First thing’s first, I apologize for the prolonged absence, it’s the business-end of semester at university over here and though I can clearly hear you sarcastically bowing your air violins across the sea, the fact remains that Allen Ginsberg isn’t going to read himself.
So. Footballers come and go, the song remains the same. It is an unavoidable facet of football support that in involving oneself with the fanfare, one must be utterly aware of the attached strings.
There will be ups, there will be downs; there will be comings, there will be goings. I will resist the temptation to propagate the risqué simile on the tip of my tongue.
Arrivals and departures elicit excitement and lament from supporters in equal measure; it is one of the biggest drawcards of football, and of sport in general—that constant, permeating, unknown quantity that soaks every aspect of every club. How will so-and-so do at such-and-such a club? Why did Arsenal sign Chu-Young, how could they fail to sell Squillaci, will Diaby be able to stay injury-free, can Cazorla maintain his form, how many minutes will van Persie play for United before suffering his first injury? (er...203, actually).
Player departures are possibly the least rewarding and most common of these unknown quantities, and for good reason: when you bring someone in, there is the potential for newness, freshness—for that player to maybe bring something to the table that the team has been lacking, something exciting and innovative and, particularly in the case of Arsenal, for a nobody to turn himself into a somebody.
But when a player leaves, it is almost as though that departure is a metaphor for a kind of failure—whether it be the failure of the club to get the best out of the player, or the failure of the player to deliver his best at the club.
Sometimes, though, a player’s sale is met with absolute glee by one or both of the parties. Think of a football team as a rough, uncut diamond. The players are cutters, the manager is the designer of the diamond: in order for the diamond to be cut according to the blueprint that the manager sets, all of the cutters must be of a quality to know and perform their role in the cutting inherently, so that it can take shape as close to the specifications as possible.
If one of the cutters openly disagrees with the shape that the diamond is taking and is not dealt with, the eventual diamond will be cut in an unbalanced way.
If one of the cutters is not skilled enough in the art of diamond-cutting, then his area of the diamond will be cut to a significantly lower quality than the rest, which unbalances and devalues the diamond.
And if one of the cutters turns up to work one day with the news that the Devil appeared to him the night before and offered him twice his diamond-cutting wage to sit around pretending to cut diamonds at a rival diamond-cutting company, before being sent off to toil away at a variety of copper mines on fixed-term contracts, well, who are we to stop the money-grubbing fiend?
Here are six diamond cutters whose services we were glad to see terminated.