Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Handshake That Didn't Happen.

It was probably the most anticipated handshake in British sport, especially as we had been warned in advance that it probably wouldn't be forthcoming. Indeed, such was the anticipation, that bookmakers had stopped taking bets on the matter.

The bookmakers Coral suspended bets on a possible handshake at 9.30am yesterday after a surge of wagers that the players would not shake. The pair had previously been odds-on to touch palms. William Hill said the non-shake would cost the company "a five-figure sum".
And, full marks to Wayne Bridge for making sure it didn't happen.

For American readers, a brief history.

John Terry,the captain of Chelsea and, until this recent scandal, the captain of England, was best friends and team-mates with Wayne Bridge. When Bridge left Chelsea to join Manchester City his relationship with his girlfriend faltered and John Terry was reported to be the shoulder he was leaning on.

Then the tabloids revealed that Terry was sleeping with Bridge's ex-girlfriend, despite being his best friend and shoulder to lean on, and that he had taken out a super injunction to prevent any newspaper ever revealing what he had been up to. His injunction was not upheld and he ended up reportedly paying Bridge's ex-girlfriend around £800,000 to buy her silence.

The affair cost Terry the England captaincy, but it also cost Bridge his international career as he has vowed to step down from England's national team rather than ever again have to play with someone who had betrayed him in such a fashion.

Yet, today, listening to the Chelsea fans boo Bridges - the betrayed friend - every time he touched the ball, was slightly sickening.

It was as if Chelsea supporters were punishing Bridge for not accepting the apology which John Terry has never, ever, offered.

In fact, Terry has never so much as publicly apologised to his wife and children and he has certainly offered no apology to Bridges. Indeed, to this day he has never even admitted that the affair even took place, despite paying a reported £800,000 for Bridges ex-lovers silence.

Perhaps Karma accounts for the fact that Manchester City - by far the underdogs in this match - left the stadium winning by an utterly unbelievable 4-2. No-one would have predicted that before this encounter.

But, when the match was over, Craig Bellamy delivered an astonishing post match analysis. Usually, footballers would say that they paid no attention to all of this press talk and that they were thinking only of the game; but Bellamy went much further.

I know what JT is like and nothing surprises me about him, so I am not going to start commenting on that guy. I think everyone in football knows what the guy is like. So you know, that's off the field.

But on it, he's an outstanding player and a great captain for Chelsea.
I have never been a great fan of Craig Bellamy; but, after watching the disgraceful treatment Chelsea fans handed out to Bridge, I take my hat off to the guy.

He inserted the knife like a surgeon. Right into Terry's jugular. With Terry refusing to even comment on the affair, one couldn't accuse Bellamy of being scared to say what was on his mind.

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