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Not Big Sam: Rafa Benitez is my greatest nemesis, but here’s why I still feel sorry for him

by Josh Powell | March 15, 2013

Not Big Sam

Not Big Sam feels sorry for Rafa Benitez, but has a warning for the Chelsea manager ahead of West Ham’s Premier League trip to Stamford Bridge this weekend…

As an adult man, I have been involved in roughly 346 grudges. Be they personal or professional, these rancorous bouts of sustained antipathy – aimed at an eclectic range of fellow human beings – have acted as the essential amino acids that have helped form the very protein of pugnacity that fuels and sustains much of Big Sam’s unmistakable brilliance.

The first grudge I can remember having as a mature man, was with a greengrocer called Rodney Swarm. Rodney caught me off guard in his shop one afternoon, and attempted to smear my reputation in a most heinous way. After catching me in the midst of one of my famous wistful daydreams – one in which I was rubbing, and smiling at, a particularly shiny and beautiful marrow – Rodney instructed every other patron in his tawdry little establishment to stop what they were doing, and look in my direction.

“Look at this poofter!” he bawled, with impudent glee; globs of tobacco-coated saliva dripping from his hateful mouth. “He’s pretending that marrow is a big willy! Haha! I bet he wants to straddle it like a Spacehopper! What a massive homo sapien!”

While he may have set out that day to humiliate and demean a tender and sensitive 18-year-old for his own twisted amusement, all Rodney did was forge himself an enemy from the fiery furnaces of hell. And prove that he was somewhat confused as to what a ‘homo sapien’ was.

I spent the next four years involved in a succession of small to medium-sized skirmishes with Swarm, until it all came to a head one morning in a swimming pool in Wolverhampton, when I proceeded to vomit violently from a three-meter springboard straight onto his head, face, chest and shoulders. Not only did I shower him with the chunky, bubbling contents of my own magnificent guts, but I also managed to convince Nancy Plume, a girl for whom we both had erotic designs, that Rodney had actually threw-up over himself in public.

SPRINGBOARD SURPRISE: Rafa will do well to avoid the same fate as Plume

SPRINGBOARD SURPRISE: Rafa will do well to avoid the same fate as Rodney Swarm

This dastardly double-whammy ruined any chance Rodney had with the delectable Miss Plume, and left the way clear for Big Sam to snare her youthful curves in his own fiendish, yet consensual, trap. I can still hear Rodney’s pained cries of “how the f*ck do you think I managed to get it on top of my head?!” as a nauseated Nancy informed him that she never wanted to lay eyes on him again. Bloody hilarious.

Many years have passed since then, and many further grudges have been fostered. Arsene Wenger. The BBC. Miriam Margolyes. Spike Lee. These bastards and more have been caught in the crossfire of Big Sam’s spite-rifle, and been devastated by my penetrating bullets of hate. This Sunday, however, will see me lock horns once again with perhaps my greatest nemesis of all. My Lex Luther. My Brutus. My chubby little bête noire: Rafael Benítez.

Rafa and I were never friends. We have different styles and mentalities. Rafa prefers a rigid, methodical approach to the game, and basks in the glory of his own brilliance. I, on the other hand, walk with an altogether more august gait, and play the game with all the flair and carefree verve of a TOWIE cast member at a beach barbeque. Rafa is cold, concise and conceited. Big Sam is humble, charming and unconcealed. He is Hercule Poirot to my Jane Marple.

We’ve had many run-ins, and despite what you may have read about in the papers, most of them have remained private. I once asked him to fetch me some gazpacho as we walked down the tunnel at half-time in a particularly tetchy encounter between our teams, while on another occasion he drove past me in Blackburn, leaning out of his car window like a sneering bespectacled beagle, shouting: “I just saw your mum’s t*ts – KWALATEEE!”

RAFA BENITEZ: My Lex Luther in the footballing world

RAFA BENITEZ: My Lex Luther. My greatest nemesis

This is all in the past, however. I am a much more spiritual person these days, and much of that is down to the teachings of the wonderful Chief Serendipity Bow-wow, leader of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe of Colorado. I struck up a rather deep and beautiful online friendship with Chief Serendipity, after crossing paths with him in one of the darker, and more sinister corners of the 4chan website.

Initially, we clashed anonymously after he posted a rather offensive, Photoshopped picture of Arthur Scargill and a calving cow, but we soon put that behind us, and embarked on one of the most extraordinary relationships I’ve ever been a part of. Through the teachings of the Chief, and a general calming that has descending upon me in recent years – no doubt due to the trophy-laden success I’ve achieved at West Ham United – Big Sam has become a rather more benevolent, forgiving person.

Inspiration from Cliff Richard

I just want to take this opportunity to say; I forgive you, Rafa. I forgive you for all the hurt you’ve caused me, and all the disrespect. I look to the lyrics of one of my favourite songs from the late, great Cliff Richard: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” I have delivered West Ham United from evil, and, like, lead them not into temptation, but into the Premier League. And, that time you did that bloody ‘game over’ gesture towards me, Rafa? You were like…. like, totally bloody trespassing against me, and you were bang out of order, you know, but… it’s okay. It’s fine now. I am as serene as a moonlit lake.

In fact, I even have some sympathy towards Rafa. I too know what it is like to be the target of a thousand gnarled, angry faces in the crowd; each one channeling all their inadequacies and frustrations into a brilliant white light of distorted hate, aimed squarely at my magnificent grill. Do these Chelsea fans not know the obliterating damage they can do to a man’s pride with devastatingly cutting banners made out of A4 copier paper and a packet of Crayola Supertip pens?


I’ve also got experience working with goal-shy, mentally weak strikers. I now look at Fernando Torres playing football with the same heartbreaking gaze I wear when watching deformed hippy Rocky Dennis try to flirt with that blind girl in ‘Mask‘. What a tragic figure Torres now cuts; he’s like that girl who was beautiful when you went to school with her, but now looks like a twisted, hideous pram-pushing gargoyle, and squirms with embarrassment when you bump into her in the shop.

Like me, Rafa Benitez has plenty on his plate, and he has nothing but my sympathy. Despite our checkered and somewhat brutal past, Big Sam offers the hands of friendship to him, at this time of great trouble and strife. When we meet at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, Rafa, let us do so as friends. Comrades. Peers. Perhaps we could go see a movie afterwards, or crack open this bottle of Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest Wet Hop Ale I’ve been saving for a special occasion. Confide in me Rafa; let me hide you in the mother breast of my kindness, and to suckle on the very teat of my obstinance.

If you do another one of those ‘game over’ waves at me, though, I swear to God, I’ll DDT you right through the bloody touchline. Trust me.

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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