This season has confirmed what I always knew: There is no room for a Mr Nice in football.
Jose Mourinho told us recently that he’s no monster, confessed that he’s not as bad as everyone thinks he is and that people don’t really flee from him at Manchester United’s Carrington training ground. We all know that underneath the suave exterior and wry smile lies the cold, beating heart of a killer. Jose is a man who would push his own grandmother into a flaming pit if it meant his football team would score another goal… and that’s why he’s a winner.
When Jose was taunted with cries of ‘Judas’ from the Chelsea faithful as his Manchester United team took on the Blues in the FA Cup he retaliated. A true nice guy would have turned the other cheek but Jose raised a triumphant three fingers to the crowd to remind them of the trophies he had won with the club. Hitting the supporters right where it hurts. Reminding them how many trophies they have in their cabinet. The man is a monster.
Take a look at some of the best players to have graced the Premier League in recent years. The likes of Luis Suarez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Costa, John Terry, none of them are going to be winning any popularity contests but they all know there are greater prizes to be won. They are prepared to win dirty and reveal their personal dark streak. Even squeaky clean Lionel Messi decided that his “Nice Guy” image didn’t extend to paying any taxes. To be a winner you need to call on the devil when required, and these boys can mix it with the best of them.
Some players however take it a little too far. Joey Barton for one. For another, may I present Bruno Fernandes. Fernandes has just signed a contract with Brazilian side Boa Esporte, despite having recently been sentenced to 20 years in prison for murdering his girlfriend, and feeding her too his dogs.
In case you missed that: For murdering his girlfriend and feeding her too his dogs.
The goalkeeper was recently released on a technicality and is now free to play football again. Former England left back Stuart Pearce should really consider handing over his nickname Psycho to a far more deserving character.
Incidentally, I’m not for one second putting Joey Barton and a convicted murderer on the same level of evil. In my book Joey Barton is far, far worse.
The secret of the “nasty streak” could well explain the problems currently facing Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. Maybe the Frenchman just doesn’t have the necessary level of bastard to do well in the modern game. Martin Keown recently said that Wenger’s style of management is one of “Love and Support”. I’m not sure that’s what is required with modern footballers. Most of them just need a good kick up the arse. A recent fan appearing on Arsenal TV compared Wenger’s reign at the Emirates to the oppressive regime of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe (ridiculously) but if Arsene had a little more “Mugabe” in him maybe life at Arsenal Football Club right now would be a little more successful (and by more “Mugabe” I mean “be a little more ruthless” rather than “buy a pet tiger and lower the life expectancy in North London by 30 years”).
We should however be cautious. There could be a time in the future where clubs put the “evil” stake ahead of footballing ability in an attempt to get that cutting edge on the pitch. Will we see West Bromwich Albion tapping up Charles Bronson to add some steel in defence, or Swansea City offering a contract to Jack the Ripper to cut though the oppositions midfield? Who knows in the future we could even see Tottenham signing blade-runner Oscar Pistorious as back up for Harry Kane. Sure he’s a little short but he’s got a deadly shot!
Jim is the man behind weekly satirical football show On The Left Side. You can hear this weeks episode for FREE here: