Ref! On Moses and exhaustion

The candid thoughts of former Premier League referee Colin Preece, as recorded by our eavesdropping mole in the Duck and Peasant.

 Referee

Evening lads,

That’s about it domestically, then. No, she hasn’t kicked me out, Dave, very funny, I’m talking about the football. After the Cup Final, yes. Funny, isn’t it, you feel like you have to call it the FA Cup Final these days , whereas in the old days there was only one cup final and it was the football one at Wembley in May. Now they’re all over the place: other sports, women’s versions…

Anyway, it wasn’t a bad end to the season, particularly for the Chelsea-bashers who like to see them get beaten. They were all talking about how lethargic the Blues were and how great Arsenal were, but I don’t  know if lethargic is the word. They were exhausted because of the season they’ve had, and they didn’t actually need to win the cup because they already had the Premiership and a place in the Champions League next season.

They’ve been playing above themselves for nine months. Great players and great manager, but they still had to dig deep to get the job done, and the Cup Final was actually something they could have done without. I reckon Victor Moses’ performance summed it up. He’d been going like a one-armed paper-hanger all season, doing two jobs and charging around when really he’s an attacking midfielder, so the tackle he got booked for was just him saying he’d had enough and why did everyone keep having to have a go.

Then the dive in the box, same thing. I reckon he was quite glad to get sent off in the end. I don’t even think he’ll be so keen to do that job next season; we might have seen it all this time, he’s given everything he’s had.

Yes, Baz, seriously, I know you’re a bit anti-Chelsea yourself, but put yourself in their position. Liverpool bugging them for a few months and then Spurs took over. It’s like the rest of the league was doing a relay against them. People even started feeling sympathy for Man City, who I reckon are the least likeable club now.

Arsenal? Good for them. They’ve had a hard time and whether Wenger stays or goes, he’s got another cup to think about. And the club’s got the Europa League next time, which Man U and Chelsea have both shown is worth winning.

Cheers, Gary, I’ll have a blue cocktail. Blue Curacao and lemonade with a shot of vodka and a squeeze of lemon. No, Dave, it’s not a poof’s drink, just because it looks nice. You stick to your cloudy pints of ale but some of us have emerged from the swamp. The primeval swamp, Baz, where human life apparently came from. Nobody really knows, it’s just another unproven scientific question, like whether Messi or Ronaldo is better.

One thing that is for sure, though, is that we’ve had some good football this year. Spurs have been great and if they’d started like they finished they’d have won it. The point is, can they keep the team together and win something next year? Everybody wants Dele Alli. Walker’s off almost definitely. Lloris could be. Kane’s not going anywhere, but they’ve got to either keep the nucleus or build a new one around him. And Pochettino, yeah, Dave, if the manager goes, that could be the worst thing of all.

City have to rebuild, United have to breathe some life into their football, although Mourinho’s such a grinder that he won’t be bothered as long as they get results. Liverpool have to hang onto Coutinho and bring in some real big guns, but for the last I don’t know how many years they’ve been buying people you’ve never heard of even if they’re quite expensive. Same with Arsenal.

So yes, Baz, that’s it for the summer apart from the Champions League final next week, but there’s no English interest in it, so I don’t even know if I’ll watch. There’s cricket now, gents, and we’re quite good at that now. Pity the Spanish and Italians and Bayern Munich don’t take that up. We’d murder them – for a few years, at least.

 

 

 

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Is God a Liverpool fan?

miracle

The whole concept of faith involves belief in things that are unproven. While the chief argument of the atheist is that we can’t prove God exists, the counter argument is that they can’t prove he doesn’t.

In the modern age, educated people are more likely to believe in ghosts than in God (and incidentally, who has ever been killed or wounded by a ghost? If they do exist, why be afraid of them?)

The Holy Spirit used to be known as the Holy Ghost, but the word ‘spirit’ doesn’t have the same spooky connotations. Some people profess to be ‘spiritual’ but not religious, although because there is no definition of the word that they would all agree on, it may mean one thing to one and something different to another.

For the purpose of this little study, let’s say that people who call themselves ‘spiritual’ believe in a higher power – something or somebody not in human form but capable of influencing what happens in the human realm. They may or may not believe in ‘spiritualism’ as in the ability to communicate with the dead, as practised by someone known as a ‘medium’ but I don’t think that is what most really mean.

I think people who consider themselves spiritual are closer than they would like to think to believing in God, but just can’t bring themselves to do it, because it’s too complex and involves, as they see it, too many rules and regulations, dos and don’ts.

They will tell you that you don’t have to believe in God to be a good person: one who helps others and doesn’t knowingly do any damage in life – and in many cases I think they’re right.

I can only speak for Christians, and even then, only from my own experience. So not all Christians are good people, and not all non-Christians are good people – if we could all agree on what constitutes a good person. We do what we can within the limitations of our own flaws and weaknesses, and we try to fix our flaws and strengthen where there is weakness.

Does a non-religious person have a definition of the word “miracle”? The Bible contains lots of stories involving miracles, all powered by God, through a chosen few including, notably, Jesus. But what is a miracle? It’s something that happens that seemed highly unlikely but which we were desperate for. We couldn’t make it happen. So even non-religious people will “pray” for a miracle.

And who are they praying to? Are they directing it to God, just on the off-chance that  such a person or thing exists?

Modern-day “miracles” are often seen in a sporting context, so let’s look at one of those.

In 2005, Liverpool Football Club won the UEFA Champions league against AC Milan in the neutral city of Istanbul, Turkey. Liverpool weren’t, by common consent, the best team in Europe at that time. They weren’t even dominant in the English Premier League. And in the Champions League final they were 3-0 down at half time.

miracle 3
Cheer up, Stevie G. The fans around here think you’re God

How many Liverpool fans were “praying for a miracle” while they got the beers in or made a cup of tea? How many half-jokingly closed their eyes and begged some higher power to help them out?

And then it happened: in the second half they scored three goals, making it 3-3, so after 90 minutes came extra time. No change after the added 30 minutes, so it went to penalties. Liverpool won 3-2 on penalties.

The match has gone down in football history as The Miracle of Istanbul.

miracle 2
How did that happen? Are we brilliant or are we lucky?

But was God involved in that? Italy is probably a more Christian country than England, with the Catholic Church fundamental to its society. So millions of Milan fans must have been praying too.

Is God a Liverpool fan? Seriously, what do you think?

Prayer is a question of belief, of faith, but we have to be sensible about this. If you’re praying for your team and someone else is praying for theirs, how can a loving god give it to one rather than the other? God is the father, and even human fathers would not make such a decision between two of his children. We might try to make a decision based on who deserved it more, which team was playing better and who had been a good boy recently, but ultimately we can’t make that judgement.

The point is that in times of dire need, we realize we can’t do it on our own, so we reach out for help. But if we only ever consider the possibility that God exists when we need him, what message is that sending? How about a bit of gratefulness for the good things that have happened so far?

Nobody has all the answers – not even atheists.

Ref! On making decisions and being dissed

The candid thoughts of Premier League referee Colin Preece, as recorded by our eavesdropping mole in the Duck and Peasant.

 Referee

Evening lads. Did I watch Leicester-West Ham? As it happens, yes, and I suppose you’re going to ask me about the refereeing, aren’t you? Did it make me regret retiring, Dave? Did it hell, mate. You don’t go into refereeing to be the centre of attention. The matches a ref enjoys are the ones everybody else enjoys. Good football, sportsmanship The kind of games where you’re only there to rubber-stamp what is obvious to everybody.

I won’t talk about specifics, Baz, no. It was the guy’s general performance that upset people. But to be fair, I don’t know if there has ever been a match where the neutrals were so partisan, if you get my drift. I mean everyone wanted Leicester to win, even some West Ham fans did. It’s the triumph of the little guy, isn’t it? David versus Goliath. Not West Ham as Goliath, no, but Leicester against the big boys. If they hadn’t been doing so well this season we’d have been rooting for the Hammers, because it’s good to see them up there too.

But everybody wants Leicester to wrap it up as soon as possible. And even though the ref yesterday was neutral in that he doesn’t come from Leicester or support them, he’ll have a soft spot for them on the quiet.

He did make some strange decisions as regards penalties and you’re right, it did look like he felt he owed them one at the end when they were about to lose because of his dubious decisions earlier on. But did that affect his thinking? We will never know. You have a split second to call it, that’s all. It’s not like in cricket where some umpires give it a few seconds before deciding out or not out. If a football ref did that he’d be accused of weighing it up in more ways than one. I football it’s bang, this is my decision and it’s final.

Cheers, Gary, I don’t know what I want to drink, to be honest. Give me a moment. No, just joking, I’ll have a pint of good old honest-to-God lager, mate. Carlsberg.

Of course, when you think about it, there is something to be said for giving the injured party a break if you know you screwed up earlier and it’s going to cost them, but you can’t do it. You have to make every decision on its own merits. Penalty or no penalty, simple as that.

People were asking for it in that game, though. Huth and Morgan grabbing people in the box, impeding them. It’s the thing that brasses me off most in the whole game, as it happens. That and diving, and there was a bit of that going on too. I tell you what, there’s an ugly picture in the media of Jamie Vardy pointing his finger at the ref when he’s just been sent off and it’s the kind of thing that makes you think if you could send him off twice you’d do it. Never mind reporting it afterwards and letting the authorities deal with it. A ref’s only human, and nobody likes to be dissed in that way. Dissed, Dave. Disrespected. It’s an expression Jody uses, yes. She gets it from the kids she teaches at school.

Dissed. I like it. It makes you sound less like a victim and more like a righteous dude. Don’t diss me, man. But a ref doesn’t have that luxury. He’s just got to take it and know he’s in the right. Dissed off though he might be.

 

 

Ref! On England, Germany and the new dawn

The candid thoughts of Premier League referee Colin Preece, as recorded by our eavesdropping mole in the Duck and Peasant.

 Referee

Evening lads. Yes, of course, only one subject for us tonight: the glory that is England. As you say, Baz, it’s always good to beat the bloody Germans, and I’m sure we mean that in a non-xenophobic way. It’s not because they’re German, it’s because their team is called Germany and they have this irritating habit of doing well at football. But now and again we get ‘em, don’t we?

Yes, it did all look very predictable in the first half and the start of the second until we got going, but look at their side and look at ours. They had established stars like Ozil and Toni Kroos and Thomas Müller. Your wife is quite right, Dave. Müller does have a face you want to slap and it is to an extent beside the point but at the same time he got it metaphorically slapped in the end.

So Hodgson picks a team that’s about right in my opinion, full of emerging talents. Funny how that makes last year’s emerging talents look like underachievers, though, isn’t it? Ross Barkley has now been upgraded to experienced international but he’s in danger of missing the boat. Dele Alli’s looking more like it. Yes, Dave, Adam Lallana is becoming the new James Milner because he’s Hodgson’s representative now, his trusted lieutenant. The old man likes him and knows he’ll give 100%, even if it’s not often going to light up the stadium.

We’ve spoken before about the Rooney conundrum, and it does seem unfair that we’re all slamming the door behind us and leaning on it so he can’t get back in when he’s fit again, but Hodgson will have him in the squad in the summer and unless the youngsters really perform, he’ll be getting picked for crucial games, won’t he?

Cheers, Gary, why don’t we all chip in for a bottle of that Spanish sparkling wine by way of celebration? Bobby’ll give you a discount I’m sure. It’s not really champagne, so we’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves, but we can toast the future.

In a way it’s a complication as much as a blessing that both Kane and Vardy are credible candidates for the central striker role, but for me, Kane’s in the driving seat and if Vardy can be happy coming off the bench to win games, so much the better. Trouble is, managers who can’t make up their minds have a habit of playing the second choice guy out of position just so he’s there on the off chance, so on Saturday you had Danny Welbeck hanging around looking for scraps. He’s another of Hodgson’s prefects, always smartly turned out and never lets the head teacher down.

Yes, at the back it was a bit dodgy and the sooner John Stones gets back to being the messiah the better, cos poor old Gary Cahill is going to be a nearly kind of guy. He just hasn’t got the presence, the authority, that a man with his experience needs. Very nice guy apparently, but strikers across Europe are not waking up in the middle of the night screaming “Nein! Nein! Bloody Gary Cahill!” or however you swear in German.

Butland, yes, learned a lesson the hard way. What would you have done in his position, Dave? Come off sobbing at the first tweak or tried to run it off like he did? It’s a man’s game, even the women’s version.

 

 

Ref! The referee’s fear of the penalty

The candid thoughts of Premier League referee Colin Preece, as recorded by our eavesdropping mole in the Duck and Peasant.

 Referee

No, that’s okay, Dave, just because I’ve retired doesn’t mean I can’t answer refereeing questions. What do you want to know?

The Benteke penalty at the end of the Palace-Liverpool game. Well I’m glad you asked me that, as it happens, because there are two points to talk about there. Three, really.

Did I think it was a penalty? Irrelevant, mate. The guy in charge thought it was, gave it and that’s that. I know it’s the only way Christian Benteke is going to get a goal at the moment because he’s having a tough time, but I don’t think that will have entered his thoughts at that moment. Not enough time, for one thing.

And no amount of TV replays would have cleared that one up, because the guy did touch him, and you’ve got questions like who was off-balance and all that. You just don’t know, Baz. Just like I don’t know what goes on in that big, bearded mind of yours when I see you clattering some poor sod on a Sunday morning.

Whether a striker has a predisposition, if you like, to going down in the box, we will never know. I don’t think even they know, and of course they’re all different. There are those who say you should stay on your feet if you possibly can, but they’re only human and if they’ve been kicked and held and jostled for 90 minutes there might be some little spark in their brain when the defender comes in again that says, “Right, I’ve had enough of this, you touched me and I’m going down.”

And talking of 90 minutes, that one did happen late on and Alan Pardew [Crystal Palace manager] said he doubted whether Palace would have got a penalty if it had been the other way round. Now that is offensive towards officials. You try your best to be impartial, of course you do. Plus, Palace were at home, after all, so there wasn’t even that much pressure from the crowd. Yes, it can be intimidating when you know 50,000 supporters are looking at you with malice in their hearts, but that wasn’t the case, was it? It was at Selhurst Park, so what pressure there was was from Palace fans wanting him to not give a penalty.

Cheers, Gary. I’ll have a brown and mild, mate. Yeah, bit of a throwback. My Dad used to drink it, and he was a Palace fan.

It was a young defender, was it? Yes, I know, now you mention it. But I don’t think age is a factor. Any defender would have had a go in that situation because if you don’t, you’re not doing your job. Right, Baz? Right, have a go and hope for the best. You don’t chop him down like a lumberjack, you go for the ball and if you get a touch of leg or boot or something, it’s like a surgeon accidentally nicking the gall bladder when he’s got his scalpel in that area while he’s doing something else.

Not that centre backs are like surgeons, I agree, Dave. More like butchers – no offence, Baz – with the exception of the skilled ones, your Des Walkers and Colin Todds and maybe John Stoneses. Marcel Desailly, yes. You, Baz, you’re in the classic mould. You’re Jack Charlton, Big Dave Watson, Tony Adams, or Robert Huth in the modern game. You’re a colossus, a giant, lumbering colossus – and there’s nothing wrong with that. Cheers, Gary, thank God you’re back. Give him his Guinness, for gawd’s sake.

 

 

 

 

Ref! On the Capital One Cup final

The candid thoughts of former Premier League referee Colin Preece, as recorded by our eavesdropping mole in the Duck and Peasant.

 Referee

Yes, Dave, of course I watched it. It’s a funny time of year to win a trophy and it’s the least important of the trophies, but, you know, it’s a cup final, isn’t it?

I wasn’t supporting either of them, actually. I don’t think any neutral really wants Manchester City to win anything, because they’re just not likeable. Same as Chelsea had to put up with for a few years; people were put off by the fact that it was all down to money.

You were supporting Liverpool, were you, Baz? I’ve got nothing against the club, mate, and it used to be good seeing them in Europe in their heyday, when they were exciting to watch, but now? No. It’s the fans, Baz. They’re unbearable. There’s no humility. They act like they’ve been on the top table all along, whereas they stopped being invited to the do years ago and they just sneak in the side door now and then.

Some decent players, certainly. Coutinho’s okay, isn’t he? He’s like one of the Chelsea boys, Hazard, Oscar and Willian, and Mata, of course. But poor old Coutinho’s all on his own. Not getting injured all the time like Sturridge, not blowing hot and cold like a lot of them. He does it week in, week out, but the rest of them let him down all the time.

I remember saying early in the season that they were top-heavy with strikers, but then the lad from Burnley, Danny Ings, got injured and Benteke didn’t impose himself on the scene. Sturridge comes back and drops out, comes back and drops out. And there’s Origi going “What about me? What about me?”

And they’ve got no consistency in the back four, plus Mignolet’s a bit sensitive for a goalie.

They can’t help it, I know. They’ve signed too many average players over the years. If Liverpool was a building you’d have to pull it down and start again from scratch.

Cheers, Gary, pint of cider, please. Why? Why not?

Funny questions that guy asks sometimes.

Anyway, not a bad game, was it? Something to do on a Sunday afternoon. Not that I’m short of action in that department at the moment, Dave, no. Had to get special dispensation, as it happens. Fortunately Jody does like sport so we watched it in bed.

The trouble is, as I said, when you don’t really want either side to win, it’s hard to enjoy it. So when City scored I thought “Oh, go on, then, let’s get it over with.”

Then Liverpool come back and you think, “Okay, let the poor sods have their day for once.” But it’s not the same as standing on the settee because you’re so excited.

I suppose penalties was the best bit, yes. You don’t like it when it’s your team, but when it’s somebody else’s problem, why not? And Caballero makes himself a hero for a day, which we can all get into. It sort of transcends sport.

Transcend, Baz, means… haven’t you got a dictionary on your phone? Well I have. Here…

 

 

 

 

Ref! On right, wrong and resignation

The candid thoughts of Premier League referee Colin Preece, as recorded by our eavesdropping mole in the Duck and Peasant.

 Referee

Okay, lads, I have a world exclusive for you tonight. You are the first people outside the referees’ professional body to know that Colin Preece has resigned with immediate effect and will no longer be officiating at the top level.

The reason, Dave? Because I want to live a normal life. Life for a ref is like being a political leader: you’re there to be shot at. And quite frankly I’ve had enough of it. And when it starts to get personal, you know, that’s below the belt. This weekend it seems some sections of the crowd had noticed my fall from grace as reported in the media.

None of their business, no, who I’m having a relationship with, and I’ve got nothing to hide in my relationship with Jody – yes, Baz, Jody, that’s her name. What’s funny? You see, even your own mates. I know there was a Chelsea player called Jody Morris. It’s a unisex name, like Kim. Could be either sex. Anyway, that’s beside the point.

What will I be doing now? Well, going back to my previous occupation, mate. Driving instructor. I went into refereeing because I have a strong sense of right and wrong. I like to see things done properly and people respecting the rules.

Yes, marriage has rules and I know I’ve failed in that respect and I’m sorry. But I’m only flesh and blood, Dave. Just because you’ve seen me standing firm in front of a crowd of 50,000 baying Liverpool fans. It’s not the same thing. That is having the courage of your convictions. But when you’re tripped up by your own weaknesses from inside, almost without noticing, that is entirely different.

Cheers, Gary, glass of sparkling water, please. Because I feel like it. It’s good for you, that’s why. Hydrates you, gets rid of the toxins. Okay, so I’m looking after myself a bit more.

And anyway, look at Tommy Docherty. Got a huge amount of stick when he had an affair with the physio’s wife. But now they’ve been together 30 years or something. It wasn’t just a quick thrill at someone else’s expense. Look at Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton.

No, I’m not comparing myself to great historical figures, I’m just saying these things happen. Destiny. And if I was destined to fall in love with a maths teacher 25 years my junior, who am I to argue? You’ve got to have some humility, Dave. We don’t have all the answers. We are merely pawns in the game of life. Yes, that’s a quote. Mongo in Blazing Saddles, I think.

Okay, we can talk about football if you like. Is it a penalty if the ball hits the guy’s elbow inside the box when he’s facing the other way and knows nothing about it? Technically yes. It hit the defender’s arm and you have to give it. Because there isn’t time to have an episode of Crown Court every time it happens, to establish the guy’s intent. It’s black and white. Hit his arm, penalty. By Christ I’m not going to miss this one bit, you know.

 

 

 

 

Ref! On statistics

The candid thoughts of Premier League referee Colin Preece, as recorded by our eavesdropping mole in the Duck and Peasant.

 Referee

We all like to read about football, don’t we, lads? You can’t watch every game there is, so you read about some and use your imagination. But what’s been creeping in the last couple of years and really gets on my tits, is statistics. I don’t know if they’ve invented some computer program or what, but certain newspapers – and especially online – aren’t happy unless they’ve given you some useless facts.

I agree, Baz, they’ve always given us useless facts, but now they’re finding more obscure things that nobody’s ever thought about because they don’t mean anything. Stuff like “Spurs have never conceded a goal at White Hart Lane when the number 22 bus was going past.”

No, not really, Baz. No, I don’t mean they have conceded when the number 7 was going past, it’s an example. And a stupid example I agree, but then statistics often are stupid. No, I didn’t know the number 22 doesn’t go that way. It was an example, an idea plucked out of the air. Well, I suppose I should get my facts straight, if I was claiming it was true, but I’m not. It’s what they call poetic licence. Don’t you start, Dave, for Gawd’s sake.

There was one last week, somebody scored against Everton in his first game for his new club and the last time he was transferred he also scored in his first game and it was against Liverpool. Something like that. It doesn’t really matter because it doesn’t mean anything, anyway, it’s just a coincidence.

But this journalist with nothing more relevant to say trots it out like he’s just come back down the mountain with Moses, only Moses has got the ten commandments and he’s got the football results.

Cheers, Gary, I’ll have a pint of lager. What kind? Work it out for yourself, mate. Statistically, what am I most likely to want? What I always want when I have a pint of lager and somebody else is paying. Peroni.

Yes, that’s the 17th time this season that referee Colin Preece has had a pint of lager, and 13 of them have been Peroni.

It’s the internet that’s to blame for this. Because we leave tracks every time we log onto a site, they can work out how long we stayed on that page and make assumptions about why. And they’ve obviously discovered that a page full of insightful words doesn’t go down as well as one with a few random snippets.

Lazy, you see? The internet makes you lazy. If you’re sitting there with the Sunday paper, you’ve probably only bought the one, and if you don’t fancy a particular story, you can’t just switch to another paper. Unless you go back down the newsagents and get another one. And we’re too lazy to do that.

Which is why so many people don’t buy a paper at all nowadays and the printing industry is dying and chimpanzees are getting jobs writing for websites.

 

 

 

 

Ref! On Klopp and statistics

The candid thoughts of Premier League referee Colin Preece, as recorded by our eavesdropping mole in the Duck and Peasant.

 Referee

Yes, Dave, I was one of the officials at Jurgen Klopp’s first loss as Liverpool manager. And I don’t say that with any pleasure, because it’s not nice to lose in any walk of life, but it happens. He had a very good introduction to the Premier League, with a few wins and draws, including stuffing Chelsea, so he can’t complain.

Plus he comes in with that big toothy grin and he’s probably had half the women in Liverpool throwing themselves at him, so for his own good he has to have a bit of rough with the smooth. Yes, Baz, I suppose some of those Scouse birds must be a bit rough, but you know what I mean.

People were leaving the ground with seven minutes still to play – well welcome to the real world. This isn’t a fairy story – and even if it was, there would have to be a bit in it where the hero faces a challenge. So he’s dropped three points: boo hoo.

Statistically he’s well in the black, not that stats are my favourite thing. Journalists these days tend to throw them in instead of actual insights. You know: Aston Villa have never won away from home on a date with an odd number, that sort of thing.

Who thinks them up, that’s what I want to know. I was reading this morning that in the Arsenal-Tottenham game, Spurs as a team ran 7km further than Arsenal. I mean, is that necessarily a good thing?

Cheers, Gary, I’ll have a light and special, and you don’t have to run round the car park twice before you get it. I’m not interested in your mileage, I’m looking for a pint as quickly as possible.

Mileage – how far players run during a game – that’s only of interest to a certain type of manager. You know Peter Taylor, Brian Clough’s old partner, well the two of them were on holiday in Mallorca once and they met a coach called Sammy Chung on the beach, and Chung’s bragging about how hard he makes his players work. He says he has routines that could make the Forest players physically sick. And Clough says, “When they start awarding three points for that we’ll be in touch.”

No, Baz, it was in Taylor’s book. I never met the guy, I was too young. But he and Clough used to value skill. Hard work as well, like, but not only that. Yes, three points. They used to get three points for a win.

Your cultured midfielder doesn’t have to be chasing all over the park all afternoon. They have other people to do that. Take Eric Cantona, as skilled a player as England has ever seen. In the French national side he had Didier Deschamps doing all the barking and harassing. Cantona referred to him as The Water Carrier, which was disrespectful, but there you go. Cantona was arrogant but brilliant.

A water carrier, Baz – in the Roman army you had the officers with the brains and the soldiers with the heroics and you had these other guys carrying water, because it’s thirsty work. What would you be? You’d be in the front line, mate, the front line.