This is the very human tale of Drogba and Lampard, Chelsea footballers. Drogba is the brilliant big baby who when tackled to the ground will writhe about for a while and then get up and limp. More than the average player. He is known for appealing to the referee dramatically and persistently. On two occasions in Champions league matches he has been sent off for drama of one sort or another, thus weakening his team. He seems to feel hurt and wronged more than most and these qualities in a top-class sportsman, 32-year-old father, African hero, Captain of the Ivory Coast national team and millionaire are ridiculous.
But Didiers are found in most human groupings. And in each of us there is at least some of this Didier quality. We are what we are, what genes and environment made us. A touching understanding and tolerance of others was demonstrated on the field of play yesterday by our other personality, Frank Lampard, known as Lamps, one of Chelsea and England's most consistent players. He is a great penalty taker, who earlier this season re-took a penalty twice because of infringements by his teammates, and was allowed to register with the third one.
(See Cool Foot Frank, earlier in this blog)
At the start of the match Drogba was level with Man U's Rooney on goals scored this season. There is an award for top-scorer called The Golden Boot. Early in the match with Chelsea leading by only one goal, they were awarded a penalty - of course, Lampard normally takes the penalties.
It seems that Drogba wanted to take this penalty to add to his total for the Golden Boot. Lampard refused to allow him and promptly took the penalty and scored. Drogba did not come to congratulate him. Then before play resumed Lampard was to be seen hugging Drogba and trying to mollify, comfort, persuade, calm, or whatever the big baby. What he said we can guess,
"You will get a chance later, the next penalty if it comes is yours, but first I had to make sure we had a good lead. It is my responsiblity."
Drogba was still sulky for a while. In fact, television pundit, former Chelsea manager Glenn Hoddle, speculated that the Didier might not return on the field for the second half. He did and scored three. The first of these was a headed goal, the ball lifted to him over the goalmouth by Lampard. His second was a penalty - Lampard threw the ball to him to take the kick.
Didier was cavorting with his teammates during and long after the presentation of the trophy: one of the team again.
Just because you are famous, a celebrity, a father, a big brother, even confident and expert at what you do ........ there's still a baby in there somewhere! And what impressed me most was that Frank Lampard recognised this and offered comfort, not scorn.
Well, I hope I interpreted the situation correctly. It could be that Frank said,
"Why don't you pull yourself together?"
What do you think he said to the Didier?
If you want to read more about the drama of the season's last day then .....
Yesterday 's Premier league matches were the last of the 2009-2010 season with Chelsea having to win against Wigan in the last match to be certain of first position. Manchester United in second position would remain there if Chelsea won, but themselves needed a win against Stoke to capture first place in the event that Chelsea lost - there was one point difference in their totals before the match but Chelsea had a greatly superior goal-difference.
In fact, the number of goals was the feature of the season for not only did Chelsea win 8-0 yesterday, they had three previous wins of 7-0 in their netting season and scored the highest season total ever in the Premier League, 103 goals. Drogba scored a hat-trick in the final match yesterday to be top scorer in the league ......... and thereby hangs the very human tale told at the start of this blog.
Sam Wallace of The Independent was the best
of all of yesterday's press reports, capturing the whole drama and implications.