption.

One dreads to think how the world would have turned out if Liverpool had never existed. Well for starters, it would have to find something that isn’t Steven Gerrard and the 1980s to revolve around. We’d all be sitting naked in a dim Gothic light, drinking from puddles. Would the Roman Empire have existed without Liverpool? The smart money says probably not.

Alan Davies spent £1000 to keep the mob from murdering his children and branding him a lifelong Enemy of Liverpool. It’s sad that the primary way he felt he could convey his apologies to Liverpool FC was through cash. He paid for forgiveness after expressing an opinion. I’d feel happier knowing I’d given fifty grand to Colonel Gaddaffi: at least a handful of people liked him.

Still, I’d be willing to bet that Davies has given more to that particular crusade than 99% of those who trade on the sense of victim hood and wrongdoing by virtue of accent and postcode. The donation was probably offered on the knee-jerk advice of a PR-obsessed agent, and is a depressing sign of the times. When people have access to information regarding your personal earnings, or failing that, baseless personal opinion of what you may earn, it seems impossible to convey any sense of credible sorrow without having a receipt to prove it. Plus, the offer will do nothing to dissuade the whining throng that their course of righteous indignation has been anything but vindicated.

Well, at leats now we can all move on, as the Justice Campaignhave accepted it in the good grace in which it was given, and now the issue can be put to be… oh dear. Dear, dear, dear. Put your head back in your tired, tired hands. It’s been rejected. Sanctimony, thy has a name, and it is Sheila Coleman:

“This is not something you can throw money at. If he is sincere about his apology, then we would rather he chose to educate himself as to why it is important to the people of this city that Liverpool do not play on that day.”

“Educate himself.” Christ. She actually said it. Education. Alan Davies needs educating. Fast. If the coalition is still in need of a flagship policy, a guarantor for victory, then one may have just serendipitously fallen into straight their lap. Something to unify the country, a belief that can truly bind us all together, rich/ poor, black/ white, United/ City: in it together.


But of course the problem is, if the city of Liverpool can’t convey any tangible reason for not wanting to play on the day in question, despite their incessant bleating, then it probably isn’t an issue of education – certainly not one involving a cognitive process at least, or we’d all share in the outrage. But we don’t.

And to prove that the magic of the Cup is well and truly dead, if indeed it ever existed, the club they knocked out was The People’s Club, the poor old Toffees, lovely responsible Everton, with their long term financial struggles and real authentic 100% football fan chairman Bill Kenwright. Bill doesn’t put a twatty initial in the midst of his moniker, does he? No, instead he trawls the charity shops all day, pawning the family silver and looking for the funding needed to give his beloved club a bigger ground, upon which they can achieve a more financially stable future.

Insult was added to injury in that the winning goal was scored by a 35 million pound ponytail, who for the past 12 months has been the emblem of financial profligacy and – Sian Massey running the touchline at Wolves notwithstanding – definitive of proof of the game having “gone mad.”

An Everton win? Well why not? They were in better form, after all. But that just wouldn’t be football, would it? Everton haven’t blown nearly enough money, or alienated nearly enough people to deserve a day out at Wembley.

LFC Chairman Tom Werner looked ahead to the final with the fervent relish usually reserved for annual Health and Safety seminars, muttering: “Wembley will be a lovely place to visit in May,” presumably thinking Wembley is some North West franchise of Kew Gardens. Werner also noted that “[Luis] Suárez and [Andy] Carroll’s goals were both brilliant,” which as far as misguided anaemic punditry goes is on par with Shearer.

In refusing to play on the Sunday, Liverpool effectively reduced Chelsea’s chances of beating Barcelona in the Champions League from one in a million to zero. However, this kick in the balls from the Anfield club should have inspired a deep empathy for the suffering club; yet there are a handful of teams who one wouldn’t feel sorry for in this predicament.Chelsea are emphatically one them, and the awful weekend continued apace, mercilessly quashing decency as it marched through time.

For kick off, their fans did the club’s nine year history proud by booing the memory of 96 people who needlessly lost their lives at a football match, chanting “Murderers!” Class.

Of course they were given the goal that wasn’t. Of course Jon Obi Mikel got away with kicking Scott Parker. Scott! Great Scott! Our captain Scott! One of ‘Arry’s honest-guv’nor-chimney-sweep-cheeky-chappies! To the inexpert eye, it does look like it might be a bit fun at Spurs, and jokes aside, I’d honestly give my left leg, right leg and offshore bank account to be a member of that gang.

Still, if the sight of Mikel only getting a yellow wasn’t enough to rile you up, the introduction to the scene of You Know Who strolling in – cracked rib n’ all – to be The Bigger Man really was the fucking limit. It must have taken all of Scott Parker’s mental faculties not to have just decked “JT” (urgh) there and then. Nothing is too shaming for that bloke. Whilst I couldn’t quite lip read what he was patronisingly whispering down to Parker, conjecture narrowed it down to either: “I’m going to fuck your career up so badly in Poland” or “150 grand a week. 150 grand a week. 150 grand a week,” etc etc.

But back to ‘Arry, and poor Tottenham. Like Everton, they do their best to approach football with a clear head and with fans’ long term interests in mind, refusing to be held to ransom by players over wages and spending extortionate amounts of money on twaddle. To think, all the club’s patient work undone by a typically big side favouring decision, which one assumes has reopened – after a recess of roughly one week – that rip your fucking hair out evens-itself-out-over-the-course-of-the-season discourse. It doesn’t. It just doesn’t.

It’s against this backdrop that you start to see what a genius Arsene Wenger truly is. No one hates Arsenal for anything other than geography, for which I’m personally prepared to forgive them. Wenger has done an astounding job in striking that equilibrium between expectation and disappointment over the past few years.

It’s as if he’s been conducting the Championship play-off dilemma in his head, i.e.: is it better to stay where you are, or risk Icarean descent? Long term, there can surely be nothing better than losing heroically at Wembley in the final; in a game of grit, determination and passion. You won’t get promoted and thus get shafted by high ticket prices, TV scheduling and John Terry. Most of your players will stay; not demand a pay rise that’s wholly incongruous with your marginally increased income; and the club won’t go into freefall after some misguided wally spends 6 million quid on giving proven flop Ade Akinbiyi the number nine shirt unironically.

Arsene has seen the moral damage that success and winning things does to people, and is doing a superb job of keeping that incurable illness, a “winning mentality”, at bay from the doors of The Emirates. Oh just sign the damned contract, Theo.

Meanwhile in the Premiership, Ashley Young dived to win a penalty against an institution for whom just a few months ago he was the most revered employee, and as punishment is going to collect a Premier League winners medal. Honestly, where do these tossers get off? To the rational observer, there can be no greater ignominy than having a gold medallion hung around your neck. It’s an irreversible proof that one’s personality is irrevocably tarnished, and you wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy. It’s little wonder Lionel Messi holds his hands to the Heavens after every goal, he’s clearly asking for forgiveness.

And yet football’s propensity to incense never ceases to further itself. Just as you’re thinking, in the heat of the moment: “Right, I’ve weighed it up, and on reflection, there can’t be a bigger twat in football than Ashley Young”, as if on cue, in yet another moment of self-parody, He appears.

“”I think he played for the penalty,” the knight offered in typically astute fashion.

“He has definitely taken a fall, it was a dramatic fall and he overdid it, but it’s a penalty definitely,” in what has to be the worst character defence since… well, since yesterday, when Anders Breivik claimed self-defence over the murder of 77 helpless people.

Why couldn’t he just say something along the lines of: “Sure he’s a twat, but at least he’s my twat,” and we can all just nod our heads in grudging agreement and move on.

But wait! Wigan Athletic have just beaten Arsenal. The mighty Arsenal. Who are in fact dreadful. Truly dreadful. Arsene weaves his magic yet again, a performance so compelling some of the commentators thought he was genuinely angry with the Wigan lot’s time wasting. But you and I know better. But still, football – bloody hell! Etc etc.

I leave you with an extract from John Aldridge’s piece in the Liverpool Echo, in response to the moronic Chelsea supporters.

“… when it comes to conducting ourselves with dignity and respect around a tragic occasion, Scousers can never be faulted.

We just ‘get’ it.

Maybe we could teach the rest of the country a thing or two, eh?”