Spurs manager Harry Redknapp was depicted as a Scrooge-like figure in the popular press last week, which makes a change for a man who from the canon of Dickens’ characters, is more often compared to the Artful Dodger.
This is because Harry last week declared that there will be no Christmas party at Tottenham this year. He thinks that players shouldn’t be celebrating during a congested fixture schedule and that the best time for a party is at the end of the season, if Spurs have achieved something.
Having witnessed the horror that was Tottenham Hotspur v Wolverhampton Wanderers at the weekend, I’ve got my doubts as to whether the bunting will be cracked out at White Hart Lane come the end of May.
What’s more, Harry is being too soft in merely cancelling Christmas. After such an inept performance, the Spurs players shouldn’t be allowed to have birthday parties, receive Easter eggs, or attend Bar Mitzvahs.
Tottenham can now be backed at 5.0 to qualify for next season’s Champions League, having slipped out of the top four following their defeat to Wolves.
Despite their hopelessness on Saturday, that isn’t a bad price when you consider that the Villa team that they dominated a couple of weeks ago are at 3.5; Manchester City are 2.52 even though spend more time drawing than Tony Hart; while Liverpool at 2.34 look as if they will soon have to make a decision as to whether sacking Rafa Benitez or being relegated will prove the more expensive.
You can’t blame Redknapp for taking the hard line, after Giovani Dos Santos was pictured sprawled on the pavement after last season’s Christmas bash. When you consider that Ledley King was also arrested after a drunken night out and David Bentley managed to wrap his motor round a lamppost when under the influence, then the players should thank their lucky stars that Harry’s not making them attend weekly AA meetings.
Christmas parties at football clubs often lead to trouble, as was the case at the Emirates the other week when a half naked Tony Pulis ended up grappling with James Beattie as if they were auditioning for the remake of Women in Love, when merely discussing their festivities.
At Manchester City a few years ago, they had to deal with the aftermath when the loveable rogue Joey Barton decided to stub out his cigar on the eyelid of the youth team player, Jamie Tandy. Such an incident can rather kill the atmosphere of a party, but fortunately the spirit of Christmas fun was maintained, due to the fact that Barton was dressed as Jimmy Saville at the time.
Then there was West Ham’s Hayden Foxe, who during their Christmas party at Sugar Reef, decided to eschew the toilet and instead urinate all over the bar. The incident gave new meaning to the phrase ‘West Ham’s leaky defence’.
Steve McMahon expressed horror when someone turned up at Liverpool’s shindig dressed in a Ku Klux Klan costume. “You can’t come in like that,” said McMahon, “John Barnes is in there.” The visitor whipped off his hood and said: “No, he’s in here”. As jokes by John Barnes go, it was certainly funnier that his recent stint at Tranmere.
Once upon a time a footballer could get drunk without much fear of reprisals. Which is why most of them were plastered every afternoon, rather than just at Christmas.
These days, when the paparazzi are always waiting for footballers to slip up and members of the public have their camera phones at the ready, footballers need to realise that the goalposts have moved.
Christmas may be cancelled this year, but fifty grand a week will pay for a lot of parties in retirement.
Reproduced with permission from betting.betfair.com. Ã‚Â© The Sporting Exchange Limited
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