Saturday, 5 May 2007

Daaaaaave Whelan, Is A Whiner, Is A Whiner

Dave Whelan can eff right off, West Ham's only crime is being a shambolic club
By Russell Brand

Dave Whelan, the chairman of Wigan Athletic, in my view, can eff right off. I'm proper brassed off (at first I was just cheesed off, then browned off till eventually I reached the summit - brassed off) with all of West Ham's fellow relegation strugglers clamouring for a points deduction after last week's tribunal decreed that a £5.5m fine would be penalty enough. Six clubs in total, naturally the ones vying with the Irons for a place in the Championship, all met up, like castrato assassins, thumbing their impotent nubs, plotting litigation against a club that have endured a season of unremitting punishment. Eff off.

Where would it all end? If they successfully brought about legal action to convert West Ham's fine to a points deduction West Ham could protest about that and bring action until the fact that this carousel of legal activity was once "the beautiful game" would be forgotten in the blur. It's interesting though to learn how your team is regarded by folk outside the clan. I was tickled to hear Whelan refer to West Ham as "a big club" and a beneficiary of favouritism. Perhaps one judges the size of the team one follows in the context of the chief rivals encountered; and in the Premiership in London that's Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs - all teams that in terms of silverware and funds overshadow West Ham. Not in the area of support though, no, nor in calibre of supporter, that's where the Hammers tower, precisely because we have to endure defeat, ignominy and poverty (not me personally any more, I've recently acquired a nest-egg).

AFC Wimbledon have suffered a deduction this season for comparable offences and this, along with the demented belief that Wigan or Watford, had they similarly transgressed would have their season's points tally reduced by half and be forced to play their remaining games with teams comprising drugged, woodland animals, is the foundation for Whelan's spiteful scheming. He can eff right off. He's simply a bit peeved that West Ham now have a decent chance of avoiding relegation by, horror of horrors, winning football matches. Call me a cad but this is the fashion in which I like to see the Premiership conducted - perhaps Whelan (and I'm fighting powerful urges to grant him an alliterative nickname now, eg, Whining Whelan) would prefer it if instead of facing Bolton at Upton Park on Saturday West Ham appeared at the Old Bailey and had Rumpole or Judge Pickles decide the outcome of the match using their genitals as a sexy divining rod of soccer justice? I reckon he would, I reckon he'd get off on it.

I myself am a bit peeved that Manchester United didn't win in Milan giving us an all-English final but I shan't dwell on it or start a barmy campaign to have Kaka and Ancelotti appear before Chelmsford magistrates' court and be given community service. I shall just wish Liverpool all the best and hope they bring home the cup, even though they prevented West Ham winning their only trophy for 25 years by beating them on penalties in Cardiff last year. I was disappointed after that match and on the way home, with Olympian and chum Ade Adepitan, the two of us grieved and consoled ourselves with the knowledge that football can be painful and seemingly unfair, we didn't try to raise the ghost of Biblical adjudicator King Solomon and ask him if he could stop Stevie Gerrard scoring just as stoppage time began. It's just not on.

West Ham's purchase of Tevez and Mascherano was obviously, to some degree, irregular, but they have been fined five-and-a-half million quid as a result and it's not as if the transaction was an unqualified success - the whole thing's been a right balls up; as was the sacking of Pardew and the bonds scheme which sold the club to the fans a few years back and the enormous expenditure on a daft model of a boat that adorns the club's foyer. West Ham's only crime is that they are a shambolic club. And that is also their punishment.

Guardian column

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