(above : Wayne Rooney, moments after learning he cannot possibly collect royalties from the touring company of “Stomp”)
“These lads’ careers will probably be over by the time they’re 35,” writes When Saturday Comes’ Ian Plenderleith of the EPL’s work force. “It’s obvious that the game’s commercial potential is nowhere close to being exhausted…it’s time we parasites stopped milking their ideas without giving back the requisite compensation,” or more to the point, “any time a commentator attributes the word ‘trademark’ to a particular player’s skill, or habit, then their agents should be on the lookout for money-spinning copycat behaviour.” Or as Ted DiBiase might’ve put it, “every man’s mimicry of another (famous football-playing) man has it’s price”.
Pleased as you might be with the free-kick you bent around the wall and into the net on Hackney Marshes last Sunday morning, you’ll still have to contribute a sum of gratitude to the Roberto Carlos Retirement Fund (via a string of entirely legitimate bank accounts in Chechnya). Or maybe you spent the entire 90 minutes looking lost and ineffective, in which case you owe money to anyone who’s worn a Scotland shirt over the past decade. In an egalitarian world, rubbish should be trademarked too.
Fancy flinging yourself to the ground in the penalty area to fool the referee into awarding your team a spot-kick? Absolutely fine, but don’t be surprised to find Steven Gerrard’s lawyers on the touchline presenting you with a bill. What about mindlessly lashing out at an opponent after the ball has gone? Go ahead, fill your boots (or scythe your studs). Just be prepared to admit you got the idea off Wayne Rooney, and transfer the required sum to his agent for the privilege. Creative inspiration’s not free, you know.
Want to look like a mother hen, clucking randomly and staring into space while sitting on a nest of warm eggs? Cough up to Harry Redknapp. Get drunk, go to a night club, behave like a twat, get into a fight, then blame the football “establishment” – cheques payable to J Barton.