Saturday, August 05, 2006

West Ham Fans Praised by Gerrard

It is interesting to compare what Steven Gerrard had to say about West Ham after the FA Cup final with the bile Lumpard published in The Sun yesterday,

"After I finally laid off spraying people with champagne and was leaving the Millennium pitch, Alan Pardew stopped me and shook my hand. ‘I’d hoped you were saving that for the World Cup,’ he said with a smile. Top man. Pardew’s players were also first-class. They came across, man after man, concealing their agony to say, ‘Well done.’ Everyone associated with West Ham behaved with real dignity in Cardiff, just like the way I try to be in defeat. If they had won, Liverpool could not have complained. Too many of our players were too disappointing. West Ham were desperately unfortunate to lose. Having played so well, it must have been gut-wrenching to go home without the FA Cup, yet they were all gracious. It really moved me that in their hour of utter desolation, West Ham fans stayed behind to applaud as I lifted the FA Cup. I’ll never forget that sporting gesture. I’m Liverpool through and through, head to toe, but I have a place in my heart for West Ham supporters after Cardiff. Fans like West Ham United’s make football special. Usually when we do a lap of honour with a cup, the opponents’ section is empty. The fans have disappeared, dragging their heartache with them. Not in Cardiff on 13 May 2006.

The West Ham fans were tremendous, clapping us as we paraded the cup. Both sets of fans were brilliant, which made it such a terrific occasion."

Thursday's Guardian carried a review of Lumpard's biography. Here are some of the comments that won't be published on the cover of his book,

"... we are condemned to turn the pages of volumes like Totally Frank with a mixture of ennui and mild revulsion. Naturally, it's all there. Frank's riches-to-riches story, the impression that he's the first person ever to become a father, the charity work. I dare you to give a stuff.

The sole effect of this tide of self-regarding tedium is to take the edge off any excitement about the start of the season.


Consider Lampard's reflections after a fortnight spent on Roman Abramovich's yacht. "I suppose people imagine that as a Premiership footballer, my life is quite special," he hazards. "I would agree, but those two weeks opened my eyes to another world." Ah, a millionaire yearning to be a billionaire ... is there anything more charmless?


Frank's capacity for self-delusion is least alluringly deployed when he turns his thoughts to the infamous Ayia Napa video, in which an unnamed man films him, Rio Ferdinand and Kieron Dyer "romping" with two girls they have picked up in the resort before ordering them to perform a lesbian sex show. It subsequently found its way to the News of the World.

I have no idea whether Frank has seen this tape since it was made, but he would have done well to have forced himself through a viewing by way of background research. Its details were heavily sanitised to protect the News of the World's fabled reputation as a "family newspaper", but as someone who has seen the uncut version I find it fairly remarkable that he was able to simply dismiss the episode as "an error of judgment", and - as my colleague Martin Kelner noted on Monday - fail to offer any expression of regret for the humiliation caused to the girls involved."

Gerrard - top bloke and excellent footballer
Lampard - twat


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