Unfortunately in football, what happens off the pitch often dominates the media more so than events on the pitch. The obvious case this week has been the continued revelations concerning John Terry’s secret life and his subsequent demotion as England captain. More tabloid dynamite was provided thanks to Ricardo Fuller’s alleged violent altercation at a Stoke nightspot; the trio of Blackpool players being dropped for having a night on the town hours after a home defeat; several Leeds players being attacked by Carlisle fans and the dire financial woes of Portsmouth, Palace, Cardiff and Southend.
After a week like that, it is easy to see why football sometimes has to defend its name.
However, let us not ponder on these frailties of the sport. Let us not debate which player will next emerge as a lover of Vannesa Perroncel, and let us not worry about the split in the England squad the former lingerie model may have created. For there is much to celebrate and look forward to….
Firstly, Adam Johnson’s outstanding full debut for Man City last night against Bolton. Amongst a team of multinational millionaires, a 22 year old lad from Sunderland showed them how it was done. His work ethic and obvious talent has thrown him into the spotlight and who knows, maybe brought him to the attention of Mr Capello.
We also have a classic FA Cup tie on our hands when bitter South Coast rivals Southampton at Portsmouth lock horns at St Mary’s. The subplots to the match are better than any author or playwright could have imagined. The tables have turned and where Southampton once struggled with administration, it is Pompey who are now on the brink. It brings a bit of drama back to the cup and we can all look forward to a tumultuous and exciting game.
We can also celebrate the actions of Hull City’s American international Jozy Altidore who dedicated his stunning goal against Man City to the people of Haiti. The land of his parents is suffering horrendously in the aftermath of the terrifying earthquake that shook the nation, and in a week of affairs and drunken brawls, it is refreshing to see a player show compassion for those less fortunate than he.
It was a simple gesture, but one that can give us all hope in our game and those who play it.