Norwich City, Balotelli and some of football’s funniest clips
There’s a hilarious clip currently doing the rounds on Youtube involving Manchester City’s �24million striker Mario Balotelli.
If you haven’t yet seen it, please seek it out, though I will give you the extended highlights.
Type in “Balotelli vs Bib” and you’ll find the 90-second clip, which was shown on television during a warm-up to a recent game.
It shows the multi-millionaire star embroiled in what is best described as a wrestling match with three training bibs, as he attempts the highly-complex manoeuvre of pulling one over his head.
Showing the same sort of spoilt brat petulance that he is famed for on the pitch, the first bib is thrown away in disgust when Balotelli deems it too unworthy for him to wear.
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His multi-million pound contract obviously doesn’t stipulate that one of his tasks should be to dress himself, so a member of city’s backroom staff picks one up and pitches in to help.
But that bib is the wrong colour and is promptly taken off (though to be fair Balotelli can do that himself). However, when bib number three proves to be equally as unreceptive to the sulky striker’s charms along comes his helper again to finally put the poor lad out of his misery.
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It’s pure comedy genius.
But what has it got to do with Norwich City, I hear you ask?
Well, in all this talk of the race to reach the Premier League, a couple of key questions seem to have slipped by.
Such as do we even want to go there in the first place and if so are we fully prepared for what could await us?
There’s no denying that in many respects the Premier League is a world away from the Championship. In fact more so in terms of what happens off the pitch, than on it.
This is a world where the player is king and can all too often do whatever they want without fear of losing either their place in the team or that big fat paycheck at the end of the month.
It’s a world where some players are so pampered they cannot even put on a bib without throwing a temper tantrum and seeking help.
A world so bizarre that Ashley Cole can shoot a gun at a young work experience lad or Balotelli (yes him again) can allegedly throw a dart at the youth team –without fearing repercussions.
Yes I know our own club, like all of them, has had its own internal troubles to deal with over the years.
And I’m not saying that if we get promoted some of our stars will suddenly tool themselves up and go in search of an unsuspecting workie, but go up a level and the antics appear to get even more bizarre and even more vulgar.
At times the gulf between fans of the top teams and their players appears so vast that it is a surprise more people have not voted with their feet and gone elsewhere.
Although, thinking about it, there is one example where this has actually happened – our own national team.
How many people would say they currently feel less passionate about England’s fortunes having grown fed-up with the antics of people like John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney?
It would have been unheard of a couple of years ago, but last Saturday I found the prospect of driving down to London in the afternoon more appealing than waiting and watching England versus Wales.
Of course I was still listening to it on the radio.
And that’s because I know that deep down I do care. I love it in fact, always have done, always will.
In many ways it’s some of the bizarre, crazy stories that make the Premier League the fantastic league it is. That and the great quality of football of course.
At times it’s pure pantomime and, as long as nobody gets hurt, it’s always worth remembering that football really is only a game and it isn’t more important than life or death, no matter what anyone says or has said.
And you can guarantee that without the likes of Balotelli, Rooney, Terry and co – players who cause delight and despair in equal measure – our national sport would be a very dull one indeed.
So I have asked the question and the answer is a big fat yes. We now have eight games to get there.
• FIVE OF THE REST
1. Football fanatics like to talk about turning points. Games that, when we look back on them, define a campaign. Surely, whatever happens between now and the end of the season, that moment would have to be the 4-1 drubbing of Ipswich Town at home? Our record prior to this game was played 18, won seven, drawn six and lost five (average of 1.5 points per game) and we were on the back of four draws in a row. Since then we have played 20, won 11, drawn seven and lost just two (two points per game). Was this the moment the team realised they really do have what it takes to take us up?
2. April is here then and I stand by my early season assessment that this would be the toughest month of the year, not November as predicted by defender Leon Barnett. But with six games in the next 23 days (not seven as originally pencilled in due to Portsmouth away being moved to May) what should the target be to keep us on track for promotion? From here on in we probably need two points per game to guarantee a top two place, so the challenge will be to try and get in at least four wins before the month is out.
3. David James may not be Declan Rudd’s favourite person after snubbing his shirt request following the recent game against Bristol City (it was on John Ruddy’s Twitter so must be true), but the former England keeper is a pretty decent fortnightly columnist for The Observer. His latest musings on loan signings offer up a fairly decent summary of why Paul Lambert is so careful when dipping into the temporary market. While admitting that this wasn’t true of all loanees, especially the younger ones, he wrote: “Short-term loanees are the worst – they do everyone’s heads in ... everyone knows what to expect – generally not much ... the ones repeatedly going out on loan are also the ones who spend the least amount of time on the training field.”
4. Let’s hope for some early goals against Scunthorpe this Saturday and possibly even a game where we don’t have to be frantically chewing our nails with two minutes to go. Norwich’s first half record is only the 16th best in the league. Don’t fret though because our 18 points gained when the opposition have scored first is the best in the league.
5. The curse of the second place slump struck again as Norwich could only pick up a draw against Hull. As discussed in my last column, this must-have position has changed hands a dozen times this year alone. However, the Hull draw meant that in 10 of those occasions the team to newly move into second has failed to win their next game. This week’s curse of choice – new manager syndrome. Let’s hope Scunthorpe haven’t put someone permanently in charge by Saturday afternoon.