You’ve been dumped by your girlfriend, sacked from your job, and informed that the mysterious lump under your arm isn’t going to disappear anytime soon.
All on the same day.
You slump utterly despondent in front of the television and try to find distraction. Perhaps even hope.
Eventually you settle upon a film you have seen countless times before. The plot is familiar – Kevin Spacey is a deranged loon punishing the residents of a rainy, anonymous city for biblical sins. Brad Pitt over-acts terribly in a cool leather jacket, Morgan Freeman plays….well, Morgan Freeman, and Paltrow’s stunt double for the gripping finale is a cardboard box.
You’ve seen the film countless times yet tonight, as the sorrow for your woes calcifies into bitter rancour, its bleak, judgemental message hits home like never before. It speaks to you. People should be punished for their sins. There is too much evil in this world and the wrong-doers always get off scot-free. This is just not fair.
You imagine them, healthy and content, in their beds, entangled in sleep next to their girlfriends. With a job to get up for tomorrow morning.
And you scheme a real-life rampage of retribution. A vengeful slaying of Spacey-esque proportions.
The political world is briefly considered. But assassinations were already old-hat when John Wilkes-Booth took theatre reviewing to new heights back in the day.
Something more original perhaps.
Celebrities? By their very definition they simply aren’t worth it.
Eventually, after much thought, a dark lightbulb pings.
Of course. It’s perfect! The corrupt, immoral cesspool that is modern-day football.
If any section of society was deserving of your personal Armageddon it was these over-paid, arrogant numb-nuts.
But who should suffer? And how?
At this point the Daisy Cutter steps in with some handy suggestions….
Sin – Pride
Victim – Mark Clattenburg
To err is human but the blundering electrician from Durham abuses this privilege on a regular basis. Time and again he comes up short as a matchday official and, time and again, he obstinately refuses to yield an inch to his many critics. This almost certainly stems from a colossal arrogance but also, presumably, from being too proud to admit to his multitude of high-profile gaffes.
Which makes him the perfect fit for this original of all sins.
Pride is identified as a desire to be more important or attractive than others, and an excessive love of self. Clattenburg regards himself as being the star of the show and, in a hilarious concession to vanity, recently underwent a hair transplant.
Dante’s description of pride includes the line – ‘contempt for one’s neighbour’.
Evertonians would definitely attest to that after his shocking Derby display in 2007 when he dismissed Tony Hibbert at the direct behest of Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.
A referee who is star-struck, vain, suffers delusions of grandeur, and is capable of the most calamitous howlers ever witnessed on a football pitch (that co-incidentally always seem to occur at Old Trafford in favour of the home side). For these transgressions and more, Clattenburg is the first of our seven to receive a permanent red-card.
Please don’t feel sympathy for the man. He once sent an e-mail to a business rival with the closing line – ‘taking me to court might cause your family some pain’.
Punishment of choice – Forced to wear a comedy Rabbi costume and a United top he is bound at the wrists and ankles, with a whistle gaffer-taped to his mouth, and unceremoniously thrown into The Bricklayers Arms, next to White Hart Lane, on match-day.
Sin – Gluttony
Victim – Tom Huddlestone
Astonishingly this chunky leg-stamper expected praise at the beginning of last season as he proudly declared that he’d finally cut back on his porklife and got some exercise. The secret to his leaner physique (though still hardly svelte by any stretch of the imagination) was in no longer eating sugary foods and sauces.
That’s Tom Huddlestone, professional athlete, who gets paid millions of pounds a year to be cheered on by thousands of supporters…with the simple proviso that he doesn’t shovel in Egg McMuffins every time he feels peckish.
It’s akin to a Hollywood superstar boasting of discovering a new-found dedication to his craft because he’s deigned to learn his lines in future.
Huddlestone may have attempted to redeem himself following several seasons of lardily waddling around the centre-circle, huffing and puffing after ten minutes, but the lesson was so elementary it simply didn’t need learning in the first place.
Punishment of choice – Strapped to the end of a conveyor belt of doughnuts, his mouth forced wide open with metal pins. The machine is started by whichever poor sod failed a schoolboy trial in favour of ‘Tiny’ Tom.
Sin – Envy
Victim – Vinnie Jones
In strictly biblical terms this heinous wrongdoing is not a straight-forward case of jealousy – we are all capable of being visited by the green-eyed monster on occasion – but rather a resentment at not possessing something another person has and, crucially, wishing them to be deprived of it.
Dante himself defined envy as ‘a desire to deprive other men of theirs’.
Who more fitting then to be slain for such a misgiving than a hod-carrying clogger who blemished an entire decade of professional football with thuggery, leg-breaks and savagely elbowing eye-sockets from their moorings.
For the entire duration of his sham, ignoble career Vincent Peter Jones single-handedly desecrated any artistry from our national sport, regularly dragging the likes of Anfield and Highbury down to the level of Hackney marshes on a Sunday morning. He was a one-man wrecking ball hell-bent on demolishing anything of beauty created by architects who possessed talents he could only dream of.
For thirteen long years we had to endure this Neanderthal lout, this pissed-up tramp gate-crashing a dinner party.
Now its pay-back time.
Punishment of choice – In tribute to his shit films Jones is ‘sorted’ with a ‘shooter’ following a high-octane, wheel-screeching car chase. A picture of Gascoigne bamboozling an opponent with a sublime piece of skill is placed upon his still, angry corpse.
Sin – Lust
Victim – Wayne Rooney
We’re spoilt for choice here. Footballers, by their very nature, are predatory philanderers forever seeking out their latest gullible slapper to smother with love-goo and bruises.
But Rooney must be singled out as the next recipient of rightful vengeance for the additional crime of cheating with such punch-ugly munters.
At least his colleagues hump-and-dump girls with vitality and a semblance of beauty even if such qualities are barely visible beneath a veneer of bronze-tanning and hair-extensions.
Being married to the human incarnation of Blackburn Rovers (Coleen will never be glamorous irrespective of wealth, and is not particularly pleasant to watch) it’s perhaps forgivable that his wandering loins occasionally get the better of him.
But a geriatric scrubber dressed as a cowgirl? Followed by a succession of grimy tarts you’d be reluctant to even shake hands with? A previous United legend barebacked numerous Miss Worlds for God’s sake! Those were the days.
Punishment of choice – Snared with a monkey net and injected with STDs.
Sin – Sloth
Victim – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Following last season’s Champions League semi-final first-leg between Inter Milan and Barcelona a shocking statistic emerged. Throughout the entire ninety-minutes Barca forward Ibrahimovic had run only four hundred metres more than his own goalkeeper Victor Valdes.
Such a meagre aggregate from an outfield player seems utterly implausible until you consider the man in question. The lolloping Swede, who bears an uncanny resemblance to British comic Miranda Hart, has always been ‘economical’ with his running. That’s a polite way of saying he’s a lazy twat.
Punishment of choice – Led at gunpoint to a treadmill atop a tall building. The machine is backed up precariously close to the edge. Ibra has to run to prevent himself from sliding into the abyss. But you just keep on cranking up the speed dial….
Sin – Greed
Victim – Ashley Cole
Christ, where do we start? Theoretically all professional footballers are guilty of this particular sin, ‘earning’ as they do weekly pay-packets of Croesusian magnitude. So it takes a special breed of imbecile to be separated from the grazing herd of cash-cows and singled out for blame.
Footballers today reside in a near-fantasy state where packets of cigarettes cost two hundred quid (a recent trivial revelation concerning Rooney) and top of the range sports cars can be purchased merely to alleviate an afternoon’s boredom.
Yet at least most of them – perhaps all but one – are aware of their need to feign appreciation for their ill-deserved fortunes; to conceal from the general public the sheer depths of their ignorance and detachment from reality.
We all know the story by now but its one worth retelling.
Cole was at Arsenal since he was a kid. Over a number of years they invested a great deal of time and expertise helping him become England’s best left-back.
When it came time to renew his contract the player wanted £60,000 a week. The club ‘only’ offered £55,000.
In his autobiography Cole claims he first heard about the offer whilst driving back from his mother’s house. He almost swerved off the road and felt ‘upset and confused’ and was ‘trembling with anger’ at such a derisory amount.
The astonishing factor was not Cole’s outrage – such quibbling over figures is common-place – but that he was so delusional in believing he could extract sympathy from the readers for his plight; readers such as plumbers, mechanics, IT workers, who could only daydream about earning such extravagant money one Monday to the next.
It was a unique circumstance because it united all supporters, regardless of club allegiance, in airing their disgust at such breath-taking avarice and shone a damning spotlight on the spoilt-brat mentality of a Premiership footballer.
Punishment of choice – Poisoned with a vat of ink stolen from the Bank of England. It should be administered slowly so initially ‘Cashley’ feels upset and confused.
Sin – Wrath
Victim – Slur Alex Ferguson
A sixty-nine year old pensioner should be doling out sweeties to his grandchildren and driving ten miles an hour beneath the national speed limit. Witnessing Ferguson’s fury on the touchline; his face puce with outrage; his chewing gum manically flying around his Scottish gob, is an unnerving, unedifying sight.
Suitable dignified behaviour of a knight of the realm? We think not.
Punishment of choice – Straight-jacketed and made to watch Taibi and Howard goalkeeping howlers and the 1989 5-1 defeat to neighbours City over and over, his eyelids forced open with matchsticks a la Clockwork Orange, until his blood vessels explode.
DISCLAIMER – The Daisy Cutter in no way advocates that such punishments should be meted out to the individuals mentioned above. It is merely a poor attempt at humorous prose.
If you are mentally-unbalanced enough to actually consider such actions we seriously suggest you visit a psychiatrist or target the X-Factor judges instead.