Write an Article

Hazard ball-boy incident: Much ado about nothing



Michael Laudrup’s Swansea drew 0-0 with Chelsea in their second leg of the Capital One Cup, and the first leg result was enough to send them into the final, where they will face League Two giantkillers Bradford City. It was a momentous night for the Dane, as he guided his Welsh side in to the final of a domestic cup competition in his very first year at the club.

It’s a splendid matchup, and one that should give other teams hope. Victory for either side will see them qualify for the Europa League, a great incentive for teams like Bradford City, and indeed Swansea.

But instead of talking about a potential windfall for either club, the media is choosing to focus on Eden Hazard “kicking” the ball-boy, an incident unworthy of such scrutiny. Overreaction is perhaps not the right word, but it’s the first one that comes to mind.

Are we idiots? Have we finally lost ourselves in the quest for ultimate coverage of the game? On a night when we should be hailing Laudrup’s side for going the distance and upsetting a side that was one of the favourites, on a night Arsenal put four past West Ham in a blitzkrieg that lasted barely 10 minutes, and on a night the much-maligned Olivier Giroud scored two goals, we are discussing the morality in “kicking” a ball-boy who wasn’t even doing his job right.

Put yourself in Eden Hazard’s shoes, metaphorically. There’s a little more than 10 minutes left on the clock, your side is trailing 0-2 from the first leg, the Swansea goalkeeper is already wasting time with his goalkicks, tensions are running high and time is of the essence. And then a ball-boy, who’s only job is to put the ball back into play as quickly as possible, decides to smother the ball and play dead, so that more time is wasted and his team gets a much needed breather. Hazard, no doubt already stressed, has to decide whether to wait for the young man to finish his love-making act with the ball, or just kick it out from under him so that play can go on. A simple decision for a professional footballer, and I think it’s clear from this footage that he was careful  not to hurt the boy, but simply get the ball out from under him. All good, game on then? No, hardly. There’s still a red card to be given, and Hazard has to take the walk of shame for doing something that the commentators referred to as “indescribable, indefensible and unforgivable.”

The last time someone used those words to describe a situation wherein a footballer went mad was when Eric Cantona kicked that hooligan. And this is what Cantona had to say about those who described his momentary lack of control as “unforgivable”.

Apt, isn’t it, what Cantona has to say? Not the swearing, but how things are blown out of proportion by those who we entrust with the responsibility of providing us with information about the game and its events.

Footballers are people too. Just like the rest of us, they have every right to express their emotions. The only difference is that most of the time, they cannot and don’t, for fear of sullying their or their employers’ reputation. Eden Hazard has had to put up with a lot of crap, fans booing and swearing at him, journalists calling out for a 5-game ban – all for having the audacity to get the ball back into play, back where it belongs.

And all this is ignoring the fact that the “boy”, a fully grown 17-year-old, had intended on doing this exact thing, even going as far as to tweet what he was going to do. One pre-match tweet on his account reads: “The king of all ball boys is back making his final appearance #needed #for #timewasting.” The fact that he is the son of a Swansea director only adds to the conspiracy, that somehow Swansea had decided beforehand and told their ball-boys to waste as much time as possible.

Ridiculous. The things we say and do to sell papers, get more clicks and grab more eye-balls. Football happened last night, and amidst all that, one idiot had his 15 seconds of fame, and some more idiots chose to fixate on that moment, completely ignoring the show but focusing on the backstage altercation. The only silver lining is that there are sane individuals, and those are the ones who will laugh off this minor incident and will remember the football on display.

Here’s a more realistic roundup of the day’s matches: Swansea held on for a memorable draw that sees them reach the League Cup final, Arsenal thumped West Ham 5-1, with Giroud scoring twice, and fans all around the world were left disappointed when Hazard mildly kicked the ball-boy who was acting like a total prick. The fans think the ball-boy got off easy, and wished they too took could kick the boy up his backside to restore sense and parity in the world of football.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Liverpool: Live Score and commentary, Premier League, 2016-17 ...
Crystal Palace vs Bournemouth Live Score and Commentary, Premier League 2016-17 ...
Chelsea vs Burnley Live Score and Commentary, Premier League 2016-17 ...
Watford vs Arsenal Live Score and Commentary, Premier League 2016-17 ...
Live Transfer Blog: EPL, La Liga and Rest of Europe [August 27th 2016] Follow all the transfers and rumours as we get closer and closer to the deadline day....LIVE.
Lionel Messi HD wallpapers High definition wallpapers of Lionel Messi for you computers.
5 things to know about Arsenal target Lucas Perez Apart from Arsenal, there was also another big club who wanted to sign the striker. Find out who:
EPL 2016-17: Tottenham vs Liverpool - Predicted starting XI for the Reds Liverpool face a stern test at White Hart Lane against an unbeaten Tottenham side.
EPL 2016-17: Premier League Memes of the Week - Week 2 Our collection of the memes of the week.
EPL 2016-17: Tottenham vs Liverpool - Predicted starting XI for Spurs Will Tottenham pile on more Premier League misery for the Reds?
The best managers of all time: #14 - Giovanni Trapattoni Profiling No.14 of the best managers of all time, the Italian who won 10 league titles in 4 different leagues.
EPL 2016-17: How Shkodran Mustafi would fit in at Arsenal Could the German defender be the solution to Arsenal's defensive issues?
La Liga 2016-17 Week 2 roundup: Malaga clinch draw with a last minute goal against Espanyol Deportivo also held out for a draw against Real Betis in the other game.
EPL 2016-17: Tottenham vs Liverpool combined XI The last time these two clubs met at the Lane, the match ended in a 0-0 draw.
Hebei China Fortune name Pellegrini as manager
Bilbao one of hardest away games for Barca - Luis Enrique
Bellarabi, Wendell extend contracts at Leverkusen
Augsburg sign Hoffenheim's Schmid, sell Esswein to Berlin
5 world class players who don't get the attention they deserve These players are absolutely vital for their teams, but they do not get the attention they deserve
Cristiano Ronaldo subtly hits back at Gerard Pique's "easy" comment Real Madrid star gives the perfect response to Pique's controversial comment.
Fetching more content...
Related articles