"I'M A DICKHEAD"
Rob was so angry when he wrote this that he doesn't remember half of it. Like the Incredible Hulk, but not green, muscular or remotely moral.
About 10 years ago, give or take, Arsenal ruined English football forever. That may seem unfair, but I don’t care, because this isn’t a piece about rational appraisals of footballers. This is a piece about wholly irrational hatred and more specifically, the fact that the Arsenal back four of Winterburn, Adams, Keown and Dixon or as I shall refer to them from here on in, the Axis of Evil, are dickheads.
While I say ‘wholly irrational hatred’, I have at least attempted to come up with some footballing opinion to go with the fact that I think Winterburn looks like a startled pug, Adams like someone’s held his face over a candle for too long, Keown like a bar of soap with some pubes stuck on it and Dixon like the only man in the universe I want to punch more than Adam Bushby. Hence the whole ‘ruining football’ prefix.
The irony is I don’t particularly care for English football. I actively dislike its stupid bloody ‘passion wins out’ identity. So by extension, I shouldn’t care that the Axis of Evil are responsible for its decline into the shambles we see before us today. But God, I really hate them.
Without the Axis of Evil, or as some people like to call them, ‘the best back line Arsenal have ever had’, this ludicrous fascination, this endless fixation with no-nonsense, ‘firm but fair’, tough tackling, sweating, swearing, brave (BRAVE!) leadership stereotypes would never have been cemented in the English psyche to such an extent that its lack of presence in a football team is INSTANTLY seized upon as evidence of weakness.
‘Oh, but Rob…’, people will say, exasperated, ‘but Rob, what about the do-or-die attitude, the never giving in, the inspirational example set to their team-mates, the confidence given to players further up the pitch to play great football on a solid foundation?’. And I will say ‘I don’t care, because they are dickheads and the only strikers the Axis of Evil ever had to worry about were the dinosaurs, the dying breed of another ineffectual, embarrassing stereotype, the ‘English centre forward’’. It’s fine playing against Alan Shearer when you’re a big fucking lump, Tony Adams. But try playing against someone like Fernando Torres in his pomp, or Lionel Messi, when you have the TURNING CIRCLE OF ONE OF JUPITER’S MOONS, MARTIN FUCKING KEOWN. You should’ve been nicknamed Eddie Stobart, you lumbering cunt.
Now believe it or not, this piece isn’t entirely accurate. From memory it was relatively unusual to see the Axis of Evil all on one team sheet, presumably because Keown was so shit. So perhaps I should differentiate between the ones I don’t really like – Winterburn, Dixon and Adams (I don’t remember having anything against Steve Bould… the fact that his surname was near enough to ‘bald’ was probably enough) – and the one I actually think is a dickhead – Martin Keown.
I think that horrid little threesome are vastly overrated. Winterburn just strikes me as an angry, aggressive and short man. What did he do? What did he actually EVER do? Even though they were all shit, he was shittest. Dixon doesn’t really register, but he’s a smug fucker and he appears to like Colin Murray, so that’s enough for me. Adams – well, I respect him for Sporting Chance, but when your managerial win percentage is 27% across three jobs it’s time to think that MAYBE YOU SHOULDN’T BE A MANAGER TONY.
AND I HATED THE ‘FAMOUS’ OFFSIDE TRAP. PUT YOUR ARMS DOWN, YOU DICKHEADS.
Ahem. On to Keown. Back in September 2003, I definitely hated Arsenal and their defence in particular. But Martin Keown wasn’t happy with simply absorbing my teenage disgust and letting me move on with my life. Martin Keown didn’t want me to grow up ignorant of the sheer, bile-soaked hatred I have been doused in ever since. Not for me the sunshine, meadows and rainbows of an innocent youth. NOT FOR ME MARTIN KEOWN. NOT FOR ME. BECAUSE OF YOU. MARTIN KEOWN.
In September 2003, September 21st to be precise, in a few short minutes, Martin Keown summed up everything wrong with football in a quite ludicrous display of posturing, shouting and borderline assault that wouldn’t be out of place in a Magic Spongers editorial meeting, were such a thing to exist.
This, friends, this action of basically jumping around like an aroused monkey who couldn’t tell the difference between a pile of shit and a banana but was delighted, really fucking delighted that it turned out to be a banana and he didn’t have to eat shit in front of his mates, was a new low. This was a man celebrating a 0-0 DRAW. A man celebrating the fact that for 90 minutes, he had elbowed, kicked, sworn and hoofed the ball into Row Z for the sake of a goalless draw and for some reason feeling some sense of entitlement and vindication when his opponent missed a last-minute penalty – an outcome he had absolutely no effect on, beyond spouting presumably thoughtless, ill-informed abuse from behind the taker. I WISH van Nistelrooy had scored, you dick.
‘Yeah, take that Jonny Foreigner, how dare you dive and cheat and try and sneak an advantage when you are playing in England? How dare you come over here and do that? How dare you pull shirts and play right on the last shoulder when you know that an arthritic snail would give me a run for my money before I just smashed fuck out of it? How dare you make a meal of something Patrick Vieira’s done to you? This is ENGLAND. I AM ENGLISH. I AM EVERYTHING WRONG WITH ENGLISH FOOTBALL. I AM A DICKHEAD.’
And whose little weasel face is that in the background? Oh it’s ASHLEY COLE. *applauds*. Well done dickhead. It’s good to know Keown retired with such an able deputy in the sodding ranks, isn’t it.
You got a 0-0 lads. Well done. You should be fucking ashamed of yourselves.