The Queen is obviously a very busy woman who scarcely has a second to spare due to her hectic schedule of reading other people’s speeches and working on the precise mechanics of her wave.
In this context I can only assume that her decision to omit El Hadj Diouf from the new year’s honours list was some sort of terrible oversight which doubtless she will seek to rectify in 12 month’s time. Persistently playing scoundrels didn’t stop Sir Anthony Hopkins getting knighted so why not Diouf, whose transgressions pale into insignificance besides those of sociopath mass murderer Hannibal Lecter?
Football matches need villains just as much as pantomimes do and Diouf plays the role to perfection. He gives away fans someone to boo every time he steps onto the pitch and even the Blackburn Rovers supporters must find themselves occasionally tempted to join in. Until the club got purchased by people with a potentially unhealthy interest in chickens Diouf was by far the most interesting thing about it.
It is refreshing to see a footballer who refrains from issuing a heartfelt apology every time he does something wrong. He supposedly issued a "personal apology" to a teenage Celtic fan who he had spit at but slightly undermined it by spitting at a group of Middlesbrough fans a few months later. Diouf’s propensity for making his point using phlegm has seen him banned by both UEFA and the FA and charged by the police on two separate occasions.
Even his teammates and manager were quick to condemn him when he spat in the face of veteran Portsmouth defender Arjan De Zeeuw. Gary Speed showcased a staggering lack of imagination by claiming it was the worst thing which could possibly have happened to a player on the pitch, while Sam Allardyce threatened to send Diouf to a sports psychologist. What they were really both trying to say was, "Booooooooooooooooooooooooo".
Another insight into Diouf’s personality was given when a couple of schoolboys attempted to prank call him offering a series of inventive and witty insults along the lines of, "you’re shit mate". The teenagers made a fatal error in assuming that they could somehow be nastier than Diouf. They were soon put in place with a foul mouth tirade which included the following choice phrases:
"I shag your mother every single f**king day. You come to my house. I f**k your mum, your dad every single one. Come here with your Mum and your wife I f**k you. I have money. Do you have something, you f**king slag motherf**ker? I want to come to the bed of your mum. I have a f**king big c*ck."
While we should take a second to applaud Diouf’s open mindedness in threatening to have intercourse with both of the callers parents, presumably tackling homophobia in football is a cause close to his heart, the one thing that this phone call does demonstrate is that Diouf really is every inch the villain, his on pitch persona is definitely not an act.
Sources close to Diouf claimed afterwards that he had no idea that the phone conversation was being recorded which is a bit like a murderer basing his defence on the fact that he didn’t know he was on CCTV. Diouf is far from the football hard man who takes time out from breaking people’s legs to get photographed playing with his kids and walking the dog in an attempt to convince people that he really is just a softy at heart. He is a genuinely odious individual and, were you to encounter him at some sort of social event, you would probably be inclined to break out into a spontaneous bout of booing yourself.
It is not just issues of sexuality which Diouf is willing to tackle in the course of his hilarious banter. He also waded uninvited into the racism debate by calling a ball boy at Goodison Park ‘white boy’ in a derogatory fashion. In fairness this is not exactly the greatest insult in the world but Diouf massively compounded the offence by claiming he had made the comments against a backdrop of racist abuse from Everton fans who had been hurling bananas at him. A subsequent police investigation could find no evidence whatsoever to support these claims.
The El Hadj Diouf wall of shame is in need of an extension after his most recent escapade. Diouf decided to taunt QPR player, Jamie Mackie, during the recent FA Cup game against Blackburn Rovers. A number of people took exception to this, largely because Mackie was on the ground in agony at the time having just badly broken his leg.
Neil Warnock was one of them and the outspoken QPR manager became the latest to add his voice to the chorus of boos,
“For many years I have thought he (Diouf) was the gutter type. I was going to call him a sewer rat, but that might be insulting to sewer rats. He's the lowest of the low.”
In a perfect world James Bond would track Diouf down in his African lair, concussing a couple of his crocodile henchmen before drowning him in a vat of his own phlegm. In reality the player will probably continue to be paid tens of thousands of pounds per week for his increasingly average performances until the day he retires.
Warnock called on Blackburn Rovers manager Steve Keen to get rid of Diouf in the aftermath of this incident. I hope he doesn’t because love him or hate him, and I can’t imagine that anyone other than his Mother falls into the former category, there is no denying that he makes the Premier League a much more interesting place.