What's More Annoying Than a Player Who Screams at the Ref?

By Davies, Hunter | New Statesman (1996), April 25, 2011 | Go to article overview

What's More Annoying Than a Player Who Screams at the Ref?


Davies, Hunter, New Statesman (1996)


As we all know, the most annoying person in modern politics is Ed Balls, at least according to Dave Cameron. "Annoying" is an interesting term of abuse, for it suggests a patrician position, one of great importance and prestige, on behalf of the annoyed. The annoyer is being dismissed as a minor irritation, hardly worth being annoyed by, really.

It does not necessarily indicate uselessness, stupidity, idiocy, corruption--not even nastiness. It's just an opinion, a prejudice. And oh, dear God, we have loads of that in football. Where to begin?

Players: many fans used to see Robbie Savage as hugely annoying, with his long, girly blond hair, silly voice, stupid tackles and belief that he was a half-decent footballer, rather than a mad lunger. But even at his worst he used to make me smile. And I think he is self-aware--he knows that he is annoying.

Joey Barton is another pantomime villain with a huge opinion of himself, convinced that he should have been an England star. I suspect that he really is annoying--annoying his team-mates at Newcastle as much as us.

Frank Lampard annoys me with his moany face and aggrieved air, but when he lost form earlier in the season, I rather came round to him. I have now decided that it is not his fault. There's something wonky about his upper lip.

Didier Drogba was annoying, in the days when he'd go down. He would then writhe in agony and stagger around, tongue out. I realised my annoyance was because he is such a fine physical specimen, big and strong, so he shouldn't be acting like a baby. Which is not logical. Acting like a baby is not the preserve of any physical type. He still annoys me, though.

Crstiano Ronaldo is annoying, obviously, with his prissy step-overs, making rival fans scream abuse. But, if he is on your side, you love him.

You can, of course, be annoyed by your own stars--like Berbatov. It pissed me off when he was at Spurs, standing around, superior, despairing of lesser mortals, instead of running his balls off.

John Terry still annoys me. …

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