29 Mar 2010

‘The squad has turned into a Caligulan sex fiasco’

By Russell Brand, 28/03/2010
LIKE most people, when I pop to the lavvy during a football match something important happens.

I missed Gazza’s yellow card against Germany in 1990 because I was in the loo.

Michael Owen’s goal against Argentina in 98 – I was unwell that year and by the time Beckham scored a penalty against Argentina in 2002 I had quite a serious drug problem and never really left the toilet.

So now that I’ve been away from home for a few months, living with my future wife and squinting at football on the internet, I shouldn’t be surprised that the National game has gone berserk.

Oddly, I suspect that my absence has been an influence, in fact I feel like that bloke in Gremlins who entrusted the lad with the Mogwai with very simple, if mysterious, instructions only for bedlam to be unleashed when they were ignored.

Not that I offered the FA or the Premiership any guidelines before I departed. I didn’t say for example “Keep Wayne Bridge’s ex missus well away from Stamford Bridge” or “You might wanna confiscate Ashley Cole’s phone” or “Don’t feed Peter Crouch after midnight.” But after all the chaos that’s ensued I wish I had.

Not that Crouch has done anything weird yet, but I’ve a hunch that he is going to self subdivide into a tribe of malevolent Goblins and wreak havoc on a small American town any minute now.

Which in my view would be no more peculiar than Manchester City’s Roberto Mancini’s preppy sideline assault on grizzled Everton boss Davis Moyes. In history few men with great hair have been decent fighters and Mancini’s glorious silver summit looks like it could manage City without him and still find time to pick up chicks on it’s Vespa at the Trevi fountain. David Moyes on the other hand, comports himself as if he’s always on the precipice of nutting someone.

If I was gonna kick off against a premiership manager it would not be Moyes – he looks like a biter, plus he’s Iggy Pop wiry and them fellas can normally pummel ribs with whippety abandon.

I suppose Mancini, who along with Arsene Wenger, has too many letters of the side he manages in his name, is new to British football and probably hasn’t sized up who it’s wise to have a crack at yet, like a new kid at school trying to make a rep for himself. Yes, I was once that new kid and foolishly elected to establish myself by “offering out” Jeff Dawkins, who it transpired, was a man-child warlord for whom fighting was a kind of hobby, like Subbuteo but without being able to glue the broken legs back together. Mancini also ought to have considered removing his scarf before embarking on his boffin squabble, which I notice he’d tied in a Brit-Pop Chris Evans style, resembling a prefect afraid to leave Sixth Form and thus loitering in quads into his late forties.

Wenger with his intellectual continental airs and graces (by which I mean glasses) would actually be a more befitting opponent if Mancini does want a row, unless he’s one of those blokes who looks a bit nerdy but then is surprisingly good at martial arts – like Spiderman.

What is more surprising than the fracas itself (and my presumed ability to induce the absurd bout by being in America) is the ridiculous punishment meted out by the officials at the match. “Gentleman! Stop fighting! You’re grown men and you’re behaving like schoolboys! Now go and wait in the changing rooms. When you’re ready to apologise you can come back out and play.”

I bet Moyes gave Mancini a right kicking in the tunnel: that scarf wrenched tight around his perfumed neck till his face was as red as Moyes’ is when relaxed. And none of this would’ve happened if I’d been watching – just like Gazza’s yellow card.

I know it’s daft to believe in these superstitions: sods law (my Dad calls it c**ts law, he loves swearing), knocking on wood, and toilet rituals but how else are we to cope with the chaos in the world around us generally and football specifically?

My team, West Ham, on current evidence seem like they would benefit from crossed fingers and lucky charms even if that were in the form of some novelty breakfast cereal and severed arthritic digits as the Championship plummet has begun at an eerily inconvenient time.

New chairman David Sullivan wrote an open letter to Hammers fans on Wednesday morning in spite of admitting “not having slept.” Never write anything that can be broadly read when exhausted. I’m writing this while buzzing on coffee and morning glory, when I write things late at night, mostly love-letters, I’m always incredibly relieved to see them on my pillow in the morning if I don’t send them. They’re always desperate and tear-stained (or worse) and are better off in my possession than tormenting their intended recipient.

The best thing about getting married is that now I only have one person to write to and we live together: in the past there were a lot of people to correspond with – I had to resort to spamming. I suppose I could’ve done a Sullivan-style open letter “I was disgusted by last night’s performance against Wolves” is a direct quote from Sullivan’s rant and directly applicable to a scenario I became involved in after once getting locked up after hours in London Zoo. The letter doesn’t cover all of the indiscretions committed that drunken night though, I’ll have to learn sign language to apologise to that chimp. Again, thank God I’m getting married.

It seems marital and conjugal relationships are destined to have an impact on England’s success in the South African World Cup this summer. Which is a pity because it seemed that when I left the shores of Albion all was well with the forthcoming campaign. The moment my back was turned and I embraced a life of cherished monogamy the England squad became a Caligulan sex fiasco.

Flirty texts, affairs and spurned handshakes, that’s no way to lure back the Jules Rimet to Blighty. Jules Rimet actually sounds like the sort of kinky move that Wayne Bridge’s ex, Vanessa Perroncel might enact.

I for one hope that Wayne Bridge changes his mind and joins the squad. The World Cup is once every four years, during that cycle a half-decent Premiership player could go through nine marriages.

Sadly David Beckham won’t be playing at the tournament due to his Achilles injury.

It’s a bit ironic that his Achilles heel turned out to be his Achilles heel, we should’ve seen that coming. That’s like discovering that Chernobyl was caused by someone literally throwing a spanner in the works.

I don’t know if Beckham should accept FIFA’s offer to “Play some part in the opening ceremony”. The opening ceremony is always rubbish, usually some combination of releasing balloons, spelling out words by getting people to hold bits of coloured paper above their heads or worst of all “Majorettes”. I can’t see David Beckham wanting to be involved in that: “David would you mind holding this purple card above your head? It dots the I in the ‘Kick Racism Out Of Soccer’ sign. No? Well could you twirl this baton? What do you mean you’ll drop your crutches?”

If something interesting does happen you can rest assured that I’ll miss it, although now that I’m a “fiancé” and happily engaged if I’m in the loo it won’t be for a fix or a threesome, I’ll be checking that I put the seat down.

If I wipe it as well and maybe arrange a little dish of Potpourri it might buy us enough time for England to win the World Cup.

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