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IT’S not half getting bloody difficult to write this column, y’know. On-pitch matters around the world are becoming more and more intense as teams begin to settle into their aspirations and fears for the season. Fights against relegation and for trophies are beginning to be taken seriously and people are going on about formations so much that it’s giving me a migraine.

There are no longer any nice and easy stories of footballing lunacy knocking around all over the internet for me to regurgitate here, with the simple addition of a hint of hyperbole and a smattering of swear words for your reading pleasure. Players have stopped farting in their manager’s faces. Nobody is masturbating in public anymore. David Moyes isn’t having breakdowns every Saturday night. Somebody please do something mad. I’ll take anything.

So I’m already having a tough time and then the Reds go and do that on Sunday. It’s a good job that goalkeeper’s a solid 10 or I reckon our support would have lynched him already, because he’s absolutely crap at stopping things going in the goal.

West Ham this week, then. If we don’t batter them Tory-donating, strap-on selling mings, I truly do fear for my mental equilibrium.

Balo’s Bad Behaviour Clause

Liverpool Football Club has completed some pretty bloody mad transfers over the years. We bought an injured Alberto Aquilani for £20million in an attempt to ignite our title challenge, we shat our kecks on deadline day in 2012 and blew the Fernando Torres dough on a carthorse with legs made of cheesestrings, and we gave actual wages to Paul fucking Konchesky for a little while.

But this may well be the craziest of the lot.

In essence, Liverpool were rewarding Mario Balotelli monetarily for not being sent off three times per season, not physically or verbally attacking anyone, and not spitting at opponents or teammates.

Now, if you’re having to write such things into a player’s contract — if you’re actually paying out some of your own cash to him as a reward for not behaving like an animal — are you sure you really want to be buying that player? Did nobody with knowledge of the deal stop and go, “Y’know what, fellers. If we can’t trust him to not spit at people all season long, do we really think he’s gonna run around a lot and do loads of goals for us?“

What else was written in there that we don’t know about yet? Was Balotelli rewarded for admitting he actually did know who Joe Allen was? Was there £1m going in his bank account at the end of each month if he hadn’t brought a blade to Melwood? Did he a get a bonus for not shitting on the training pitch?

I suppose the only other fit striker we had at the time was a big Kirkby chest-of-drawers, so fair enough, actually.

Glory Be To Shithousing

What a gang of lads.

I was absolutely dreading this fixture when I saw it was scheduled for this weekend. I envisaged no scenario which looked positive for Liverpool; if Chelsea won their winning run and lead was extended, a City victory would have given them the belief that they could beat any team in the division, and a draw didn’t really do enough damage to either side to make it worthwhile.

But I hadn’t considered the possibility of one of the all-time great pieces of group shithousery taking place. This more than made up for it.

First, the tackle. What a tackle. Anything that ends with two feet off the floor, both legs out-stretched like studded spears, is always going to be worth a look, but this was particularly majestic. David Luiz’s leg is moving towards Sergio Aguero’s as the two collide, rendering the connection even more violent than it would otherwise have been, and the speed of impact was borderline vomit-inducing. As he takes that final overly-heavy touch, you can detect the precise moment in which his frothing rage overflows and he decides to commit the most wild assault possible.

Then you think, well, that’s that over, at least it made tuning in worthwhile. But Cesc Fabregas has other ideas. He delivers as convincing a performance as I have ever seen. Forget Tom Hanks in Philadelphia, don’t talk to me about Robert de Niro in Taxi Driver, Francesc Fabregas Soler’s portrayal of ‘diminutive shithouse midfielder trying to get an opponent sent-off’ is inspiring and deeply moving. Fernandinho falls for it hook, line and sinker, as well, the gobshite.

It doesn’t half piss me off when commentators and pundits say “you don’t want to see this kind of thing on a football pitch.” No lads, this is *EXACTLY* the kind of thing we want to see on a football pitch.

Police Horse Gets Rustled

Now this is the kind of gear I’m looking for.

This is yet another incident where I would happily give up the entire contents of my bank account, my future degree, and a number of vital organs, just for the chance to peruse any of the CCTV which captured it.

Picture the scene — the vapid, languid grayscale backdrop of Piccadilly Gardens, illuminated for a mere second as a cooked section of a cow’s behind, sandwiched between two thin sheets of bread, glides through the mild evening air, past shop windows and apartment blocks, glistening in the twilit glow of the streetlamps. Drops of rain land perfectly on its sesame seed coating, the cheese acting as a form of ballistic superglue maintaining the structural integrity of the weapon as it hurtles towards it target.

Then… *BANG*, like a big fuck off slap to the face, a huge buccaneering horse feels the full weight of a slab of deep-fried cholesterol making impact with its eyeball, the juice seeping into its retina causing a sting like being burned alive in the burning depths of the sun’s core.

Questions remain, though; primarily, what kind of hamburger was the projectile in question? Mock you may, but I feel this is crucial. If it’s just a plain kids’ hamburger you get in a Maccies Happy Meal then what’s the point? A beast like a police horse wouldn’t bat an eyelid. You need to be be going to Burger King for this. If you’re looking to hurt that horse, which I assume was the man in question’s intention, then you’re getting yourself a Big King Sandwich, a fart-inducing shitshow of beef, cheese, pickles, onions and lettuce, and preparing a steady arm to make sure you don’t waste your golden opportunity.

The second major issue, here, is the throwing style. Has he gone for something akin to a javelin, straight and true, with a long run up to surpass a potentially lengthy distance? If it was me, I’d be more of a discus kind of a man. I’d spin around on the spot to build up momentum before unleashing the patty at a volatile rate of knots, designed to pick up velocity as it flew towards the unsuspecting equine target.

Once, prior to kick-off at Old Trafford in the FA Cup, a few hundred of us stood behind the police cordon and sung and bounced along to the Torres song. The trouble for the law was that one of their horses got spooked and started thrashing all over the show, rocking onto its back legs and screeching something unholy. Its state of mind probably wasn’t helped by a few lads screaming “IT’S DOIN’ THE BOUNCE WITH US!”, thus encouraging louder, more fervent singing and jumping around. Of course, the ultimate police horse abuse incident was when that soft Geordie divvy gave one a right-hook because Sunderland won the derby. Magic.

The Celtic supporter spent a night behind bars and was served a £90 fine on checkout. The horse survived.

What an absolute Whopper™.

Russia In Homophobic Shocker

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you the hosts of the next World Cup.

Because you can now choose to wear rainbow-coloured laces and strips in FIFA 17, Russian parliament has announced a plan to force EA Sports to alter its game in the region, or have it forcibly removed from sale. The Russians state that the usage of such attire in a video game contravenes its legislation which stipulates that promotion or discussion of homosexuality is strictly prohibited and punishable by jail.

No, I’m not certain on this, but would playing against someone wearing a rainbow kit on Ultimate Team really make a Russian want to neck a member of the same sex immediately? I’m not sure people’s innate sexualities are so heavily influenced by what computer-generated sprites are wearing in a PS4 game, y’know.

The Stonewall-founded campaign seemed to be a great success across the Premier League last week, and it’s a shame that any of this even has to be spoken about in 21st century. But the fact that FIFA has bestowed the world’s greatest sporting event, and a massive celebration of world culture, upon such a hateful and bigoted nation is disgusting. There must be a significant number of gay, bisexual and lesbian footballers and supporters from a plethora of countries who will travel to Russia for the the tournament, who will be forced to do so in an environment in which they and people like them are tortured and oppressed.

It’s a good job world leaders across the globe strongly oppose Russia and it’s draconian principles, that we aren’t seeing a global shift towards terrifying right-wing prejudice, and that we don’t have a President-elect insistent on cooperating with Vladimir Putin, eh? Oh, hang on…

Hopefully a player makes a good protest of it. Not just voicing concern or signing a petition, something on-pitch and eye-catching. Like one of them vests they do with a message written on it to be revealed during a goal celebration, but with a big, fuck-off photoshopped picture of Putin performing fellatio on a massive hairy cock.

My column might not be here next week, the Kremlin might well give the order for me to get Litvinenko’d after this. Wish me luck.

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