I’m off to the Motherland for a week. I leave you with this deliciously biting piece from Marina Hyde in today’s Guardian.
The price of Cole could leave you feeling a bit sick.
Summary: Ashley Cole is an arrogant, conceited, nasty little fvckhead.
I don’t always like Hyde’s opinions but she’s spot on here.
The piece, for the link-adverse, is after the jump.
Thierry Henry once called Ashley Cole “misunderstood”, which even at the time perplexed those of us who viewed him as the least misunderstood man in football.
Once again, in recent weeks, Ashley has found himself suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, and it makes one wonder whether it isn’t time to reappraise the Premier League’s Prince of Denmark, or at least give the revisionist voice an airing. After all, as a great sage once remarked: “One man’s version of history is another man’s different account.” Apologies – I meant to say “as Ashley Cole once remarked”. In fact, you may have recognised the aphorism from Ashley’s spellbinding 2006 tome My Defence: the very work to which the mind has often wandered in recent days.
Frankly, has the time ever seemed more ripe for My Defence 2, the next thrilling instalment in the Ashley Cole story? Geri Halliwell had published two autobiographies by the time she was 30; Jordan is already on her third.
It is imperative that Ashley is persuaded to break this latest silence, given that My Defence 2 could easily pick up where the last one left off. As I recall, it ended on a sublimely self-congratulatory note, which would certainly unlock the potential for dramatic irony as the Chelsea defender’s persecution complex lurches into its second act.
On this occasion, admittedly, the publishers might want to slim down the print run. But purchasers of the original hardback volume – all 3,000-odd of them, many of whom are believed to be functioning humanoids with voting rights – will recall that Ashley possesses a distinct authorial voice, which would be perfectly suited to the latest list of travails that have been visited upon his person.
Above all, Mr Cole and his ghostwriter had a gift for glossing situations. Where others persist in seeing the cloud as opposed to the silver lining, Ashley extracts victory from situations most others would regard as being something of a personal defeat. Recall how he managed to sublimate Chelsea’s illegally tapping-up while he was an Arsenal player into a chance encounter enlivened by “general chit-chat”, as though the Royal Park Hotel at Lancaster Gate was nothing more than the setting for a Noël Coward comedy starring Peter Kenyon (if you can imagine such a theatrical highlight).
Now imagine how that tone could be applied to recent events in the left-back’s life. A few weeks ago we were informed that on the occasion of his being parted from the contents of his stomach – in the car of someone best described as “not his wife” – Ashley was chastised by his fellow passengers. His retort? “She should be privileged Ashley Cole was sick in her car.” You see, he always finds a bright side.
And he has had more need to than most. Reading My Defence, and virtually all subsequent interviews with the international defender, you realise that he is cursed to fight forever against a system stacked against him as The Man battles to withhold every scrap of love, every £5,000-a-week pay rise, and every decision in his favour. In My Defence 2, Ashley’s skill will be to remind us that it’s the whole damn system which lacks respect – not our misunderstood hero. As he so convincingly put it in My Defence 1: “It’s never been about money. It is about respect . . . You want to be loved and wanted. I don’t think I got respected or held in high regard.”
I guess you could say Arsenal turned their backs on him.
As for the most famous passage in My Defence – when a screaming Ashley nearly swerves his Aston Martin off the road after being told that Arsenal will only go to £55,000 a week as opposed to meeting his demand for £60,000 – well, which of us would not like to see that tone of righteous indignation applied to his treatment, at White Hart Lane the other night, at the hands of the referee Mike Riley, who absolutely declined to show him sufficient love and respect?
That Ashley and his droogs ended up in the dock was yet another injustice meted out to our serial victim – who, let’s not forget, simply produced My Defence because he “wanted people to understand what I have been through”.
So with misery lit the biggest shifter of copies these days, My Defence 2 must be rushed out without delay. Alternatively, seeing as Ashley exists in a sort of Bizarro Premier League, the title itself could be re-imagined. I’m seeing Ashley Through The Looking Glass, perhaps trailed with the line: “Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the bookshop.”
I’m off. Laters.