Friday, September 10, 2010

van der Vaart is trash-talking Arsenal

"Arsenal have a great team also, a lot of great young players. But I think our squad is not worse than Arsenal's so I think we have a good chance to win against them. And not only win the game against them but also, over the whole season, we can aspire to beat them.”

- Rafael van der Vaart, dissing the Arsenal before he’s even played for Tottenham

The above is an example of a dumb footballer quote.

Somewhere in the nether-regions of cyberspace, there’s got to a website dedicated to stupid things said by footballers. A lot of footballers say a lot of stupid things. Actually, a lot of people say a lot of stupid things. It’s not surprising - if you stick a microphone in front of anyone, chances are you’ll catch a nugget of gold at least once a week. For every Barack Obama, there’s always a George W. Bush.

It makes me feel sorry for van der Vaart. Here’s a guy who’s played for Ajax, Hamburg and Real Madrid. He’s been dumped at Tottenham, and before he’s played a single game for them, he’s been pushed out in front of the media and told to make a disparaging remark about the Arsenal. He’s got no idea what he’s talking about. He’s probably heard a lot about the Arsenal from van Persie, and he knows that we’ve got a squad of highly promising youngsters. And he knows Tottenham wear white and... well, that’s probably it, actually.

So van der Vaart is pushed out in front of a media throng, eyes blinded by flash-photography, and made to tell the world that Tottenham are just as good as the Arsenal. I’m a bit angry about it, actually. van der Vaart is feeling a bit insecure about his place at the club, and he’s prompted by PR people that the best way to ingratiate himself with the Spuds is to diss the Arsenal. It’s a cynical exercise by the Spuds, and designed to exploit van der Vaart’s naiveness. It’s a remark designed to rally the troops, stir up the opposition (us), make the Spuds feel like big men... but the only long-term effect is that it’s going to make van der Vaart look a bit foolish in twelve months’ time.

Dissing the local rival is a time-honoured initiation for new players. But there are better ways to ingratiate yourself with fans. There are smarter ways, classier ways, and funnier ways. Two in recently memory involve Arsenal players dissing Tottenham: firstly, Arshavin saying “Pavlyuchenko is not my friend"; and secondly, Vela saying that he’s pleased for dos Santos for joining Tottenham, but that after he establishes himself, he should “then move on to a better team”.

Now, I’m not trying to say that Tottenham lack the intelligence and class of the Arsenal, but you know, if all the evidence points that way...

So on the 227th last day of my 20s, I did my tax, picked up my passport, and lost a little bit of my sanity. The GOMD flew out sometime in the morning, and she’s been on my mind the whole day. I keep seeing her face everywhere I go. I keep wishing I could’ve said something more. It reminds me of the Freedy Johnston song, Bad Reputation:

Suddenly I’m down in Harold’s Square
Looking in the crowd, your face is everywhere
Just turning around
Do you want me now?
Do you want me now?

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