Who would have thought that back in 1996 that Damon Albarn’s brilliant masterpiece “Charmless Man” would have been referenced when discussing a Premier League football in 2012?
The Charmless Man in question is the garrulous Liverpool club captain Steven Gerrard. For those who don’t know the song or are unaware of Blur’s back catalogue, allow me to educate you to the chorus of this Britpop classic:
He talks at speed, He gets nosebleeds, He doesn´t see, His days are tumbling, Down upon him, And yet he tries so hard to please, He´s just so keen, For you to listen, But no-one´s listening, And when you put it all together, There´s the model of a charmless man
How apt are those words after Steven Gerrard’s post-Merseyside derby rant?
After the recent exoneration of the Liverpool supporters after the Hillsborough verdict, red and blue fans stood together to celebrate justice finally being done for the 96. A moving tribute at the start of recent Everton v Newcastle showed a rare moment of solidarity in the city of Liverpool.
Fast-forward to last weekends derby encounter, with some ‘choice’ words from David Moyes and Steven Gerrard once again causing a rift in the Merseyside peace process. Personally I have no problem with David Moyes post-match comments, as players like Luis Suarez need to be named and shamed because diving is a corrosive element eating away at football’s integrity.
I do, however, take issue with Gerrard’s bizarre ramblings. Irony must be lost on the England captain when he stated that Phil Neville should be publically lambasted for diving and Everton are prehistoric long ball football team like Stoke City.
Starting with the latter, a quick look at the Opta Index clearly states that Everton completed more passes than Liverpool on Sunday, 400 to 314. To add to his misguided statement, Liverpool’s long ball proportion was 14.6% to Everton’s 13.8%.
In summary, if Everton are a long ball team, the official stats suggest otherwise and surely that fact Liverpool were out-passed by their opponents is a shocking indictment of how bad things have got for Brendan Rodger’s supposed superior passing outfit?
As for the public dressing down of Phil Neville, that just borders on the farcical. Steven Gerrard points his finger at a man who has probably dived less times in his entire career than Luis Suarez has in one season…talk about opening Pandora’s box.
Lets ask the obvious question “who were the worse culprits on Sunday?” Raheem Sterling is far from innocence as the young winger took flight from the slightest touch, winning the free kick that lead to Liverpool’s second goal.
This was before our very own bastion of fair play Steven Gerrard took a military style tumble as Leon Osman brushed his shoulder, which started a change of events leading to Liverpool’s hotly disputed last minute disallowed goal. It does appear that people in red glasshouses shouldn’t throw blue stones.
To complete the circle, if the Liverpool captain is so appalled by diving in the Premier League then why the veil of silence in the face of irrefutable evidence showing that Luis Suarez is a diver?
As with most family disputes, maybe the complainant needs to look closer to home before accusing his cousins of the same crimes committed by his own teammates.
Unfortunately our very own ‘Charmless Man’ ruined the atmosphere with his inopportune decision to attack Everton football Club following the Merseyside derby. This contest should have been a celebration for the Hillsborough 96, but has ended with Steven Gerrard being the main talking point.
Gerrard has this morning apologised for his comments. Too little too late?
image: © Ben Sutherland