Last night Chelsea footballer Eden Hazard stuck a fluorescent, no doubt customised boot into one irritating sod of a ball boy during the second leg of the Football League Cup semi-final at Swansea City. If you’ve been alive today, you may just have heard about it.
Both ball boy and Belgian have been widely condemned in today’s papers – except, that is, in the Daily Mail, which reckons the teenager should have been kicked harder, though we await the petition – or ‘crusade’, as they spin them – to have him deported on the basis that his grandfather’s second cousin was of Asian descent.
The same paper may have ran with ‘fan victim of brutal attack by millionaire mercenary’ until it emerged that the ball boy was himself the son of a £42 million businessman and Swansea City director, at which point their team of ‘digital experts’ sifted through the lad’s Instagram archives to provide us with his holiday snaps and details of what he had for tea on March 5th. Journalism, 2012.
Meanwhile, in news that seems to have escaped the notice of all but the beautiful game’s most avid zealots, somewhere entrenched in the furore of this modern-day, real-life version of ‘You’re the ref’, Swansea City AFC are Wembley-bound for the first major cup final in their century of existence.
In a decade, the Swans have gone from being a single point from the Conference to being a single game from silverware, all whilst serving up some of the most attractive football this side of Barcelona. The style and vision implemented by Roberto Martínez, and continued by Brendan Rodgers and now the immensely impressive Michael Laudrup, is well worthy of its own success.
They are one of the most likeable sides in the league: a classy club with a classy manager and a remarkable recent history. You’ll find no egos here, for they’ve all been shipped out and astutely replaced. Nor will you find over-confidence, because this club knows where it’s come from and how miraculous its tale is. From fourth tier football to Wembley cup finalists in ten years. Now that – surely – is the real story here.
Oh, and if I hear or read that joke about Hazard being ‘hazardous’ once more, I shall not be held responsible for my actions. Especially if it is a tweet by @Footy_BanterLols139352