Through Gritted Teeth #28: Didier Drogba

July 15, 2011 § 9 Comments

Didier Drogba, holding forth

by Brett Atkinson

If my local were on a camp South Pacific Island created in the 40’s by Rodgers and Hammerstein, and I were to stare longingly at the big screen in quasi-admiration of Didier Drogba, Mike the landlord would no doubt cajole me into a rendition of “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair” and we’d all fall about the place in fits of papaya and passion fruit induced giggles. Unfortunately, I appear to have missed the consultation with Carlsberg when they were dressing my boozer, the décor preferred by landlord Mike being the antithesis of my colourful fantasy (almost as if he knew). In this squalid reality, if I were to even once utter under my breath a tentative favourable leaning towards Drogba, Mike’s rather rambunctious son, who works the bar, would no doubt begin to foam at the mouth and bearing his teeth (all three of them) politely ask, “Whadya like ee for? Yer prick!”

I am a garrulous sod after a few pints of the black stuff and I enjoy nothing more than exercising my right to bask in the glorious short comings of my beloved Manchester United’s nemesises (nemesi?). Of late, the Chelski lot — through an unhealthy mix of jealousy on my part, and continued besmirchment of our beautiful game, individually and collectively, on theirs — tend to bare the brunt of my drunken pontificating. Curious as it seems, even to me, I don’t include “Dog-breath” in this overtly regular diatribe.

Whilst I’m hardly curmudgeonly, there are precepts of conduct within the game I try and hold dear. These are spitefully laughed in the face of every time Drogba crosses the hallowed white line. He resides within the recesses of his own mind. If he were to neglect to think about himself for a second he may cease to exist. He’s a cartoon with his own micro-climate — whilst Chelsea bathe in the May sunshine, “The Drog” can be found drowning in a shit storm of his own creation. It’s his world, his way (ruled by his own brand of “Drogma”, sorry).

Despite all this I view Drogba not as a paradigm case of a petulant footballer, but more a seminal post-post-modern superstar of what our simple game has become. His persona almost entirely born of a natural gift for self-aggrandisement. (There is maybe more to him than this of course. I begrudgingly admit that when in the mood he is as unplayable as unplayable can be. But I’ll hide that in these brackets.) With every calamitous dive, onion-bag smashing volley, pitiful grass-cutting scuff from 50 yards, slobber over the club badge, tempestuous tirade at the ref, irksome tantrum, triumphant leap into the crowd, he manages to somehow eclipse most other attempts at being the best in the given category. Everything he does is to the nth degree.

I’m in awe of his absolute belief in himself. His drive to be a legend, I find legendary in itself.

I’m fairly certain my attraction isn’t in any way a wholly positive one. I’m by no means a moth to a flame but it’s hardly fair to say I’m rubber necking for the potential car crash (maybe it’s a combination of the two: A mubber tooth a neck car cracking flash?). Either way I have to admit, in spite of myself, somewhat through gritted teeth, I will continue to enjoy the spectacle that is Didier Drogba. I’ll just make sure I don’t let the regulars know.

And I love my local, warts n all.

Brett writes regularly for the Football United online fanzine, the most recent edition of which can be found here. He is also one half of Bifurcated MUFC, and can be castigated for his Drog-love on Twitter here: @HoldAndGive.

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§ 9 Responses to Through Gritted Teeth #28: Didier Drogba

  • keith says:

    could you provide one example of drogba diving? he is as bad as it gets at exaggerating contact at times, but i’ve never known him to dive (i.e. no contact), but your article suggests he’s always diving.

    the one yellow card he was given for diving was later rescinded.

    • twistedblood says:

      A quick Twitter poll reveals this, against Arsenal:

      And the second clip in this compilation (CIV-NED) is also great:

    • Hi Keith,

      I think the best thing to do would be to visit YouTube (other video archives are available online) and search ‘Drogba Diving’.

      I also think my definition of diving in a football context may be at odds with yours as I personally find an ‘exaggeration of contact’ definitely falls within that category. It’s simulation. Immitating ‘painful’ contact with an exxagerated movement, generally ending up on a heap on the floor in the pursuit of getting the upper hand against your opponent. I think a lot of people might agree that this belongs in the category of diving too.

      I also didn’t intend to suggest he dived all the time, just that he’s very good at it. But now you have brought it to my attention and I’ve trawled through YouTube myself I’ve realised he actually does dive a hell of a lot.

      • keith says:

        i think most people acknowledge there’s a difference between diving (as perfected by ronaldo, gerrard etc) and exaggerating real contact.

        that’s not to try and defend drogba, his play-acting is embarrasing(although he has improved over the last two years), but i’ve never seen him go down without contact.

        also, i don’t think he’s especially good at it! i can’;t remember him ever winning a penalty with a dive, or by exaggerating contact, in fact he misses out on penalty awards because of his reputation

  • keith says:

    so the answer was no then?

    • twistedblood says:

      Well, I would suggest that making the most of a foul is different to getting a nudge on the shoulder and hurling yourself to the floor (a, above), or flinging yourself to the ground at the slightest touch (b, above), both of which I’d happily call dives.

      But it’s not my piece; if it was, I’d have included those godawful rock band celebrations.

      *air guitar*

      • Heh Heh, c’mon Andi, you’re telling me with Malouda backing you up on the tubs you wouldn’t start thrashing out some tasty licks?

        (I reckon The Drog is playing playing the one string banjo)

    • Okay, I’m not going to argue over our different interpretation of language and/or our perceptions of Dog-breaths behaviour as a result. I will agree Drogba isn’t Tom Daley.

      p.s I think the second ‘dive’ on this particular montage shows the ‘no contact’ you crave 😉

  • Aside from the fact that we haven’t seen as much of Drogba this past year, would you agree that he seems to have slightly mellowed down over the years? World Cup shenanigans notwithstanding, even his press appearances seem more measured and mature

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