Friday, February 26, 2010

Are England better off without Bridge?

"Sportsmail accepts that Bridge has had a tough time recently in his personal life, but he is an experienced professional footballer.... You do not choose whether to play for England, England chooses you. But whenever did weak men win World Cups? Maybe England are better off without him."

- Sportmail, from The Daily Mail, about Wayne Bridge's refusal to join the World Cup squad

Sportsmail made a good point. When did weak men win the World Cup? Maybe in 2005 with Italy, when Materazzi got head-butted in the chest by Zidane and fell down, whimpering like a baby. Or maybe in 2002, when Rivaldo had the ball thrown at him by a Turkish player, and he fell to the floor clutching his head, whimpering like a baby. Or maybe in 1998, when... I wasn't interested in football back then, but I'm sure something happened which resulted in a French player falling to the ground, whimpering like a baby.

So on the face of it, weak men DO win the World Cup, and they win it fairly regularly. As long as you stock your team with fragile players with a propensity to fall on the floor at the slightest touch, who play-act and show world-class displays of gamesmanship, you're in with a good chance. On that note, I think England have a good chance. Terry slips when taking a penalty, and he ends up crying. Gerrard dives like a hawk spotting a juicy rabbit. Rooney's too honest to dive, but he often jumps, miscues his position and falls over. I think England have enough weak men to pull off a World Cup victory.

What I don't think is healthy is the moral stand Bridge is taking. I don't understand it myself (I would've thought your ex would be fair game for your mates, especially if your mate is a philandering man-whore like John Terry), but Wayne Bridge has been slighted and has withdrawn from the World Cup team out of principle. He doesn't want to be tainted by associating with John Terry. He won't be swayed by money, fame, England caps or the lure of everlasting glory. The man has his principles, and one of them is to have nothing to do with John Terry. I think that's something a lot of us can emphasise with.

However, think what would happen this notion spread, and other members of the England squad withdrew out of principle. Say, Barry didn't like Gerrard's constant diving, and withdrew because of that. Or James didn't like Ferdinand's lame excuse for skipping a drug test, and withdrew. Or if Theo didn't like Ashley Cole's manwhorish ways, and left because of that. Pretty soon, England would be left with a bunch of degenerate, sex-obsessed, diving misanthropes, and the only players who would agree to play with them would be players like Joey Barton. Therefore, I think England could excuse Bridge from this World Cup squad, to quarantine the rest of the squad from his subversive, ethical stand.

Or if not, they could even do it out of compassion. It's difficult for me to watch John Terry on TV. I can't begin to imagine how difficult it would be to play with him on the same pitch, or train with him, or eat with him in the hotel, or hang around him in between football commitments. Wayne Bridge had to do that for a number of years while he was playing for Chelsea, so it's no wonder he's not eager for more companionship with Terry. Four(?) years of Terry is more than any sane man can bear.

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