Right now I’m sitting at home watching Die Hard 4.0. I booked today off work to nurse my hangover. It is an excellent fourth to a stunning line of Die Hard films. And it works for the same reasons as its predecessors.
The badies have the advantage in the shape of all the finances, technology, helicopters, and machine guns a former Soviet Republic can offer. Meanwhile the goody, Bruce Willis, must overcome the odds with nothing but a police issue revolver and his own impressive endeavor. Not to give the ending away, but civilization survives with far fewer badies in it.
Football rarely follows this simple plot. But Wembley yesterday offered the spectacle of much hated badies with despicable intent being overcome by the glory and honour of noble goodies.
Simply count the ways in which Chelsea are evil. They have a nasty foreign owner who profited from the deprivation of Russia’s huddled masses. They can lose £75million a year without flinching while for most that would mean bankruptcy. They are part of a top four that even some fans of those four clubs wants to see undone. They have bought themselves the most expensive team in history. And in Jose Mourinho’s willingness to talk the talk they sacked the one source of excitement their club has generated in recent times.
As you would expect from a Hollywood script, they did all the sinister things that make badies bad. They turned up for another showcase game intent on strangling the life out of it. They kept things slow, pretended to be injured for two minutes whenever the tempo rose. They played exclusively for occasional free-kicks and corners. And they offered no glory or entertainment to anyone.
Like the best action thriller, the badies were well set to win after Drogba scored. In between pretending he was injured seven times to slow the pace of the game, he stroked home a free-kick that gave his side license to kill the match stone dead.
But what sort of film would it be without valiant goodies willing to fight back. They had done things right throughout. They tried to invent. They tried to score from open play. They tried to use a bit of pace and creativity to overcome the forces of darkness. And eventually they got their just rewards.
Like a car or bus hurtling through the air that misses our hero by mere inches, Bruce Willis, played by Tottenham Hotspur, earned a little good fortune. That good fortune saw the linesman flag a penalty for one of Wayne Bridge’s two handballs under pressure from Tom Huddlestone. With Berbatov’s elegant conversion from the spot the goodies lived to fight on until the film’s finale.
And so to the final half hour when the wonderful Woodgate rose above all others and against the odds scored his first goal in two years. Not that this surprised the audience. At one-nil down Spurs fans remained confident, and I had a fair few texts declaring we would still win. But hey, I guess we don’t go to the flicks thinking John McClane might lose.
That winner led to the end game, which in action films means frenetic gun-toting but ultimately fruitless activity on behalf of badies. In football, that meant Chelsea pumping the ball long and high time after time after time.
That King limped up the steps to claim his prize inspired this interpretation of the day’s events. Bruce Willis is after all, always bleeding by the end of a Die Hard film. And reading the papers today it seems they all saw it this way too, though they have Ramos pegged as the hero.
But I can never help but wonder about the bad guys, and in this case Mr Grant. This was Jose Mourinho’s team playing Jose’ Mourinho’s big game tactics. And the line up was not his replacement’s instinctive choice either, but a compromise for those with greater say than him. So with Roman still breathing when the credits rolled, is a Chelsea decline inevitable? Have the badies been truly vanquished?
You see, I fear a manager needs a big ego to pick the right team instead of buckling to the press, the owner, and influential players. But Roman sacked such a manager for doing just that. Is he capable of hiring another? Or will Chelsea have to be replaced by new badies once they limp away into the shadows?
I guess we have to wait for the next installment to find out.
Yes I know this article is gloating somewhat. But I offer some defence off that. I have a hangover from partying in Tottenham High Road last night, and writing this eased my headache. And as my mate Terry said as we trudged off the pitch after his Broomfield under 14s beat my Chelmsford City under 14s – Why else do we win?