Tuesday, September 23, 2008

In Cashley's Defense

The road to Chelsea is paved with good intentions

- St Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), with prescience so accurate it's scary. 

I'm in York at the moment. Saw the Minister and walked around the old city. It's quite pretty if you like all that Ye Olde England stuff. Like Bath, only medieval-like. I don't know. Too tired to care, really. Spent the night in Manchester listening to the dude below me snore his tonsils down his throat. 

Had a really nice afternoon in Manchester, though. Bright, sunny day lazing around Piccadilly Garden. Had a pint while watching the Chelsea vs Man Utd match. Laughed my head off at the reaction of the Man Utd supporters when Chelsea equalised. Well, laughed silently in my head, anyway - I'm not that brave. Bought a MacBook. Ate an orange. 

Guess I've got low standards when it comes Sunday afternoons. 

There's not much going on with the Arsenal. Bendtner's impressed. Eboue's showing us that Wenger really does Know. Song's cut his dreadlocks. Peter Hill-Wood escaped his minders and came out with another nonsensical comment. 

So I thought I'd say something about Cashley Cole. While in London, I read his book. And surprisingly, there was a perverse kind of logic to his actions. No one step was monstrous - it's only when you string it all together that you realise how reprehensible the whole affair was. 

To recount:

1. Cashley was in a position to command $80,000 a week in wages.
2. Cashley decided to ask for $60,000 a week, against the advice of his manager, his captain and probably most of the Arsenal first team. His reason was, ironically, that he wasn't "greedy" and that $60,000 was more than enough to play for the Arsenal. 
3. David Dein verbally agreed to $60,000 a week.
4. The board decided to counter with a $55,000 a week "final offer".
5. Things got out of control. 

There's a fair degree of farce to the whole situation. Ashley wanted to stay, and thought he was doing the honourable thing by asking for a lower amount. The board thought he was stupid and demanded an even smaller amount. Ashley didn't realise that "final offer" was just a negotiating tactic, and so he jumped over the fence to see what Chelsea were offering. 

The stupidity of that whole series of events was evident when Ashley Cole was given a one year extension at $74,000 a week. Why didn't the board have this largess one year before? 

The pragmatists amongst you would say that everything turned out well. Clichy's as good (or better than) Cole. We got Gallas in return and crippled Chelsea. And Cole's been exposed as a vain, shallow, stupid, greedy, arrogant man who gave up the chance of being a club idol for a few measly pounds. 

But the romantics amongst you (and you've got to be romantic to support Arsene Wenger) will regret that it ever came to this. Ashley Cole never intended things to pan out like this. He's still a gooner, you know, and he probably still watches the matches on TV. He could've been a living legend for us, you know. He would've been captain. He would've won trophies and led this current side to greater glory than Arsenal have ever known. 

But as St Bernie once said, the road to Chelsea is paved with good intentions. 

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