Friday, February 29, 2008

William Gallas: No Entiendo

Another thing that has been rattling around in my brain all week was the reaction in Britain to Arsenal captian William Gallas' behavior at the end of the Birmingham-Arsenal match. He kind of freaked out a bit when Birmingham was awarded a last minute penalty- he stormed off to the far end of the field, then when McFadden converted the penalty he kicked the shit out of the advertising board, and then at the final whistle he fell to the ground and was pretty emotional.

Hard to describe unless you saw it. As Myles said:

In that moment, Gallas saw 8 months of hard work by 30 people go down the toilet . Having started the game by witnessing the most horrific injury he'd ever seen, Gallas ended it with a close-up view of the most stupid defensive error he'd ever seen.

Anyhow, what struck me through the week is how the press in Britain reacted to his actions. He was universally criticized, and he was slammed pretty hard for acting inappropriately, especially for a captain, and some even said that Arsenal should strip him of the captaincy or sell him. Like the injury porn thing, I couldn't help but compare this to how this would have been reported in America. I'm pretty certain that here he would be praised for being emotional, that showing emotion would be a positive thing, showing his team how much he cared and how they should to, setting an example to the team & younger players, he cares so much, etc, etc.

Interesting to say the least.

Furthermore, this is the country who counts Gazza's emotional outburst when he broke down crying in the middle of a match at World Cup 1990 as one of the defining moments in their sporting history, and this was lauded rather than condemned.

Would the reaction to Gallas' actions be different if he wasn't Gallic but rather British?

Color me confused.


beast in 'bama said...

He'd get some criticism here, but you're right - there would be a lot more praise for his "passion" than criticism for flipping his lid. Per your last question, I don't believe it has anything to do with his being a Franc. If Terry or Carragher did the same thing, I believe they'd get jumped on the same way. I think it's more of an English "good show" sort of thing.

Tangentially, how much do you think Gallas' behavior reflects that of his manager? I have all the respect in the world for Wenger, but even he admits that he could handle losing a lot better. (While the penalty kick play in question didn't technically result in a loss, it was probably the laziest, worst piece of defending I've seen all season.) Another instance of this would be Adebeyor's hitting out at Bendtner earlier this year during a bad loss.

I'm not saying Arsenal players don't have class - far from it. At least they're taking it out on signs - or each other - instead of the other team or the ref (can you say Chel$ea?). The remainder of that Birmingham game proves their professionalism and class. How they resisted the urge to crucify anything in blue after the DaSilva play is amazing.

But...when things don't go well, there seems to be a well of petulance and hostility that comes bubbling to the surface. Wenger's comments after the game (although totally understandable under the circumstances) are yet another example.

And maybe it's why they're winning the league...

Kanu said...

YEah, my response when I saw it was much more "cool/good/wow he really CARES that much, and in no way is that a bad thing", and certainly he got a pass for being emotional with me after seeing 1) Eduardo's injury which was sickening 2) his team go 0-1 down to 10 men 3) his team come back to look like closing out a 2-1 and keeping the pressure on ManUtd at the top of the table 4) the worst defensive brain fart/fuckup we've all seen in quite some time 5) a penalty awarded in the last minute that was in no way shape or forma penalty {Clichy clearly got the ball and them dude fell over his outstretched thigh- a beyond awful call} 6) McFadden equalize with the last kick of the match 7) 2 crucial points in the title race literally thrown away.

Like I said, for me I dug it, in this era of overpaid mercenary professional athletes who often go through the motions, pick up huge paychecks, and try hard only when they are really bothered, my reactions to his emotions were positive.

I think Gallas is jsut a heart on his sleeve kind of guy- I don'e see any correlation between that and Wenger, just different personalities.

I'm really not a good person to discuss Arsene objectively, as I love that dude way too much to ever be unbiased.

The Bendtner thing- apparently dude has a massive ego who has yet to prove nearly enough to merit such an attitude, and who is an arrogant ass who is not well liked by his teammates. He and Adebayor's ongoing not liking each other manifested itself by Ade failing to square an easy pass to NB26 that he could have walked into the goal to ice that game and 3 points on Sat. Myles wrote this week that no one is passing to NB26- I hadn't noticed that myself, but will be looking more closely at that from here on out. As talented as NB26 is, he seems bad for team chemistry, which is so important to Wenger {seriously, has dude ever given an interview or comment when he didn't mention 'team spirit'?}, and I wouldn't be surprised if Wenger sells him this summer {and would also not be surprised if he goes on to be a great number 9 striker}.

At that level, if you like to lose then you are in the wrong business, and yes people overreact to it from time to time, but Wenger is usually more classy than not. Frustrating that the press jump all over his initial comments after the match while completely ignoring/diminishing his rescinding of those comments later that day once he had calmed down. But again, I am not a good person to discuss AW in an objective manner.

Yes, he aloofly {is that a word} fails to see things that his team does sometimes, but name one other manager that would have offered up to replay that Sheffield Utd FA Cup match after winning on a goal where Kanu wasn't aware of the give it back to the team that put it out of touch rule. No other manager would have done that, not one.