Question: What’s the difference between Bob Crow and Roman Abramovich?
No – don’t leave yet, I haven’t finished. Alright, maybe I shouldn’t quit the day job.
Roman’s early departure from Villa Park on Sunday was for any number of reasons, depending on who you believe.
Not wanting to miss his helicopter take-off slot?
Avoiding that tricky Sunday night traffic jam on the M40 / M25 interchange?
Off to the dressing room for a group hug with the team?
Urgent meeting with his personal chef to discuss Jose’s polonium and chickpea surprise?
Maybe he just needed a piss? It takes all my willpower to hang on until the final whistle with four plus pints of Czech lager assaulting my bladder. Judging by the exodus from the Matthew Harding Upper towards the end of the second half, I’m not the only one.
But I’ll stick it out grimly, risking eventual incontinence in my advancing years just to hang in there until the bitter end. I don’t have a helicopter to catch and frankly, it’s a poor excuse for bolting just because your team is losing 2-0.
It’s like switching the ‘The Great Escape’ off before Steve McQueen attempts the final jump. You know he’ll never make it, but somewhere in your (deeply irrational) subconscious mind, there is always hope.
Not in Roman’s, obviously. And apparently our benefactor had “a face like thunder” upon departure.
The sight of Martin O’Neill dancing doesn’t do much for me either, but it looked like the Russian had the same vacantly happy Private Godfrey from Dad’s Army style expression he always wears.
(Come to think of it, he was always asking to be excused – maybe Roman’s face is that of a man who is never more than five minutes away from needing a urinal?)
I haven’t really bothered with the TV much since the second goal went in, so presumably I’ve missed the slo-mo montage of footage with Jose looking bewildered and Roman heading for the exit to the strains of Barbara Streisand wailing “…makes no difference how the tears are cried, it’s over…”
Either way, there are an awful lot of people who seem to know why he buggered off two minutes early. Quite remarkable considering the man has hardly opened his mouth in public since he arrived in the country.
Maybe he was genuinely hacked off with it all and stormed off in a big oligarch-esque sulk. I want another football club, mummy, this one doesn’t work properly. It must be frustrating when you have billions at your disposal and absolute power over all you survey to watch a bloke called Gabriel completely ruin your day out.
And in Birmingham too, just to add insult to injury. I’d have had someone thrown out of the helicopter to express my displeasure, Scarface style. And I’m a reasonable bloke with a few pre-natal breathing and relaxation exercises in my locker.
I wonder if we’ll see the Glaziers, or Messrs. Gillette and Hicks storming out in similar fashion should their expensively assembled teams fail to deliver? Storming out of the 26 bedroom ranch’s main TV room and into the pool area, maybe? You’d need to actually be in the ground first to leave early.
In Roman’s mind, Jose might have five games to sort whatever he may or may not want sorting, or another five years – other than the main protagonists, I doubt anyone else really has a clue what the outcome will be. And it might all change again if we lose to / draw with / thump the living daylights out of Blackburn a week on Saturday.
The hack-driven bunkum and speculation comes from a group of people who just can’t understand how the team in blue from SW6 aren’t screwing things up the way they used to. So the odd defeat is all they have to amuse themselves with nowadays.
It will probably last until such time as Steven Gerrard is forcibly held down by a desperate Steve McClaren and given a painkilling injection in his tootsies. Then it’ll be Rafa storming off in a huff to keep them in column inches.
The Russian with the penchant for an early getaway wants attacking football, we’re told. The transition from ruthless, efficient powerhouse to graceful, free-scoring (and pot-winning) machine was always likely to be tricky, and at times, painful. It may well involve a few more frustrating afternoons like the one up at Villa Park.
It doesn’t matter whether you invest cold, hard cash or warm, fluffy emotions in a football team, a defeat is a defeat and it always hurts. But don’t walk away before the end – you might just miss all the fun.
Alright, where are you going? No, come back, I haven’t finished yet…