Friday, 11 December 2009

Swing Low or Judas Iscariot

I've already spoken of one Judas (known as NOT Iscariot) and now move on to arguably (some might say that Simon Peter holds that crown) the most famous of all the 12 - Judas Iscariot. My thoughts naturally turn towards the turncoats of the football world, and I thought I would proffer a little essay on them. Tiresome Tevez has of course been cited as a recent convert to the blue half of Manchester, what with all that stupid poster rubbish, but I don't think he can really count as a true football Judas.
We have had our own of course, in the past. Denis Law is famed for the bitter way in which he (felt he had) contributed to United's relegation with his back heeled goal to give us a 1-0 lead. Similar to the way in which we were convinced we were safe from relegation with a draw under Joe Royle, only to find out that we actually needed to win, however, the fact was that United would have been relegated even if they had managed to draw with us. To be fair to the Lawman, he could not have known this at that time. Law was a City man before signing for the Rags though, and his stellar career was already in decline when he came back to us, so not a top rank Judas. Marks out of 10 (with a healthy bonus for the back-heel) I would say 6 or maybe 7.

These days you would have to say that there is a great deal less store set by loyalty in the football world, and it is a sad fact that upping sticks for the most lucrative offer is now the norm. I'm not sure how much truth there is in the story about Robinho thinking he had signed for United when he came to us, but it is certainly believable. There have been (and are) a couple of hate figures on the scene, but mostly the entirely mercenary nature of players and managers in the game seems to have been accepted with a resigned shrug by the average fan.

Of course, the lovely Ashley gets a bit of a rough ride just off the Holloway Road (and I'm not making a cheap reference to Joe Orton here, I promise) but then, although perhaps not a football Judas in the strictest sense, he is a pretty odious person in general - not just on the pitch - and pretty much deserving of the opprobrium heaped upon him, I say, what with his moral indignation at Arsenal selling him short on 5 grand and all. Marks out of 10, I think - 7. Though without the Cheryl factor, he would only have rated a 6.

Proper venom, a result of the years of bitter herbs and under-achievement, can only be spat out by the other half of North London of course. The mighty Lilywhites and their adoring fans hold a special place in their hearts for Big Sol, guilty of crossing the great divide, and of course going on to bigger and better things with the Gooners than he ever managed with Spurs. Though of course one cannot condone the atrocious chants hurled at him, neither is it acceptable that his brother should have attacked somebody for suggesting that Campbell might be gay. The whole thing smacks of terrible homophobia and racism if you ask me. Elements which are all too prevalent in modern society, despite the constant bemoaning shrieks of the anti-PC brigade. But I digress. On the Judas scale, I would have to give Sol an 8, though of course Spurs/Arsenal crossovers (whether of players or managers, and in either direction) is not entirely without precedent.

So I could go on and on, as I find this an interesting little topic, but I fear it may already have been done to death, so I will conclude with the player I consider (based on around 2 hours of internet study and a quick chat in the pub with a few blokes last night) to be the biggest Judas of all time. In a city where football rivalry has always and will always transcend mere sporting considerations, the story of Mo Johnston's signing for (yes, it's that man again!) Souness at Rangers is a remarkable one. Whatever the real reasons behind the sudden and highly dramatic change of heart to play at Ibrox, it was an act which is still a hot topic for Old Firm fans, and anyone who has a heartbeat (I mean, anyone who calls themselves a footy fan). Given the backdrop of Glasgow rivalry, the last minute decision, and Johnston's record at Rangers, he surely must be awarded a 10 on the Judas scale.

I would welcome any thoughts you may have.

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