The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.

We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.

Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.

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Tiny Slaps to the Face of Nemanja Vidić

Drogba slaps Vidić

Slap #1. Light posting for the rest of the week as I attempt to cope with the fallout of my match correspondent running off with the daughter of Vladimir Lenin’s embalmer. Is he okay? Is he dead? Does he think I’m going to pay for his plane fare? I know as much as you do at this point.

Slap #2. On that note, if you happen to see an American guy in his mid-to-late 20s running around with a Russian girl who’s transcendently out of his league, please send me the name of your location. Actually, that could be a lot of different things. Do some research on your own first.

Slap #3. I thought it was an exciting match! No, it wasn’t a feast of goals, but that just made it more intense at the end, as the players were battling each other, the weather, the pitch, and the wrath of whatever fate sent so many good shots crashing off the woodwork. It felt like a scene in an action movie in which the principals fight the death while clinging to a ledge over a precipice. No, they can’t use all their moves, but they’re dangling over a thousand-foot drop. And still hitting each other. Literally, in Drogba’s case.

Slap #4. That said, Rooney, Drogba, Essien (in the first half), Ronaldo (in the second half), Ferdinand, and Joe Cole were well below their best. Rooney actually wasn’t as bad as a lot of people are saying—he made some good passes, especially in the first half, and set up an attack that was botched by Tevez and Carrick—but never managed to find a shot for himself. Ferdinand, I thought, was worse than people are saying—scattered and inconsistent. No one’s saying anything about Joe Cole, which is just about right.

Slap #5. Numerous writers and bloggers are mocking Terry today for breaking down in tears after the end of the match. What the hell, Internet? You want him to go through an experience like that and be totally unmoved by it? And then you want to complain that modern footballers don’t care enough about the game? Just so we’ve got that straight, then.

Slap #6. It wasn’t Terry’s fault that he slipped on the wet grass as he was taking his penalty. That said, if Hamlet wouldn’t have stabbed Polonius, Ophelia would have been the Queen of Denmark. It’s a fine line between tragedy and accident.

Slap #7. Avram Grant should be the coach of Chelsea next year. I have definite feelings about that.

Slap #8. Do you think Grigoriy would be up for covering the MLS? I may need a new writer, and I mean, we know he can use the laptop.


Tiny Slaps to the Face of Nemanja Vidić

by Brian Phillips · May 22, 2008

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