Let’s be honest, everyone loves a good cunt, and a good cunt, these days, is hard to find. I think Feargal Sharkey even wrote a song about it once. You see, deep down, we all appreciate a spot-on piece of cunting. We may not readily admit to it, but we do. We’re excited by it. We revel in it. We wrap ourselves up in it like a giant, fluffy cunt blanket. And being a good cunt is a challenge, as the best ones know their remarks should always be just obvious enough to burn the nostrils of Multiple Miggs. For instance, a comment about Steven Gerrard not being a top player couldn’t be more transparent if it was wearing cling-film fucking pants. It’s like saying Paul Scholes doesn’t have orange bollocks. It’s not a lie, and it isn’t the truth – it’s just flawless cunting.
Even when we’ve seen it all before we still react to it, and as football fans we’re fortunate enough to have witnessed some of the very best cunts in action. Cantona twatting a fan; Ruddock messing with his collar; Hazard punting a ballboy; Adebayor running a pitch length – all in the name of cunting. You just don’t get this in any other sport. In fact, even when they’re sparse, football provides us with ample opportunities to make new ones; building them piece by piece, week by week, until they’re ready, like a sort of ‘Create Your Own Cunt’ collectible magazine. Luis Suarez, for example, was only a junior cunt while playing for Ajax, but quickly established himself for many as a top level super cunt during his first two seasons over here. Biting, diving, racist remarks, massive teeth, and the small matter of scoring a zillion times saw him rocket to the top of hate lists everywhere. And he’s not looked back ever since, even prompting his own fans to label him an absolute cuntpiece for trying to force a move away from Liverpool this past summer. Obviously a few goals has already changed this perception somewhat, giving way to the now often used phrase “He may be a cunt, but he’s our cunt!”, said with absolute relish and joy, thus giving weight to the initial point here – we do indeed love a good cunt.
Football fans are quick to pretend they’d not want “a cunt like that” playing for their beloved club. Obviously this is much, much easier to say when there’s no chance of said cunt playing for you anyway. Arsenal fans did the whole “I’m in two minds about it” when they thought Suarez was close to joining them, which would’ve changed to “OH MY GOD I FUCKING LOVE THIS CUNT!” quicker than The Flash takes a shite had he actually moved there. They’ll boo him when the two teams meet on Saturday, simply because he isn’t acting the cunt for them when they’d really, really like him to be.
But with Suarez having a well earned rest, and with John Terry and Jose Mourinho seemingly yet to reveal their 2013/14 collections, Alex Ferguson quickly recognised the void we’d been fearing since his retirement in the summer. He immediately released a book jam-packed with so much cuntery you’d think it was a copy of Razzle, and everyone went mental for it. One or two sites even ran a fucking live launch of the thing, with updates from war-torn Woolworths, where giddy flies sensed the fresh corpse of class. And what do you think desperate, foaming at the mouth journos skim read the fuck out of it for? In depth analysis on formations and tactics? The vital ingredients for building a successful, trophy-laden managerial career? The hidden secrets behind grooming and nurturing young and promising talents? Nope. It was for the cunting.
“I found his comments about Steven Gerrard very strange. To say he is not a top player is wrong. For two or three years, Steven Gerrard was the best midfield player in the world.”
– Zinedine Zidane, like many, fooled by top cunting
They weren’t disappointed. Rooney, Keane, Rafa, Kenny, Beckham – all on the hit list like a cunt’s Kill Bill. Even Mark fucking Bosnich wasn’t safe, and, by the sound of it, neither was the canteen when he was around. There were surprise targets, too. Jordan Henderson isn’t from Liverpool, and prior to his transfer from Sunderland I’d wager he never really thought of Ferguson as anything other than someone’s slightly annoying, purple Granddad. But not anymore. Incredibly, Ferguson attacked the quiet midfielder’s waddle (the fuck?) and questioned whether Henderson’s career would last any longer than a bottle of Luke Chadwick’s Clearasil. And just like that, Jordan Henderson’s private list of cunts had a new name at the top. After all, by process of gait eligibility, Ferguson, quite inexplicably, had just proclaimed him less able than Anderson ‘The Landslide’ Anderson. Top, top cunting.
And let’s not fuck about, he knew what he was doing. He’s made cunting an art form over the years. Why do you think someone like Mourinho referred to him as “The Boss”? Everyone remembers the way he had Kevin Keegan practically shitting himself live to the nation in 1996. He even had Rafa writing lists without so much as a peep a few years ago. But back then he was in his prime. This was different. This was one last dig from the director’s box. One last act of cuntology aimed at getting a hissy fit, or ten, from every corner of Liverpool’s support. And why the fuck not? It’s his very last chance after all, and Liverpool fans really do react oh so well, even when the majority of them could surely see this for what it was. Couldn’t they?
It’s all now part and parcel of the modern game. In the popular, life-sapping pastime ‘Football Manager’, acting a cunt is now keenly encouraged during pre-match press conferences and interaction with the media, as if the makers of the game are in touch with the player’s desire to taste the life of a megalomaniacal megacunt; clapping their hands in demented, starving seal fashion at how their comments will fuck off their not-actually-existing opposite number. You can eventually gain a reputation for this if you work hard enough at it, and perhaps in future versions of the game you’ll even be able to select your favourite go-to ‘cunt response’ from a pre-defined list. We get close-ups of handshakes live on Sky Sports, who literally cut short their contracted ad breaks just so they don’t miss any act of live, unadulterated cunting should it take place. They make fucking montages out of the stuff, set to Eminem. Sometimes they’re so desperate for someone to act like a cunt they’ll send Geoff Shreeves in to do it instead.
“How about I shove that fucking hat up your ball-launching four-four-two arse, Pulis, you bad cap-wearing dickhead.”
– Football Manager 2020, probably
So how much malice is intended by acting a cunt? I’d argue it’s minimal. Gary Neville, once an enormously infuriating champion cunt, has since hung up his boots and moved into punditry, and very good he is at it too – proving the act of being an undeniable thundercunt for your club could all just be a bit of harmless fun. He now sits opposite born and bred scouser Jamie Carragher every Monday evening, apparently forgetting that Gary Neville “hates scousers”, or perhaps he’s simply readying himself for one last almighty act of proper cuntery, taking us all by surprise in an M. Night Shyamalan ‘Fuck me, what a cunt’ kind of way. We just won’t know until Neville wants us to know. The mark of a true cunt.
Let’s get one thing straight: there is always a line, and most know where to draw it, but for the most part it’s genuinely surprising just how many combust with apoplectic rage over the tiniest remarks made by individuals in sport, particularly when one could argue that any club’s fans act like bigger cunts anyway; throwing faceless abuse at players on Twitter and throwing much worse at them during the match. Why should you not expect to get it back at some point? Ferguson’s book, just like many others before it, was full of truths and half-truths, with the half-truths dressed in saucy crotchless knickers just for you. As Jordan Henderson proved this weekend, it’s not the people he’s written about who are getting mad – it’s us – and the reaction has been everything he wanted and more, planned to perfection one last time.
So don’t get angry, and don’t pretend the world would be a better place without genuinely creative cunting. Just take a breath, smile, and say “Well done, cunt!”, because as a great man once said, “It’s all just part of the dance”.