From Anish Jacob
In your article 10th December, about the game vs Huddersfield, this following line about Guendouzi’s yellow card for simulation was quite jarring:
“You are in England now, son. In France you might call that professionalism but we call it cheating.”
The nationalistic pride that adds an edge to your comment on the admittedly easy tumble that the youngster took, is not justified, especially in light of English football’s hallowed sons and serial divers – Dele Alli and Wayne Rooney, among others I’m sure, if I cared to look it up.
The glorious “English professionalism” loses further sheen by the poor refereeing that dogs the game in England. Mike Dean is a regular offender who has certainly brought Arsenal a lot of grief over the years, borne out by the statistics. The moral hazard that hangs over the PGMOL, and allowed SAF to get away with regular intimidation of referees on a scale that would shame an investment banker, will eventually be a case study on the perils of misaligned incentives in a field outside of global finance.
The ref on Saturday was clearly overwhelmed, and the game was certainly a good learning experience for him, at the cost of millions of pounds of spectator investment. Three yellow cards for Arsenal players for simulation, one in the middle of the park? I’m surprised Arsenal aren’t appealing some of those yellows already!
It’s this lingering dream of English superiority, clinging to the jaded glory a long bygone era, that undergirds the Brexit movement, a development that is quite sad even to a largely disinterested outsider, as it symbolises a fetal curling of a shrivelled husk of a once great empire, when it could have instead been a moment to boldly embrace a new global era with new opportunities and potentialities.
May and her minions buffoonery does nothing to inspire any confidence that a new era of British hegemony is awakening from the ashes.
In closing, rather than snark, it would have been so much more pleasant to gracefully, gently chide him, rather than snarkily hint at inferior origins.
After all, without the imperious French, the passionate Uruguayans, the wizardly Spanish, and the impressive Belgian athletes entertaining the masses and elevating the quality of the product, the EPL would have gone the way of the Scottish league with their stodgy, “professional” displays.
I’m not sure why that line motivated me to write so much, given that I’m in the midst of particularly pressing work, and some of your other past posts have stirred more violent reactions in me.
Anyway, wish you, Jan, the kids and the blonde angel a very Merry Christmas, and hopefully a less politically chaotic year ahead.
From Anish again (second email):
PS Apologies if this mail was not appreciated, I’m not sure why I was motivated to write so strongly. Very much appreciate your posts. Take care.
Don’t worry Anish, I’m not upset with you.
I was talking about English football, not England the country.
Please, please don’t use the word simulation.
Refs ARE bad, as you say. But our politicians are worse than our refs, far more vicious, greedy and selfish. And even more incompetent.
I enjoy literature and music, not news. I watch Messi to get away from Trump, I follow Mo Salah to escape from Theresa May, and I respect Unai Emery far more than Jacob Rees-Mogg or Boris.
Maybe I will gently chide young Matteo next time, if there is a next time. Teenagers often do silly things and I was no exception.
Surprised that my posts cause “violent reactions”.