Saturday, 28 April 2007

It's Not Natural, But By Jingoism I Love Chelsea

It's entering the realm of the forbidden, I know, but I really do want Chelsea to win in Europe
By Russell Brand

I don't know if I ought to admit this, it seems to be a taboo on a par with snogging pets; which I would never admit to - no, that love will never dare speak its name - probably because "that love's" got a gob full of Winalot to ensnare a randy Scottie dog. Just to clarify, I don't snog my pet or anyone else's and that's why I'd never admit to it, I just wanted to raise the notion of the forbidden, and in so doing have probably placed my relationship with my cat, Morrissey, in jeopardy.

I dare say some people on reading what I'm about to render would prefer I, nightly, dressed Morrissey in little cat suspenders and stilettos and emptied myself of the burden of my masculinity into his perfect fizzog - such is the profundity of my forthcoming admission. So, here it is: When English teams play in Europe, even Chelsea, I don't want them to lose. Actually, I want them to win, in spite of the fact as a West Ham fan (I know I mention this every week but one must cater for the uninitiated, though we can perhaps safely assume that an unsuspecting reader, happening upon this column for the first time would unlikely have got past the earlier, revolting depiction of feline fellatio) at every home game, in all but one of which Chelsea are absent, I am obliged to invite them through song to "stick their blue flag up their arse".

Now, Chelsea play Liverpool in their semi-final (I know that's obvious but again, assume ignorance) and you might imagine that my personal allegiances would lead me to favour a victory for the Reds, and typically they would but I rather like the idea of an epic Manchester United v Chelsea triptych as the finale to the season. Plus, whilst I'm making ill-judged confessions, I like Jose Mourinho. I like his arrogance, his intellect, his determination and, yes, I think he's handsome. This is not to the detriment of my love of West Ham - two crossed Irons is the only tattoo I'd consider having - but when it comes to European competition I like to see English sides do well, Scottish an' all; I was sorry to see Celtic go out to Milan, who I hope lose to United on Wednesday giving us an all-English final.

My patriotism has been enhanced by my current period of prolonged absence; I'm in Hawaii making a film and shall be here for two months. I think army recruitment officials oughtn't focus on depressed British towns but instead our preferred holiday destinations because I'm usually quite an anti-establishment type of fella but out here I weep at any mention of the Albion and would happily kill a man for a slur on Princess Anne, let alone Her Majesty. God forbid anyone should utter a negative word about dear Di - I'd carve the lyrics of Rule Britannia into their chops with a sharpened pineapple.

I suppose the logic of my position (on football not the aforementioned hypothetical Royalist revenge beatings) is that if English football is proven to be the best in Europe West Ham's current position is somehow more tenable - "why, if they were in Serie A they'd be cleaning up." The charges they're facing wouldn't look out of place in the corrupt Italian league of last season. Poor ol' West Ham, who'd've thought the first pair of corporately owned, brokered-in-a-deal by a prospective new-chairman-superstar, South Americans they purchased would have led to such trouble? By the time you read this a decision will have been reached on the Hammers' punishment, I hope it was financial rather than a points deduction, let's get relegated on our own "merit".

I personally think the way the season has panned out is punishment enough - Pardew's gone, we're going down and Mascherano has cleared off to Anfield to immediately and predictably become brilliant, what a fiasco. So surely I'm entitled to a modicum of guilty, patriotic pride when English teams triumph abroad? Please, your Honour? Why, there's not a Uefa-appointed, three-man panel on earth that would convict me.

Guardian column

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