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Not Big Sam: How my Hammers slayed 11 sorry Brummies

by Paddy Power | August 22, 2012


Self-control. Big Sam has many devastating weapons in his arsenal – the brutal upper-body strength of 10 tigers, the sexual prowess of a Backstreet Boy, the lingering allure of his coquettish smile. The single most potent, however, has always been his legendary self-control.

While others approach the beginning of a new Premier League season with all the trepidation of a tea-lady rolling her cart around the shadowy halls of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Big Sam takes it in his stride like nobody’s fucking business.

When I was playing for Bolton in the 70s, I lived near a peculiar little man called Norville Kermode. Norville had one leg longer than the other, and had to wear an orthopaedic shoe to compensate. It was an awful-looking piece of footwear, something Herman Munster would turn his nose up at, but it seemed to do the job. The practicality of this big shoe wasn’t enough for Norville, though. He wanted more. He wanted style and panache. He decided one day to jazz the shoe up, giving it a full-on glam rock makeover; multi-coloured sparkles on the vamp, twinkling stars on the toe cap – the lot. It still wasn’t enough for Norville.

Soon he converted the other shoe so the pair matched. Then he made himself a pair of skin-tight silver trousers, with roaring flames up the side. Then he came up with a bejewelled, padded jacket that he wore triumphantly atop his flabby bare chest. Norville had lost all semblance of self-control. What started as an innocent but misguided attempt to add a bit of glamour to his massive shoe, ended up with him strutting around the streets like Gary fucking Glitter with a limp. The real tragedy though, was that Norville never upgraded his look as the years went buy. He never evolved with modern fashion trends.

GLAM SHOCKER: Glitter’s downfall had tragic consequences for one man I knew who lacked self-control

When news of Glitter’s misdeeds hit the news-stands, Norville was spotted coming out of a bookies by a baying mob and that was that. I think one member of the rabble even removed his big shoe, and beat him about the face and neck with it. Sing about that, Alanis.

The importance of self-control

Back to the present day, in the year of our lord, 2012, and the importance of self-control endures like a fine wine.

The dressing room before West Ham’s opening game of the campaign against Aston Villa on Saturday was a maelstrom of unchecked emotions. Little Matty Taylor quivering in the corner like a lab rat staring down the needle of a syringe. Ricardo Vaz Te break-dancing frantically on the floor. Big Carlton Cole sitting in the sink, staring deep into space and gently brushing the hair of his beloved troll doll.

It is my job not only to to assuage this fear and anxiety, but to also harness the energy behind it and turn it into something positive. Something wonderful. I’m like Mickey Mouse in ‘Fantasia’, conducting all those useless buckets and soggy mops into a mesmerising symphony of cohesion and excellence.

Rage has its place in football – if I ever meet the guy who stuck up his hand during a meeting at ITV Sport, and said, ‘what about Adrian Chiles?’, he’ll feel the full force of my furious wrath – but at times like this, the soothing hands of self-control will calm even the most wretched, trembling poltroon in the squad.

As I stand in front of my soldiers, I know they need my guidance more than ever. They sit silently, waiting for their anxiety to be put to rest by their master. I raise my hand. A flicker of intimidation darts across their eyes as they cower in fear of physical retribution. Instead, I reach towards my back and pull my Viking sword, Trudy, from my scabbard.

I point Trudy to the sky, her energy oscillating wildly around the room. “Are we ready to do this?” I whisper. A few lightning-fast swipes of my steeled blade later, and the lads are transformed. In an instance, they become rapturous, yet focused. Intense, yet serene. James Collins was so entranced by the display he actually stood up and roared: “I give my life to Big Sam!” and tried to run into Trudy. Thankfully, Kevin Nolan stopped him just in time.

This example of my power may seem intimidating to some, but it’s merely what I do. I simply burst the balloon of their anxiety and handed them another balloon. Filled with… something else. Joy, maybe. Or grit. Ninety minutes later, we return to the dressing room with the blood of 11 slain Brummies still fresh on our fangs.

What I’ve learned about Swansea

On Saturday, I take my band of warriors to Swansea. Perhaps I’ll unleash the might of Trudy to inspire and enchant my combatants once again. Perhaps I won’t. Actually, I’ll probably bring her anyway, just in case. I’ve been to Swansea many times, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about the place is you should always bring a bloody weapon.

Self-control. It’s all about self-control. St Paul once wrote: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Who am I to argue with a fucking saint?

Not Big Sam is a parody account on Twitter which can be found here. It is in no way related to Sam Neill, Sam Adams, Sam Allardyce or Sam Fox.

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