Salut! Sunderland readers produced a healthy response to my account of the French Football Federation’s individual punishments for four of the five players called before a disciplinary commission.
One, presumably Irish reader still hadn’t forgotten the Hand of Henry; someone else considered it a mark of arrogance to have a point of view at all. And two Sunderland fans in Canada – both regular contributors to these pages – described events in terms suggesting a struggle between downtrodden labour and ruthless capitalism.
My response to the notion that Patrice Evra led an admirable revolt against evil – the evil having, of course, nothing to do with Nicolas Anelka’s foul-mouthed rant at the manager Raymond Domenech, and everything to do with the details being leaked to the French media – is long. It is where it belongs, in the comments field of the original article.
But as a postscript, let me say Domenech is not out of the wood. The FFF may yet punish him, too, for his perceived part in what was a national humiliation.
He formally denied yesterday that he had been the mole. Or, rather, he denied being the man who leaked the Anelka insults to the press. If true, that would not necessarily exclude the possibility that he was an indirect source – say, if he mentioned it to an FFF official who then passed it on to L’Equipe – but no one has offered a shred of evidence to show that this was the case.
Maybe if I got out more in France, I’d come across people who share the surprising notion that the players acted admirably. Everyone I know thinks they were a disgrace, even if – like me – they originally wished them well (I have no particular dislike of any of them and, once, responded to a Man United fansite’s question by naming Evra as one of the Reds I’d love to see at SAFC)
For now, I’ll leave you with a repeat of that cartoon showing a chorus of vuvuzelas bidding “good riddance” to the departing squad – and one of the jokes that went the rounds over here immediately after Les Bleus flew home:
Three new kids at school are asked by the teacher what their fathers do. “My dad’s a fireman,” one girl replies proudly. “And mine works at the town hall,” says another child.
“And what about yours?” the teacher asks the apparently shy third pupil. “”Er, he’s a stripper and escort in a gay bar,” the boy, after much hesitation, replies.
The teacher refuses to believe him and presses the boy to tell the truth. Only when the other children have gone does he agree to do so.
“OK, ” he admits finally, lowering his voice to little more than a whisper. “He plays for the French international football team. I was just too ashamed to say so.”