The Premier League’s Top Ten Arseholes
This is an extract from the Surreal Football Season Preview ebook which will come out in August. Today is the final day to donate the project on Kickstarter, which is how we’re funding the formatting and some of the time we’ve spent on it - you will also get a copy of the book for your donation. Please go here http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/928168046/surreal-football-volume-1 and donate.
The Premier League may regularly be accused of lacking in technical quality, competitiveness, and value for supporters when compared to some of its competitors, but nobody can deny that when it comes to arseholes, England’s top tier leads the way in producing truly world class talent. Last year was particularly outstanding, and we present here our top 10 wallopers that lit up the 2011\12 season.
1. John Terry
There comes a time when stating the obvious becomes less a cliché and more of a tiresome bore, but if John Terry appears not to have done it, that’s only because there’s a super-injunction guarding it. Such is the case with hatred of John Terrence, who has gone far beyond ‘the man we love to hate’ and is approaching the sort of level of bogeyman that future children will be threatened with should they fail to stop doing That Sort Of Thing. Nonetheless, clichés are often clichés for a reason: though people write him off again and again, it only seems to make him determined to come back stronger than ever. Last season represented the pinnacle of not just his shithousery, but everyone else’s too. This is what the human spirit is truly capable of achieving. Chelsea’s Champions League win didn’t united the country, but mocking his egotistical celebrations did.
This, of course, was achieved in addition to maintaining his usual high levels of general weaponry, including helping to get a manager sacked, then taking advantage of the rather lax discipline of his successor to hurl uninvited advice and tactical instruction from the sidelines, a one-two that should, at this point, probably be named after him. It’s often said that certain footballers careers are Roy of the Rovers, boys-own stuff. That’s how Terry imagines his own career to have gone. Captain, Leader, Legend. Long live the king.
Then, of course, there’s that Special Chat at QPR.
2. Kenny Dalglish
If you’re in the middle of a race storm, do you defuse it? If you’re asked a thoroughly reasonable question, do you answer it? If you buy Jordan Henderson, Stuart Downing, Charlie Adam and Andy Carroll, do you admit your mistakes? If you’re Kenny Dalglish, you throw the curveball and pick a fight with anyone in your sight, and the cameras. Hailed as a saviour and football genius, he certainly acted like nobody else is capable of. It’s been done to death, but when Kenny Dalglish was tipped to bring back the seventies to Liverpool, not many people suggested it would be in race relations.
3. Luis Suarez
The non-apology apology is a neat trick that convinces nobody, but Luis Suarez adds a little zest and a great amount of commitment. Given Patrice Evra, the man racially abused, largely kept his counsel, you’d expect that the abuser might follow suit, and attempt to claw back a wee bit of dignity. Suarez, like his former manager, is too much of a maverick to go for that. Giving interviews to anybody who’ll listen - and most of us have stopped - hinting at a dark conspiracy that traduced his good name, preventing the truth of his innocence to out. His apology, when it came, was a superb example of unpleasantness, failing as it did to actually apologise to Evra. Conspiracies, victimhood and resentment, Luis Suarez has at least embraced the Liverpool Way.
4. Ashley Young
Originally this section was going to be about Frank Lampard, a player that I have nothing but genuine contempt for, but it came out as libellous, so I’ve done Ashley Young as respite. This is contempt by arbitrary allocation. The best kind.
Ashley Young wears earrings because he thinks he’s cool, and those gigantic headphones that people who think they’re cool also wear. It got worse this season because he thought he was cool whilst playing for Manchester United, which is close to a crime.
In my mind, it was in no way Ashley Young’s fault that Manchester United decided to sign him despite being precisely the kind of player that they did not need. Happily, other people, shameless people with no morals, have found things to dislike about him, other than the earrings and the headphones. 1. He’s disappeared in some big games. 2. That effing look-at-me-look-at-me-look-at-me celebration.
What a cunt.
5. Grant Holt
If this was done like F365’s England Ladder, chronicling the top 100 wallopers in the game, shifting their positions as each staked their claim to be the league’s best/worst, Grant Holt would’ve just gone through a stratospheric rise. Once a loveable throwback, a proper number 9, rising through the leagues and playing ever better. Only body fascists could dislike him. And then, in one swoop, the transfer request handed in and he also outed himself as a Tory. Having successfully pissed off the working classes, our man then branched out into that great middle-class playground, Twitter, even reaching sections entirely uninterested in football with his spectacular approach to grammar and spelling. You might be able to piss off one demographic, but this man has managed both.
6. Wayne Rooney
He might be an arsehole, but at least he’s playing for the love of the game, loyal to his boyhood club. Then came the transfer request.
He might be an arsehole, but at least he’s playing for the love of the game, a genuine flair player and world-class talent. Then came the dour reality.
He might be an arsehole, but at least he’s playing at the highest level, not for the money. Then came the other transfer request.
He might be an arsehole, but at least he’s not self-obsessed and vain. Then came the hair transplant.
He might be an arsehole, but at least he works himself into the ground in every game. Then came the laziness.
How many excuses before all you’re left with is an arsehole?
7. Robin Van Persie
The praise he received this year is both deserved and galling. He scored great and important goals that hauled a very, very iffy Arsenal to the Champions League in another Premier League season where being the least worst also-ran is now celebrated as a trophy. On the other hand, this is the first season ever where Robin Van Persie has managed the hardship of playing more than 30 league games. Initially you’d think that suggesting he’s finally bothered when he’s playing for a contract is cynical, but it becomes ever more accurate when he now fails to commit to a club that has paid wages throughout the injuries, and to the manager and fans who stood by him when he was a feckless wastrel every other season.
8. Jack Wilshere
Jack, let’s get down to brass tacks. You, as you’re probably aware, spent the entire of last season desperately trying to find new and inventive ways to reattach your detached foot, a search hobbled by the Arsenal medical team’s internecine divide over whether they should return to the theory of the four bodily humors, or push on with more modern chromotherapy methods.
Instead of becoming the pre-eminent irrational hate figure of the Premier League — your air of regal self-entitlement, disquietingly nationalist internet presence, dreadful tackling, and club of employment demanded it — you simply drifted from the collective consciousness, becoming England’s saviour while we waited. We need you, though. You, mainly because of your face, were supposed to be the release valve for football fans to turn to one another and mutter “Christ, I hate that prick”, and feel good about themselves. And you failed us all; we had to settle for Joe Hart. Talking of which…
9. Joe Hart
Eminem, Batman in the Tim Burton films, and MacPhisto. All examples of an alter ego even more annoying than the real person behind them, yet all not quite as annoying as Joe Hart’s. His alter ego, ‘The Hart Dog,’ is so annoying it might as well be a hashtag. A fake, surly American footballer, he exacerbates Joe Hart’s worst quality: the smugness. He might be a very impressive goalkeeper, but as we saw the World Cup, he’d rather be seen to be doing something good than actually doing something good. Put your tongue away, Joe.
10. Frank Lampard - we’ve put him in anyway.
Frank Lampard is a murderer with excessive self-regard. I don’t feel good about making either of these accusations, but the truth compels me to make them. Not the truth in a traditional sense, with facts and things, but an emotional truth: this is how I feel about Frank Lampard, and thus it is true.
Frank’s 2011/2012 season was almost entirely about enhancing his credentials as a murderer. He began it by saying nice things about Andres Villas-Boas, then spent the rest of it bad-mouthing his current, then former manager. He’d say things like “Maybe before Roberto Di Matteo came in we didn’t really believe in ourselves”. Things which marked him out as a back-stabbing coward, which essentially made him a murderer, in my head, remember.
Villas-Boas was right to drop him, because he was playing like a corpse. Consistent to the end, Frank kept up this appalling form right through the season, it was just that as Chelsea got good again people felt a bit bad about pointing out that he was still an ego-driven liability. He didn’t care, he never stopped being sure of himself, like a murderer would do. Like the murderer he is. He is a murderer.
This was all very fun, wasn’t it? We’ve all had a nice time. Now, if you want to see more of this, please donate to our project on Kickstarter http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/928168046/surreal-football-volume-1 - if you don’t want to see more, simply don’t donate.
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