by Tom Exelby
“Lose with class and dignity.” Gary Neville’s words as Mario Gomez sat heartbroken on the Munich pitch, deep in his own thoughts the towering German pondered what might have been as Chelsea hoisted The European Cup aloft. If he looked close enough through the sea of blue delirium he would have seen a man losing with absolutely no class and dignity, Michel Platini, scarcely concealing his contempt as the poster boys of financial doping celebrated. What poetic justice that Platini in his role as EUFA chief was forced to place Champions League medals around the necks of Chelsea players, when what he really wants to do is place a millstone there.
Financial fairplay is so ridiculously flawed and unenforceable that to attack it is boring. Attacking Platini however is not only fun but surprisingly therapeutic. The man is a staunch Anglophobe who resents the continued dominance of English football. How he must have winced as England topped the EUFA coefficient chart for a fifth year in a row this week. Financial fairplay was never about fairness, it was about hurting English football. Platini’s hypocrisy as to his own rules highlight this as he continues to ignore financial doping at Paris st Germain. Whilst turning a blind eye to mounting debt at Barcelona and Real Madrid despite their exclusive TV deals which already cripple the rest of La Liga.
Having highlighted his anti-Englishness I will now revel in his misery whilst he handed out the medals. It truly was a horrible few minutes for the Frenchman; he cracked a smile only once, presumably after he caught a glimpse at the back of Salomon Kalou’s head, and was said to be privately disgusted with Roman Abramovich’s request for a receipt. He didn’t even laugh when George Osbourne pointed out that John Obi Mikel looks exactly like Tracy Chapman. The best moment though was definitely his Gallic shrug when forced to shake hands with Fernando Torres, bought for 50 million pounds the week Chelsea announced losses of 70 million.
The worst for Platini is perhaps still to come though. The Premier League’s global popularity continues to soar in the wake of the most exciting season ever. The finest player in France: Eden Hazard, looks likely to cross the English channel, and Japanese superstar Shinji Kagawa has been linked with the Premier League. All this and then the added threat of Manchester City, financially doped to the eyeballs the mere thought of their Champions League quest next year must terrify Platini.
One thing is for sure though, Platini will continue to attack English football. He is becoming more and more of a charicature of himself; his next opportunity will come if England have a poor showing at Euro 2012. He will no doubt claim it’s all down to the financial doping of our clubs but next time he attacks us I will not get angry, I will simply go on to Youtube and watch his contorted little face, smoke bursting from his ears as he hands Europe’s greatest club prize to Frank Lampard, John Terry and Jose Bosingwa.