by Wayne Farry
– Barca’s players take a break from not paying their taxes to take the place of Ancelotti’s unlimited spend FM save at the top of La Liga.
– Serie A clubs vote to give Parma emergency fund to complete this season’s league fixtures.
This week’s Farry Report will start off with a minute’s silence – or whatever the text equivalent of a minute’s silence is – for the death of football as we know it. This last week, one that should have been a joy with midweek Premier League fixtures and the FA Cup at the weekend, turned into one that we’d all love to forget. One that will haunt our thoughts, both sleeping and waking, like the scene with Prince Oberyn and The Mountain from the last season of Game of Thrones. Not only did we witness spitting this week but also a pitch invasion. A PITCH INVASION! Even the term “pitch invasion” is so militant, it evokes images of stewards battening down the hatches as waves and waves of Orc-like fans descend upon the plush green surface where their heroes dance. Don’t let it be forgotten that these “fans”, if they can call themselves that, were wielding spears, whips and tridents. I haven’t been updated on the situation today but the last time I looked, they had taken control of Villa Park and were planning on seceding from the United Kingdom. Good luck to them. Spitting of course is the worst thing that can be done on a football pitch. It “breaks the footballers’ code” apparently. What code this is exactly, I’m still not sure of. Is this the code where it’s okay to racially abuse someone or make homophobic statements to them? Is this the code whereby it’s seen as acceptable for the most talented players on the pitch to have lumps kicked out of them? Perhaps it’s even the same code whereby a player having his leg broken by a “proper, old fashioned tackle” is seen simply as part of the game. But none of us are footballers, so we can’t pretend to know what it’s like. Maybe, in the heat of the moment, it is preferable to be mocked for your skin colour or be able to see your bone through your sock than have someone else’s saliva across your face. During my experience playing amateur football as a youth, I once had my jaw fractured by an oaf of an opponent’s knee being directed at my face. The incident also resulted in a severe concussion. Maybe it’s just me and my soft ways, but I think I’d have preferred tasting my opponent’s spit instead.
We take a much-deserved trip away from nasty English football over to Spain where there was some tasty football action this weekend. FC Barcelona’s players took a break this past weekend from their favourite pastime – tax-evading – to absolutely pulverise Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou. Lionel Messi scored a hat trick to set a new hat trick record of 32 in La Liga as the Blaugrana rose to the top of the league. This man is just stupidly, ridiculously good. 32 hat tricks, more than most teams have had scored for them in the last decade. At this rate, numbers will not be sufficient in determining Messi’s statistics anymore. The same goes for Ronaldo on this but Messi’s achievements have almost been overshadowed by his own brilliance. We have grown so accustomed to seeing him score over 40 goals a season that we forget it was virtually unthinkable before he came along. Anyhow, I digress. The day before Barca unceremoniously ravaged Vallecano their rivals Real Madrid faced Athletic Bilbao at San Mames. They have a decent record there in past seasons but came undone thanks to a goal from Aritz Aduriz, his tenth of the campaign. It would appear that Carlo Ancelotti’s unlimited spend FM save of a Madrid side have had a crisis of confidence since being humbled by their city rivals in February and although they look set to progress in the Champions League, they don’t look the same side in La Liga. Cristiano Ronaldo is going through the sort of form loss that he’d only ever previously read about and it seems to be seriously effecting the rest of the side. With both sides well ahead of holders Atletico it appears that La Liga has returned to being a good old fashioned two horse race but we neutrals can only hope that Simeone’s men rediscover last season’s spirit to add a little spice to the remaining twelve fixtures.
Finally, we pop down to Italy with some much-needed (sorta) good news on every child from Britain and Ireland’s favourite Italian team from the Football Italia days – Parma. The side, who are a walking, talking, barely breathing example of how not to run a club have been granted somewhat of a reprieve by their fellow clubs in Italy. The majority of Serie A clubs voted to give the side access to an emergency fund so as to fulfil their fixtures for the rest of the season. It would appear this decision has had more to do with TV money than any great desire to keep one of Italy’s greatest teams in the division but regardless of the motives, it’s slightly encouraging. You can’t help but feel there may have been whiffs of “there but for the grace of God go we” about it too. Of course, it looks inevitable they’ll go down as their unpaid players have garnered only 11 points so far this season but better that they go down the right way (pardon) then simply be kicked out of the league. Actually, after reading back what I wrote now, that really doesn’t seem like good news at all. At least Parma can be thankful that as bad as things have gotten this season, there have been no pitch invasions. Yet.