First things first. Let me make it absolutely crystal clear that I am no apologist for Chelsea Football Club. But, even so, I don't think Eden Hazard should have been sent off for what he did. Trying to kick a ball out from underneath a boy who is lying on it in an attempt to waste time is not, to my mind, violent conduct.
Allow me to provide some context. Last summer, I was out in the garden playing footie with my then nine year old son. The little git got the ball, dribbled up to me, nutmegged me, scarpered around me like a whippet on Speed, before nochalantly rolling the ball into the empty net for a 1-0 lead. I barely blinked.
Now I grew up with the school of defending that spawned such great and rugged graduates as Tony Adams and Steve Bould. Now obviously I can't step forward with my arm in the air demanding the linesman flag for offside when playing one v one in the back garden, but I can, when provoked, stick in the 'reducer' when done by an opposing attacker. You know, just to let him know I'm there.
I went back to my starting place at one end of the garden. Joe to his. I rolled the ball to him, and off he goes again. This time however, we had a different outcome. As he approached, I leapt forward having been stung by my previous humiliation. Not this time, laddie. No chance. With a primeval roar I launched myself into a two footed, studs up, both feet off the ground reckless lunge, taking ball, man, the whole lot. I kicked Joe up so high in the air he came down with snow on.
Trouble is, you have rubber bones at that age. He bounced down, laughing, and grabbed the ball, lying on top of it to prevent me from nicking it and equalising. Naturally I then tried to remove ball from underneath prostrate boy by, you guessed it, kicking it out. Just like Eden Hazard last night. Joe thought it hilarious.
And that's why folks, I don't think Hazard should have been sent off last night, hilarious though it was. And let's face it, the little oik probably deserved it anyway.
*If anyone from Social Services should happen to read this, please note the author is prone to slight exaggeration on occasion. He didn't really come down with snow on him.
It was all about the Thyestes Chase over in Ireland today. 4PA waded in with three selections and On The Nose with a further two. Oh, and The Value Bettor came out of temporary hibernation to pick just the one for the race. There was no luck at all for On The Nose. The well backed favourite (9s into 4s) given by 4PA fell, another came nowhere but the third selection (Panthers Claw - 8/1) ran on into a place to provide some sort of return.
The winner? An 'orse called Jadanli. You know I didn't back it, but I'd read about this horse and it's chances in this race in the email this morning from The Value Bettor. Tipped up at 28/1! The guy is a bloody genius, and I've not got him as a formal part of the portfolio. What does that make me?!? I'll tell you what that makes me, shall I? It makes me a bloody idiot and someone who needs to put this situation to rights, that's what it makes me! Watch this space...
Elsewhere, just the one bet from Northern Monkey on the all weather at Kempton this evening. To my untutored eye, it was given a shocker of a ride. Either way, it lost.
Let's see what tomorrow brings.