I am of the age that I can remember watching the Ramones perform live. I got more soaked that evening than even on a night out at the Shay – home of the old Halifax Town. That ground – like so many others – has a new name in the modern era of football sponsorship and is now known as the MBi Shay.
I’m not sure what some of the older football fans would have made of the ‘Reach for the Sky’ approach to football these days, but am perfectly certain that each of the Ramones – who were one of the earliest forces in developing the destructive, punk sound – would be horrified at a segment of ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ being used as part of the sponsorship package for ‘Britain’s Got Talent.’ Or maybe they would have strolled along the Ramones’ Way in Queens with ghostly smiles on their faces.
Another song came to me today: ‘Long Road out of Eden’ by the Eagles. Again, I can remember a time when the band members were alive and, even more incredibly, not arguing.
One of the verses goes like this:
‘Freeways flickering, cell phones chiming a tune
We’re riding to utopia, road map says we’ll be arriving soon…’
Yes, you’ve guessed the reason for the preamble: Eden Hazard. My mind does make strange and incongruous connections – a bit like Saint Claudio when sampling blue cheese for the first time.
For the Ramones – and, indeed, Halifax Town – everything was played short and punchy. Creativity was almost the antithesis of what they were all about. The Eagles, on the other hand, were full-blown creatives and used the power of music and lyrics to lament greed, decadence and mankind’s seemingly innate ability to waste its talents and opportunities.
So where does Mr Hazard fit into all of this? Well, obviously horizontally, at the moment. Playing for Belgium in a high-profile friendly against the mighty Czech Republic on Monday (I guess they’re all high-profile when your derby match is against Luxembourg) poor Eden broke his ankle and will not even be returning to training until the autumn.
Poor Eden first caught our attention when also playing for Belgium in a friendly against England. No English player could get near enough to him that day to cause him to break a sweat, let alone any other part of his body. His speed and movement were instrumental in Chelsea’s Premier League success in 2015 and again last year.
In-between times, Eden had a bit of a sabbatical and nobody has quite worked out how or why that happened. I wasn’t totally convinced last season that he was back to his best but then he would come up with a wonder goal or change the match with a quick turn or flick that I never even managed at Subbuteo.
I had the same feeling in the Cup Final against Arsenal when Eden and the rest of the Chelsea team just seemed unable to quite mount those steps once more and reach the highest level (well, as losers they did, but you know what I mean!).
However, Eden must have gone into the summer with the freeways flickering and his mobile ‘phone buzzing – perhaps on the way to a big-money move to Real Madrid who also had quite a good season.
Trust the Ramones to pop up and knock all that complacency out of him with an injury of baseball bat proportions. Eden may well still be riding towards utopia but what does that end game really mean for him: trophies; money; a good lie down after all of that running?
Well, at this moment he has a combination of all three but whether Antonio Conte will be patient enough to wait for him in that other 3-4-3 game, we shall have to see. Eden will also be wondering whether a.n.other player could step in and do a role as others have done for Chelsea this season and leave him in a part-time, Fabregas limbo (just as in 2016 when we sometimes remembered that he was on the field).
Or, could he do a Gareth Bale and play for a big team now and again – whether fit or not? Sounds more like a dystopia to me.