Football and footballers have changed a lot since I started watching the beautiful game as a young kid and in the majority these changes have been for the good. The launch of the Premiership and the subsequent race for every more bulging sacks of cash from broadcasters, like Sky, have brought exotic players into our clubs and with them they have brought a different outlook on what it means to be a professional footballer.
True, with them they brought the histrionics which are sadly now commonplace even in our school playgrounds but they also brought the understanding that to have a career as footballer requires a dedication and professional attitude that may have saved a talent like Paul Gascoigne earning a living by trying to get a laugh from the colour of somebody else’s skin. Yet, like so many others, I feel nostalgic about some values which seem to have disappeared from the modern game and this nostalgia has been heightened as I have been watching the opening games of this season.
One particular blight I have noticed, and which I would love to stamp out, is nowadays a centre half is just as likely as to be found rolling over in pretend agony as the South American wingers we used to laugh at as children. What would the likes of Bruce, Pallister, Adams, Vidic and of course our own Overson and Cranson make of the play acting from today’s supposedly rough, tough defenders?
This change of attitude is most notable in Gary Cahill’s whining at being mugged by Leroy Fer. Yes, it was a foul, and I am one of the most vocal when it comes to the standard of today’s referees, but the decision was made and the goal given so just get on with it. Stop whinging like a spoilt kid because I am sure there are a score of forwards out there who could lay claim to the referee missing a mugging by yourself.
However even though, for the moment, Cahill doesn’t make it into the Powderpuff Boys, his newly resigned teammate, David Luiz, who is awarded his place not just for the amount of times he is pushed off the ball but for the number of times he doesn’t even want to make the tackle in the first place. Watch Brazil’s humiliation by Germany and you will see on more than a couple of occasions Luiz looks up before deciding he doesn’t fancy making the contact. What would Vinnie say?
Luiz is joined in the Powderpuff Boys by another South American, this time an Argentinian, Nicolas Otamendi. Admittedly I have only watched three of the games he has played in this season but in those three matches he has seems to have spent more time rolling around on the floor than with a football at his feet. If you don’t believe me watch the clip below of Otamendi getting “head-butted” by Neymar a few years ago and ask yourself what would Vinnie say? 9.8 for artistic merit!
Over the remainder of the season I will be looking out for the third member of the Powderpuff Boys and I will let you know when I find him. In the meantime if you have any suggestions please let me know.