What Were They Thinking? (Part I)

I’m calling this blog Part I because it’s a question I find myself asking on a regular basis when it comes to football, and as such, I think it might become a favourite topic of mine here. [ad#as2]

You find yourself asking it of players (other than money, what was Sol Campbell thinking going to Notts County?), managers (what was Arsene Wenger thinking taking Sol back to Arsenal?), owners (what was Hull’s chairman thinking getting rid of Phil Brown and replacing him with Iain Dowie?), international bodies (what were the F.A. thinking when they appointed Steve McClaren?) and even fans (Leeds, Forest, Millwall… seriously, what are you guys thinking?).

Just this past week alone, we’ve had the new owners at West Ham adding to Gianfranco Zola’s worries by saying things in public that would have been better kept behind closed doors. After six consecutive defeats, Zola gave the players three days off, went for a break in Sardinia and returned with the message that he won’t quit as manager, which begs the question, what is he thinking? He has players who won’t work, owners who won’t get behind him and fans booing at every opportunity. Save yourself Gianfranco. The rest of us love you.

And speaking of owners and fans booing, what on earth is going on at Hull? Only a decade ago, the Tigers were one defeat away from going out of the football league and facing the wilderness of the Conference, yet now they are complaining after a difficult second period with the big boys of the Premier League. Did they not see what happened to the likes of Charlton when you get ideas above your station?

Not only did the poor Phil Brown pay the price of his success, but the owners then turn to Dowie – a man who is now at his sixth club in four years and was sacked twice after just 15 games in charge both at Charlton and QPR. Seriously, what were they thinking and what on earth do they expect?

Then there’s the players. I’ve asked it many times of Didier Drogba (throwing a coin at the crowd, just for one?), Joey Barton (where do you start?), David James (poor guy), David Beckham (those tattoos, Rebecca Loos, the clothes, the hair, LA Galaxy?), Eric Cantona (the infamous kung-fu kick), Adebayor (running the length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the Arsenal fans?), Ashley Cole (honestly…?!?). The list goes on and on, and it will continue to go on and on, much to our amusement and frustration.

Even the managers were getting involved last week. Manchester City coach Roberto Mancini got his scarf in a muddle when he barged into counterpart David Moyes to get his ball back while the Everton manager was trying to make a substitution. The fact that there was only five minutes left and his team were trailing 2-0 made it even more farcical.

As a grumpy (young-ish) man, this is a column I’m going to enjoy writing. I’m already looking forward to Part II, and I know I won’t have long to wait for a topic to present itself.

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