“Die die, Rooney Rooney, die!” sing the Everton fans whenever they face Wayne Rooney, their former hero. Rooney doesn’t stick his fingers up at them, swear at them, or respond in a negative way. Instead, he celebrates ecstatically when we score and kisses our badge. All a bit of harmless banter, with Rooney returning the stick the Everton fans dish out, but not in crude or vile ways. He’s taking the piss out of them, knowing that the sight of him showing allegiance to us, after his ‘Once a blue, always a blue’ t-shirt when he was a kid, will drive them bonkers. Should the fault lie with Rooney, or with the nutcase scousers who can’t be held accountable for their actions because a former player’s lips come in to contact with our crest? The answer is all too obvious.
Yet that bitter scouse bastard Phil Thompson claimed Rooney should have seen a straight red for his actions, showing sympathy to his blue counterparts.
For those of you who watched Spurs thrash Liverpool during the week, you will have seen Thompson’s post match commentary. He wanted to highlight how Liverpool were robbed after not being awarded a penalty. Replays showed the Spurs’ defender got a toe to the ball, but Thompson hilariously claimed ‘Yeh, there was contact on the ball… but I’ve seen them given!’ His word shouldn’t be taken as gospel, with his love for the bitters blinding him in to complete idiocy, but he wasn’t alone with his opinion of Rooney a few weeks earlier.
The Daily Mail claimed ‘he was subdued and eventually withdrawn in semi-disgrace to howls of derision shortly after provoking his former fans by kissing the badge of his current club.’
The Guardian referred to his ‘lack of discipline’. The Mirror called it ‘mindless badge-kissing’ and insisted ‘he is 23 now and old enough not to act in such an immature way.’
When Rooney returned to Goodison Park for the first team since signing for United, coins, a mobile and a bottle were thrown on to the pitch by the irate home support. This seemed to pass people by, seemingly quite acceptable behaviour from a set of fans confronted with their ‘Judas’.
Yet when Didier Drogba reacts to abuse from Burnley fans by sticking his finger up at them and lobbing a coin in to the crowd, he’s not the bad guy at all.
“I have met Didier Drogba and he is a terrific guy,” said Harry Redknapp. “I’m sure it’s the kind of thing that when he woke the next morning he would have deeply regretted it. Fans should not be throwing coins in the first place. A linesman got badly cut when he was hit by a coin up at Villa and it made a real mess of his head. He could have lost an eye.”
What about the innocent person in the crowd who Drogba threw the coin at? Could he or she not have lost an eye too? But that’s alright, because some yob amongst the thousands of Burnley fans threw one first, so they all deserve to have shit chucked at them, right?
“People also have got to stop throwing things on the pitch,” said Lampard. “I was around Didier at the time and I don’t know how many coins there were around. We’ve seen referees getting hit, too, so I think people have to take responsibility as a group. Didier has to take responsibility as an individual. I hope he doesn’t get banned, but it’s up to The FA, who are investigating it.”
Of course, if John Terry can rugby tackle an opponent and face no punishment whatsoever, not even a yellow card, then why should Drogba be punished for this?
Even Wenger is at it, painting a picture of a player I cannot associate with Drogba, showing understanding as to why the player behaved in the way he did.
“He will be punished but he is a fair player,” said Wenger. “People who insult from the stands or throw things are not punished. They need to be isolated because they can injure people on the pitch. Drogba has been targeted many times and perhaps he’s more sensitive at the moment and that explains his response.”
Former rentboy, Tony Cascarino, wrote for The Times, claiming our attentions should be directed at the fans and away from Drogba.
All the talk is about how long Didier Drogba’s ban should be and that’s taking the focus away from the person who started the whole thing – the fan who threw the coin at him.
Drogba is not a popular player. He’s done and said some daft things, but he wasn’t trying to wind up the Burnley fans – he scored and in the adrenalin rush that followed he probably didn’t realise where he was celebrating. He’s got a big ego, so he’s not the kind of character to laugh off having something chucked at him, spoiling his moment of glory. He reacted because he felt insulted.
Drogba must be held accountable, but he’s not the main villain here. Stop fans abusing players and you stop the problem of players being pushed past breaking point.
I’m sure it will come as a shock that Ian Wright, the man who said it was alright for Steven Gerrard to dive, believes Drogba is being unfairly painted as the bad guy in this situation.
“Didier Drogba could have been blinded or even killed by the Burnley morons who pelted him with coins the other night,” he starts with, ignoring the obvious fact that, equally, Drogba could have ‘blinded or even killed’ someone in the crowd after he threw the coin back. He confirms his stupidity later on, when referring to an incident involving a fan and himself when playing against Oldham. “As I was walking down the tunnel this bloke ran up to me and spat in my face. Disgusting. And my immediate response was to spit back at him. The entire episode was captured on video. Yet the FA still charged me with misconduct and warned me about my future behaviour.” So, it’s disgusting for a fan to spit in Wright’s face, but acceptable for Wright to then spit in the fan’s face, and should go unpunished by the FA? What??
I wish people would make up their minds though because I’m very confused. I thought professional football players were supposed to be role models, paid hundreds of thousands of pounds a week to behave in a way that sets an example to other people. Gary Neville was a very naughty boy for celebrating in front of the Liverpool fans, who’d been chanting about him shagging him mum and singing their usual Munich songs all game. He was inciting them, not by sticking up his finger or behaving in a similarly disgusting manner, rather by proudly displaying the badge of his beloved team. However, this was in the direction of mere football fans, not expected to be held accountable for what they do. The responsibility is on the footballers.
Rooney is an idol to kids all over the country, he should behave in a mature and responsible way. Kissing the badge of his current club, where he has won two league titles and European Cup by the age of 22, is terribly petulant and unnecessary. The fact the FA had to confirm that no action would be taken over Rooney for kissing our badge only indicates what a fuss had been made. Afterall, how often do the FA have to release statements assuring people that nothing will be done over a certain incident in a game, whether it be a supposed red card challenge or altercation between players? Rarely, if ever. However, as the Everton fans sung about him dying, he didn’t respond by swearing at them or behaving in a similarly disgusting manner, rather by kissing the badge of his team.
Yet Didier Drogba sticks his finger up at opposing fans, a crowd containing children and innocent bystanders, and throws a coin at them indiscriminately, and the fans are the ones to blame? It’s ludicrous. Whilst of course not suggesting the fan was right to throw something on to the pitch, I can’t understand why Drogba is getting slaps on the back here. Had he taken some kid’s eye out, it would be a different story, however because that didn’t happen, we should offer up our sympathy to the odious twat. This is of course the same player who slapped Nemanja Vidic in the European Cup final, then revealed in his autobiography he wished he’d punched him!
As the Burnley fans reacted angrily to Drogba’s celebration, throwing a coin at him, he responded by sticking his finger up at them and behaving in a similarly disgusting manner, throwing the coin back at them.
So, what have we learnt? Responding to songs about your death by kissing the badge is bad. Blame the player, not the fans. Responding to songs about the deaths of 23 innocent people by holding up your badge is bad. Blame the player, not the fans. Responding to one fan throwing a coin at you by throwing that coin back aimlessly in to a crowd of innocent men, women a children is actually kind of alright. Blame the fans, not the player.
But of course, the treatment of players and clubs in the press in England is totally fair and equal, and as United fans we’re just too sensitive…