Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Lampard Lamped

At about 10pm last night, a million pairs of half-interested armchair football fans opened their eyes a little wider as it became apparent that Chelsea's millionaire golden boy, Frank Lampard was about to be whacked by a skinny Tottenham supporter. (Oops, I mean "so-called" supporter, because these people are not true fans blah blah).

Another tedious affair between glove-wearing nancy boys was about to be raised up into the level of unmissable television. You could see the Spurs lad wheel onto the pitch, his arms spread wide like an extra from Green Streeet. He was obviously too slight to cause any real damage and it appeared to be one of those "yoo-hoo look at me I'm on telly" moments. But at the last minute, he took a swing at our Frank, and down went the West End playboy in a crumpled heap.

"Oh dear", bemoaned Mottie. "Disgusting" said Frank. "Go on son, get in there", cried most of us, spilling our lager as we suddenly lurched towards the television.

The young thug was soon surrounded by a number of Chelsea players, blocking our view of the pummelling that his Henri Lloyd windcheater was surely taking under the cover of Didier Drogba's bare back. John Terry looked alert, on tiptoes, facing up to a second invader. To be fair to Terry, he looked calm, in the manner of a man used to petty brawling.

It was an interesting scenario. Footballers are notoriously scared to death of football fans. You only have to catch their eye on the street and they're off. Pat Heard once nearly fainted when I say next to him on a train.

Of course, fans have been attacked by sportsmen before now. First we had Cantona, and then last month, Ireland's Trevor Brennan dived into the terracing to whack a harmless looking Ulster chap who had criticised the quality of beer in his bar. And in both cases, only the authorities didn't shout "good on you". Even the media backed Brennan, who was rewarded with a lifetime ban which he trumped by retiring a day earlier than it was announced.

But footballers are not so easily provoked. They know full well that even the slightest rebuke to an aggressive, foul mouthed fan will turn that spectator into the most sensitive, litigious, pussycat that ever entered the ground. A few years ago, Millwall's goalkeeper Tony Warner flung his water bottle towards some fans who had been abusing him at the Canton End in Ninian Park. Within hours, the police were called and Warner was accused of second degree murder. "It was terrible" cried the indignant skinhead. "I feared for me life".

Things are not so straightforward in the Welsh Premier. I was at a match at Jenner Park watching the sadly missed Barry Town play against Carmarthen. A friend of mine from Barry spent most of the game abusing the Carmarthen centre-half, a large, shaven-headed veteran, whose legs had gone some time ago, seemingly replaced by tree trunks.

The defender was substituted with ten minutes left. It was a strange decision to say the least, as he was replaced by a 17 year old winger with acne and red boots. I swear to this day that our legend had requested the swap. No sooner was he off the field than he was pacing the stands looking for his tormentor. Luckily, my friend, who I'll call Brian because that's his name, had seen this coming. He gave one last mocking salute to the furious hulk, and sprinted through the exit gates, probably saving his life in the process.

1 comment:

Jet Set Matt said...

I think the fan was unlucky to misS with his shot, the occasion probably went to his head. It was also a shame because that smug tosser deserves taking down a peg or three.

While we're on the subject don't forget Gary Brabin. He attempted to 'ave it with the Rhyl fans, which is the correct term I believe.