So “Big Sam” Allardyce was angry as his – my – team, West Ham, crashed out of the Capital One League Cup, losing 4-1 at home to Wigan. Wigan! You bet he was angry – with the team of course. The weakened team – 9 changes from the last Premier League game. Team selection by… Sam Allardyce. Rubbish defending… they can’t come knocking on my door complaining about not playing now…etc, etc.
We couldn’t defend a fish supper tonight.
Now I know what he really means. The defence was so poor it couldn’t have defended a really easy thing to defend… like a fish supper. Never mind a goal attempt by the fearsome Wigan reserves (yes, they put out a second team too). But the choice of metaphor was intriguing.
That got me thinking, how easy would it be to defend a fish supper? Under what circumstances would you find yourself in the position of defending a fish supper? Here are the circumstances I can think of:
1. Fending off an attempt by someone outside the chippie to steal your fish and chips. Hard or easy depends on how big and threatening they are. Quite likely to be HARD, especially after the pubs close.
2. Defending said purchase to a strict vegan environmentalist, who would oppose eating a fish supper both on principle and on the empirical grounds that cod stocks in the North Sea are rapidly dwindling. HARD.
3. Justifying the meal to the healthy eaters who would cite the batter on the fish and the existence of chips as a cause of obesity, heart disease, and so on. HARD.
4. Explaining to your kids that McDonalds was shut so you couldn’t get burgers and chips, but fish is much healthier anyway. Quite HARD.
5. Justifying eating out at a really posh and expensive fish restuarant – in the evening – when you could have just gone for a curry. Depends whether you can afford it. NEUTRAL.
Have you got any other examples? Do leave them in comments!
But my conclusion is that defending a fish supper can be hard. Probably harder than keeping out the Wigan reserve attack. So Sam’s got his metaphors in a twist. Or maybe a pickle.
What’s worse is that he was lambasting some of the young lads who could be West Ham’s future if he gives them the chance in the long term. Jordan Spence, James Tomkins, Dan Potts – all playing in the Hammers’ defence last night. Doing their best. Is he saying don’t knock on my door to them?
I hope not.
Meanwhile, given this fishy theme, let us remember the finest of maritime metaphors uttered by a football man. Of course it is Eric Cantona.
When seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea…