I’ve been musing on last night’s Chelsea game and as much as it is certain that Didier Drogba faces censure, and that this will have to be seen to be done, I can’t help feeling sorry for a sanguine but seriously miffed Gus Hiddink. The decisions of referee Tom Ovrebo (an anagram of ‘boot mover’ by the way though I’m pretty sure his name is ‘mud’ in West London) and his linesmen (assuming they were involved, as football isn’t like rugby where dialogue between officials is encouraged) were really poor. This goes for both the penalty decisions and the sending off. I think I would have ranted at him if he’d been refereeing my 5-a-side league, let alone a Champions League game.
Of course Didier Drogba’s impassioned public outburst raises all sort so of questions about discipline and displays of anger generally. I wonder if ‘doing a Dider’ (or ‘Doing a Drogba’ maybe) will now pass into common parlance for displays of anger? I’m thinking variations may include: ‘I’m going to get Didier on your ass’, ‘Don’t mess with me I’m Didier about this!’ etc etc.
Whatever the linguistic ramifications I hope that Drogba gets a chance to show remorse but his punishment is mitigated in acknowledgement of the poor standard of the officials last night. Ovrebo should be disciplined too, losing his Champions League standing perhaps. Of course, it goes without saying that the death threats against Ovrebo (sadly inevitable based on previous instances) are beneath contempt and I am sure Drogba would be the first to say they were a disgrace too. Sport should epitomise fair play but it can never ever be a matter of life or death.
It might be tempting to suggest that an angry society, epitomised by Drogba’s outburst, creates the kind of thugs that make death threats. It’s too easy to join those dots and ignore the fact that Drogba’s passion for the game got the better of him, a surprise to those who say that big pay packets make for muted appetites (mind you they do all still get paid too much – sorry lads). Yes, discipline Drogba but the football authorities might also like to pay attention to how often we end up talking about refereeing decisions deciding/ruining a game and that can’t be good for anyone involved in the sport.