Football fans are often accused of fickleness, but there is a rather unfortunate consistency about our treatment of Hossam Ghaly.
It is well over a year since he pulled off his Spurs shirt and flung it on the ground, incurring the wrath of fans throughout the stadium and beyond. Yesterday, as he readied himself for his first substitute appearance since, the N17 regulars began spitting feathers at the sight, and ‘Arry thought better of it. It appears that young Ghaly may have played his last game for Spurs.
I’d imagine that there was nothing malicious in Ghaly’s act of throwing away the shirt. Bear in mind that he had just suffered the ignominy of being substituted having only himself entered the fray as a substitute. He must therefore have been most irked at life in general and his manager – Martin Jol (blessed be his name) – in particular. In front of 36,000 people, that’s pretty humiliating.Oh, that he had instead vented his displeasure by grinding his teeth, or kicking a water bottle, or burning a small annoying child. We’d have understood that, maybe even sympathised and surely moved on.
But pulling off the legendary lilywhite shirt and tossing it to the dirt, proud cockerel and all, could diplomatically be described as an ill-advised move. In an age in which fans pay astronomical prices for their 90 minutes of torture, and in which working-class supporters feel increasingly distanced from the multi-millionaire prima donnas who take to the pitch, the lack of regard for the badge, the very identity of the club, was a pretty poorly-constructed plan of action from one of the players.
Understandably, many will regard the booing of fans over a year later, as a childish over-reaction. Fair point. But offensive it ain’t. It’s an expression of disapproval, to which, I think, fans are entitled.
Having spent every spare minute of his press conferences over Christmas twitching and complaining about the size of his squad, ‘Arry will now presumably have to do without Ghaly. I can’t really say that my heart bleeds for the player – he presumably feels hard done-by, but the oodles of cash pouring in every week will soften the blow, my sympathy dwindling in direct proportion. If he wants a sympathetic ear, he should pop down to the south coast and have a nice warm cuppa with one Sulzeer Campbell esquire.
Every time ‘Arry’s played 4-5-1 I’ve bemoaned the lack of support for the lone striker. Yesterday it was 4-4-2, and he entrusted holding duties to Zokora alone, with Modric the attacking half a central midfield pair. Now a slightly cumbersome win against a second-string Wigan team will have very few (outside All-Action-No-Plot Towers) singing from the rooftops, but I’m much encouraged.
Whether or not Zokora and Modric are a sufficiently strong central pairing to cut it in the Premiership is an entirely different kettle of fish, and frankly I suspect they’re not. Still, the tweaked formation, and its success, give ‘Arry food for thought.
Not too pleased about the emergence of yet another alice-band in the ranks though. Lose it, Luka.