Between the Lines was beginning to fret, what to write about without the excitement and drama of the English Premier League? With just a boring international break to make do with, BTL was pleasantly surprised…
As publicity stunts go, it was rather mundane – ‘professional footballer plays football match’ is not the most original or daring act of attention-grabbing in this world of twerking, yet the magic lies with the simplicity. I am of course talking about Gabby Agbonlahor’s clattering of 1 Direction member, singing sensation and sex icon, Louis Tomlinson during Stylian Petrov’s testimonial.
Other sportsmen have opted for mainstream methods of publicity such as David Haye on I’m a Celebrity, whilst Robbie Savage and Michael Vaughan have utilised Strictly Come Dancing to remind the world they still exist. This is why full marks must go to Agbonlahor’s advisers. A decent enough player, if not spectacular, ‘The Gab’ must be seething that he is overlooked for national duty time and again. With England’s list of injuries/can’t-be-bothered-to-play-for-my-country players numbering in the thousands, sources close to the Aston Villa ace say he is considering an early retirement from International football. This would be a great shame. Who can forget his majestic performances during his three caps for England? How this will affect England’s World Cup chances is, as yet, unclear. At FA headquarters it is said to be considered a hammer blow, with the chairman Greg Dyke already revising his plan for English success at a World Cup from 2022 to 2460.
In light of this, Gabby’s nailing of Louis Tomlinson, who recently signed for Doncaster Rovers (I kid you not) in the transfer window, can only be considered as a last gasp attempt to get the attention of Roy Hodgson. It is exactly this kind of aggression and passion that was severely lacking in England’s match against Ukraine. Gabriel Agbonlahor must now be the first name on the plane to Rio next summer. Stranger things have happened, think of Alan Hansen’s MOTD contract. Hansen gets £40,000 per episode for roughly 10 minutes of analysis, this works out at £4,000 per minute. It is enough to make you feel sorry for Gareth Bale whose £300,000 a week contract only works out at £29.76 a minute. In football terms, that’s basically the minimum wage. Then again Hansen has had to sit next to Lawro for 20 odd years.
In other serious news, this week Kyle Walker was in trouble for laughing. Luckily the English media didn’t see any reason to blow this out of proportion with terms such as ‘hippy crack’ or ‘can even lead to death’. England fans needn’t worry or question Walker as a role model, the whole incident merely resembles Walker’s coming of age as an international player. Though his performance against Ukraine was really no laughing matter.
All this and Between the Lines has run out of room to mention Wales manager Chris Coleman. Briefly, he forgot his passport as he tried to catch a flight to Macedonia. He then didn’t bring on that man Bale when losing and they eventually and inevitably lost 2-1. Coleman’s contract is up for renewal, with negotiations beginning any day. The football season is well and truly up and running.