Saturday, 15 September 2012

insults, injuries and a proper singsong

Good morning, QPR fans! For many of us, today brings the league fixture which is more eagerly anticipated than any other. So we offer a warm West London welcome to our dear friends from the dustbins of Crawley and Redhill and from the pricier parts of Richmond and Barnes. Here they come, swaggering along the Uxbridge Road. "E-D-EDL! E-D-EDL!" sing the Crawley boys. "There's only one Jason Marriner!" comes the cry from the Redhill mob. Then the Barnes brigade strike real fear into the hearts of the home supporters as they break into a rousing chorus of their own special song. "Caaaaaaaaaaarefree!! Wherever you may be! We are the famous CFC! Please sit down, my wife can't see! Loyal supporter since 2003!"

Harping on about old nonsense?
Singsongwise, the QPR side of the equation may run to the revival of some recent favourites and the invention of some new ditties. A popular number sung at last season's Stamford Bridge debacle, to the tune of Nel blu dipinto di blu, made the suggestion that Pensioners skipper John Terry "knees you in the back" and "hates you if you're black".

The latter barb, of course, relates to that unsavoury incident which occurred on the Loftus Road pitch during the season's earlier and fierier encounter. That the Rangers prevailed 1-0 that day is a fact that seems to have been overshadowed in the popular imagination by the long and dismal saga which has unfolded as a result of the incident. One day, perhaps, the fact that Terry uttered the words "fucking black cunt" on the field of play will be forgotten and this particular fixture will proceed without widespread references to that fact in the media and on the various online space where keyboard warriors do battle.

In the meantime, though, last season's nonsense will continue to cast a shadow over tomorrow's game. So, once again, we must endure speculation about whether the tedious, unnecessary and only recently contrived pre-match handshake ritual will proceed smoothly or prove to be some sort of flashpoint. At least this time we know that it will go ahead in some shape or form, the great football authorities having decided that it must. 

It is less certain, though, to what degree John Terry will be singled out for especially hostile treatment by the Loftus Road crowd. Online chatter suggests opinions are divided. Some Superhoops supporters are looking forward gleefully to another opportunity to express particular disdain for the opponents' skipper. Others take the view that it is time to forget last season's incidents and simply concentrate on the match itself.

Same old FA: always cheating
But it is easy to understand the feelings of those who do want to keeping picking at that John Terry-shaped scab, not least because the inept goons of the Football Association have allowed the stink to linger for so many months. Sure, it was not down to the FA that Terry's criminal trial was delayed until July, a full nine months after the Chelsea man's altercation with QPR centre-half Anton Ferdinand. No, if you're looking for someone to blame for slowing down the wheels of British justice in this case, look no further than Pensioners CEO Ron Gourlay, who breezily told the court that a trial during the season would hinder his team's chances of success. But why the delay between July's criminal trial and the FA's own hearing about Terry's abusive language? It seems farcical in the extreme for that procedure not to have already taken place. For that lapse of common sense (or common decency?), we can only look to the FA itself. Similarly, we must question the wisdom and decency of the decision to allow Terry to be selected for England duty while that FA investigation is pending. We can also question the wisdom and decency of the man who picks the England team. Roy Hodgson, surely previously considered by almost everyone to be a decent sort of chap, has rather blotted his copybook of late. It's bad enough that he selected the Chelsea defender for the recent tie in Moldova. But Hodgson's more egregious lapse of good judgement was to express the "hope" that the former England Captain would be "freed" of his pending FA charge. This is very bad form - a senior employee of an organisation speaking out about an unconcluded disciplinary procedure concerning someone in his charge. How can that not be taken as prejudicial to the case? 

The long delay in having Terry answer his FA charges stands in stark contrast to the swiftness with which Anton's older brother was dealt with over a matter closely related to this sorry saga. Rio Ferdinand had retweeted another person's now infamous "choc ice" description of Chelsea's Ashley Cole. For this offence, the Manchester United player was rapidly ordered to pay a £45,000 fine. In light of this, it seems impossible not to conclude that two miscreants have been treated very differently by the FA.

A cynic, therefore, would conclude that John Terry gets special treatment. Is that because, unlike Rio, he's still a contender for the England team and still a favourite of Roy Hodgson's? It could well be. After all, there is no reason to suppose that the FA is not run by incompetent and corrupt people. There is just too much evidence to the contrary. Take your pick from the Association's obvious share of the blame for the Hillsborough disaster, the criminal waste of money on a vastly overpriced national stadium and the revolving door hiring policy with regard to expensive and ineffective national team managers. 

Proud English lions? Yeah, right
That the FA seems to give John Terry special treatment made the Association look particularly stupid this week. Having sustained a knock in Chişinău, the Chelsea man was ruled out of contention for England's more challenging home tie against Ukraine. But guess what? He's fit enough to play at Loftus Road today! It's a miracle!

No it isn't. You don't have to be a dyed-in-the-wool conspiracy nut to see that the Pensioners skipper could have made himself available for the midweek Ukraine game and that he simply chose to shirk England duty in order to ensure he would be able to play for his club side. This gives lie to the spurious idea that Terry is a proud English patriot prepared to put his body on the line for England. Terry, then, has mugged off the Association which does him special favours.

The same goes for his Stamford Bridge team-mate Ashley Cole, who also failed to turn up at Wembley but who will, it seems, be on duty for his club today. So if you're looking to spread the blame for England's failure to beat Ukraine, do keep these two malingerers in mind. Further, should England fail to qualify for the World Cup, do remember to look back at this week's match and keep in mind which players ducked out of the game but still managed to put in a shift for Chelsea just days later.

The presence of these two dishonest men, of course, will make a hard match harder still for the home side today. After all, you'd much rather see our forward(s) running at David "Sidehow Bob" Luiz than the crafty old bastard in the no. 26 shirt; and while Ashley Cole may be a particularly horrible human specimen in so many ways, he does remain one of the world's better left-backs. But for some QPR fans, the presence of these two miscreants is not altogether a bad thing. This is certainly true for those who do want to focus their bile on particular players in the visiting side and who do not feel inclined to put the Anton-Terry incident behind them. But remember, folks, both clubs contesting today's tie have issued stern warnings about what is and what isn't acceptable when it comes to expressing one's feelings during the match. So, on the basis of its homophobic overtones, the following song (to the tune of Sloop John B) is not reasonable:

"You're John Terry's bitch, You're John Terry's bitch, Bend over Ashley, You're John Terry's bitch"

The reference here, of course, is to the perception that Cole's defence of Terry in that court case was a particularly craven piece of toadying. But forget it, right? This song does not fit the guidelines within which we must behave today so absolutely no one must sing it, OK?

More acceptable, perhaps, is another ditty (tune: Cwm Rhondda/Bread of Heaven) that relates to the Terry saga and the shocking idea that perhaps the Chelsea Captain really IS a racist:

"Does Nick Griffin? Does Nick Griffin? Does Nick Griffin know you're here?" 

One advantage of this song is that it can equally well be directed at Terry himself and at anyone in the School End who breaks out into a chorus of "Anton Ferdinand, You know what you are."

Long odds... but let's 'ave it
Anyway, what of the match itself? Well, the Rangers' hopes of victory are surely fairly slim and doubtless many QPR supporters would be delighted with a draw. Perhaps the presumed debut of Julio Cesar in goal  makes a positive outcome a bit more likely. Maybe that man Granero will build on his encouraging first outing in a Rangers shirt a couple of weeks ago. But have no doubt - our chaps have a real task on their hands today. The visitors have a galaxy of expensive talent, not least Eden Hazard, already a very popular choice for fantasy football managers everywhere. But maybe Hazard can be rattled. Think back to how Juan Mata refused to take corners at Loftus Road last season. These fancy footwork millionaire types? They don't like it up 'em. They do not like it up 'em. So everyone going along to W12 today is urged to do their duty and get behind the Rangers. Let's 'ave it.


1 comment:

  1. We shouldn't be at all surprised at Roy Hodgsons stance on John Terry. Roy, after all, played in South Africa during Apartheid despite the sporting boycott.