Why Wenger and Sparky make unlikely bedfellows
Arsene Wenger must have had a good chortle this week at Fulham’s boss raging against Stoke for dishing out career-threatening injuries.
Not because he’s finally found an ally in his fight against dirty football, but because that ally is Mark Hughes.
When Hughes managed Blackburn, Wenger complained he sent his players out to maim, famously accusing him of turning up with “a desire for violence.”
Cesc Fabregas claimed a Rovers player trod on his neck while he lay prone after a challenge. Robin van Persie, who was regularly on the end of potential career-threateners said: “Blackburn’s tactics were nothing to do with football. They just kicked.”
Naturally Hughes played the innocent, but no-one believed him. Especially the Fair Play League, which his Blackburn side finished bottom of, four years on the trot.
Now we learn Hughes hated that kind of football all along. Arsene knows eh?
I asked a Spurs-supporting mate why his ground became half-empty when Arsenal went two-up with 25 minutes to go in Tuesday’s Carling Cup tie.
And he gave the same answer an Arsenal fan gave when I asked why the Emirates always empties with ten minutes from time if their team look like losing.
“London transport’s a shocker. Sometimes it’s best to leave early.”
So how come, when it looks like Spurs or the Gunners are going to win, fans stay to the end? Do they float home then as opposed to taking the bus?
It’s the 2012 Olympics organisers I feel sorry for. If a Brit doesn’t look like winning the sprint with ten metres to go, will there be a mass walkout by Londoners just as Usain Bolt crosses the line to smash the world record?