Poor King Charles laid his head on the block
January 1649, down came the axe, and
In the silence that followed, the only sound that could be heard, was a solitary giggle,
From Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England
It figures that the geniuses in Monty Python would be best able to describe my feelings as France implodes. First, Nicolas Anelka was sent home yesterday because he refused to apologize to manager Raymond Domenech for a “foul-mouthed tirade” at half time of the Mexico game. Anelka is reported to have said, according to French publication L’Equipe, “Go fuck yourself, you son of a whore.” Now that seems pretty bad, especially without context, but I wouldn’t put it past the temperamental Anelka to say something like that. I would also not put it past the rather idiotic Raymond Domenech to put one of his players in a position to say that. So, nobody wins (except me, because this made me giggle).
Now, today, the entire French team, led by captain Patrice Evra, refused to train. Apparently, the players are united by a protest against Anelka’s expulsion. It’s important to note that they’re not against Domenech, but against the French Football Federation. Domenech read a statement written by the players to the media, which said: “The French Football Federation did not at any time try to protect the group. They took a decision uniquely based on facts reported by the press. As a consequence and to show our opposition to the decision taken by officials of the federation, all the players decided not to take part in today’s training session.” Extraordinary! And giggle-worthy.
We are witnessing the beginning of the end of French soccer for the foreseeable future. I know that Laurent Blanc is taking over after the World Cup (four years too late, in my opinion) but why would he bring in players who are prone to wildcat strikes? Obviously, some players are too good to be excluded, but Anelka is not one of those players. For all his talent, he is eminently replaceable. Blanc is going to have to start over and look at the youth teams and the players who aren’t leading the revolt. And that’s what it is: an open revolt against the federation and the manager. And it makes me giggle.