Sunday, 12 October 2008

Poor Ashley Cole

There seems to be an awful lot of fuss about the booing of Ashley Cole by some of the England fans during last night's win against Kazakhstan at Wembley. Sky Sports News is full of little else right now, reporting the comments by other players, journalists, managers, various pundits and the ever insightful views of the general public.

I'm going to be terribly non-committal here. I don't like Ashley but have never booed anyone at a football match and can't imagine ever doing so. Sure, I've shouted abuse at one or more of my team's players. It was probably the most fun thing about being a Fulham fan in the mid nineties. I've never booed though. But I can understand why people did at Ashley last night. Here are some reasons that people have come out with to explain why he was booed. They are all wrong:

- Because he made a mistake. This is wrong because loads of players make mistakes and are not booed.

- Because he plays for Chelsea. This is wrong because not every Chelsea player would have been booed after making the same mistake as Ashley. Can anyone imagine JT or Joe Cole getting booed after making a mistake like Ashley did? It wouldn't happen. Lampard? Hmmm, maybe...

- Because England fans are morons. This one has an ounce of truth in it because many England fans are morons. But even morons have a modus operandi. They don't just do things for the hell of it. They do things for a reason.

So why was Ashley booed? Here is some information that might help to explain:

- When I heard Jonathan (Barnett) repeat the figure of £55k, I nearly swerved off the road. “He is taking the piss, Jonathan!” I yelled down the phone. I was so incensed. I was trembling with anger. I couldn’t believe what I’d heard. I suppose it all started to fall apart for me from then on. I’d trusted Mr Dein to push the deal through. (Ashley on his miserly £55k per week contract offer from Arsenal)

- The deal he offered was a £10,000-a-week increase to £35,000. A hell of a lot of money. But, when taken in the context of football wages and his own estimated value of me of £20 million, and when placed next to those other Arsenal wages of between £80,000 and £100,000 a week, his offer was a p*ss-take. It was a slap in the face, not a pat on the back. (Ashley on some other contract offer)

- Cheryl Cole told friends today she does not know if her marriage can survive a series of new claims about her husband's affairs. The Girls Aloud singer is "shocked and upset" that a hairdresser who had a one-night stand with Ashley Cole was offered money to have an abortion. (Daily Mail, January 14th 2008, on Ashley's very popular and not at all racist or nasty wife)

- His disgraceful behaviour in the match against Spurs last season.

- And loads of other stuff that I can't think of right now.

The reaction of a small section of the Wembley crowd last night wasn't just aimed at a man who had made a mistake on a football pitch. It was a spontaneous collective outburst aimed as much at what Ashley represents as the man himself. Those who pay an awful lot to watch football matches are rarely treated with anything approaching respect yet they still keep on coming. Acutely aware that those men on the pitch live a quality of life unimaginable to them they demand certain standards, on the pitch and off it. Ashley doesn't meet those standards. Not content with having a dream job, a beautiful pop star wife and more money than he could hope to spend he still moans, still behaves like a spoilt child, still appears to believe that the world owes him something. He may as well be spitting on those of us who pay his wages. And that is why he was booed yesterday.

No comments: