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.
Rafa Benítez on Steven Gerrard’s titanium undistractability in the face of his arrest and potential imprisonment:
“I don’t think Stevie is affected by this at all,” said Benitez. “I was talking to him and he said he was fine. I watched him very closely in training and he was looking good, he scored two or three very good goals and is playing really well, so there are no problems… I don’t think he has been affected by other things at all.”
I realize, of course, that this statement is more a hieroglyph commanded by ritual than Rafa’s honest assessment of Gerrard’s mindset, and that no manager is ever going to walk up to a microphone and say, “Yeah, he’s a quivering wreck, actually. He’s absolutely terrified.” But if you were in Rafa’s shoes, would you really want to convey this serene an indifference?
I mean, Gerrard has been accused of commissioning and then participating in the fairly vicious gang-stomping of a restaurant employee who refused to let him play a tune he wanted to hear. Even if he didn’t do it, wouldn’t you go with something like, “Steven takes the charges very seriously and is looking forward to the chance to prove his innocence”? Saying he’s totally unaffected gives me the impression of a football savant who’s breaking down Bolton’s defense in his brain and maybe humming softly to himself while the charges are being read in court.
All you who think I am taking too much from a throwaway article in the Mirror, please raise your hands.
by Brian Phillips · January 25, 2009