Something that’s struck me recently whilst reading the comments sections of online sports reports is the astonishing lack of literacy skills among a certain section of the fanbase. One club in particular has supporters whose ability to turn a clumsy and ill-informed phrase would shame even a Daily Mail journalist, and that club is, as if the question needed asking, Arsenal.
I shall be reproducing the more outstanding of these efforts here from time to time, in the same spirit that may perhaps compel a primary school teacher to single out an especially recalcitrant pupil; it’s for their own good.
First, from the Independent on Sunday’s comments re the Spurs/WBA game, from a Sid Vicious:
Spurs are a club in serious crisis thats 1 poxy win now from there last 10 games which is a shocking and scary statistic its no wonder Harry Redknapp is fighting to keep his job with reports coming out that he has lost the dressing room many of the players dont see eye to eye with him after the sisgusting and shambolic way he treated Lennon at the Real Madrid first leg game by trying to blame his own player and scapegoat him only to back track later its why there was emrgency meetings held at the Lane last night by Daniel Levy and the board at what is going on in that Spurs dressing room whatch this space…
Fascinating. Never mind the lack of apostrophes or the mis-spelling of ‘their’; those two are common mistakes made by even the sanest of commentors. Concentrate instead firstly on the fact that there is absolutely no punctuation in the entire comment barring the terminating ellipse, a lack which focuses the attention on the chaotic state of Mr Vicious’ mental (and I use the word ‘mental’ with great care) processes.
Secondly, concentrate on the neologisms Mr Vicious so kindly coins for us: ‘sisgusting’, which I believe is defined as ‘an act which causes nausea among female siblings’; ‘whatch’ is, according to my IED, either ‘a roof covering made of unidentifiable materials’ or ‘an unreliable timepiece’.
Thirdly, this stunning example of sentence construction: why there was emrgency meetings held at the Lane last night by Daniel Levy and the board at what is going on in that Spurs dressing room. ‘At what is going on’? Not ‘About what is going on’ or ‘about the troubles’. Follow this up with ‘in that Spurs dressing room’ – yes, that Spurs dressing room, not the other one, not the real one but the very special Spurs dressing room inside Mr. Vicious’ head – and the impression abides that either Mr. Vicious has a very strong West Country accent or he is a very very silly man indeed.
Finally, we must ask: from where exactly is Mr Vicious obtaining his information? Has he a small recording device surreptitiously placed down Jermaine Defoe’s shorts or concealed in Benoit Assou-Ekotto's hair? Or is he taking the names from the back of the players’ shirts and re-arranging the letters, Bible Code-style, to come up with his bizarre accusations?
I have, in the name of scientific and literary research, performed a similar analysis on the Tottenham team’s current most-revered player’s name and I must report that my result is quite different to Mr Vicious’.
The anagram of ‘Gareth Bale’ anagram surely sums up the player's loyalty to the team far more concisely than any contract ever could. It translates to ‘Bagel Heart’.