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In football, the saying, to the winner go the spoils couldn’t be more true. The minute a footballer scores a few goals, he is immediately put in the same league as the greats of the game. And God forbid, if he makes a mistake in the heat of the moment, all his past greatness is forgotten and he is immediately an overrated talentless footballer. The headlines in the past week have been dominated by two individual footballers, Thierry Henry and Jermaine Defoe. Thierry Henry had his moment and could have become a hero cherished by millions (minus the French) for eternity or he could have fallen from grace for millions. Unfortunately for Henry, in the heat of the moment he didn’t think selfishly enough and now he is being termed a cheat, a liar, a shame, a no-gooder, an unethical person and a villain of the worst kind, an overrated footballer who was never really good enough. It seems everyone is trying hard to forget the magic of Arsenal’s all-time leading goal scorer with 226 goals in all competitions, the two time winner of PFA Players’ Player of the Year and three time winner of the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year – Theirry Henry. Ironic, how almost all football journalists now seem to want to remember Henry only by the recent mistake that he made.
As is true of life, when a hero falls, a replacement is quickly sought. Jermaine Defoe’s 5 goals in the second half of the, 9-1 thriller between Tottenham Hotspur and Wigan Athletic couldn’t have come at a better time. Defoe’s horrible stamp on Aaron Mokoena in his return match against his old employers at Portsmouth which earned him a three match ban has been long forgotten and he is enjoying his sudden rise from a villain who manager Harry Rednapp had been absolutely livid with for the misdemeanor to a hero who manager Harry Rednapp is now busy hailing as the “best finisher” in the English game. His captain for the day, Jonathan Woodgate was even more generous with his praise saying, “I think he’s the sharpest striker not only in the Premier League but probably in the world. He’s that sharp he simply doesn’t miss, in training or in matches.”
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The winner takes it all and I can’t begin to imagine what praise would have been directed the strikers way had he got a Premier League record sixth goal of the afternoon. On the other hand, Wigan Athletic players who suffered their worst result in club’s 31-year league history, making them the first English Premier League team to concede nine goals in a single match since Ipswich Town in 1995 have decided to refund the money to supporters who travelled to White Hart Lane on Sunday (November 22) to watch their team get so completely thrashed in the humiliating 9-1 loss. Jermaine Defoe’s 5 goals were added to by goals from Peter Crouch, Aaron Lennon, Niko Kranjcar and a painful Chris Kirkland own goal.
Wigan Athletic Captain Mario Melchiot said the players had “badly let down” their travelling supporter and will therefore provide a full refund of the match ticket price. “This is a gesture we have to make and pay them back for their tremendous loyalty,” the Latics captain added.
Also, possibly related to the shameful result, Wigan Athletic today postponed the planned official opening of their new club store in the town. A spokesperson said: “The club apologises for any inconvenience caused to its supporters but stresses that the event will go ahead in the very near future, as soon as a new date can be arranged.” In the beautiful game, the winner is entitled to it all and then some, while the loser waits for his time to shine, good thing that it doesn’t take much to be a winner, a couple of goals can get you there.