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13.6.06

Twil għal xejn

Min hu butwila bħali, spilungone, qisu pilastru, x’aktarx semgħu dan il-kumpliment. L-aktar li huwa mxerred fost it-tfal, imma anki hemm xi kbar li jkomplu jgħiduh, għaliex it-tul mhux spiss in-norma, l-aktar fil-pajjiżi tan-naħa tagħna. L-espressjoni ssaħħarni għax dejjem staqsejt lili nnifsi għala t-twil jattira daqshekk attenzjoni. Biex inkunu għidna kollox, anki l-estrem l-ieħor, naturalment, jaqlagħha fuq rasu: min-nofs prinzjoni u s-sikspenz ta’ dari, għan-nanu kemmxejn kattiva u l-‘qum bil-wieqfa’ li hija kampjun ċelebri ta’ l-umoriżmu jaqta’ Malti.

Forsi għax parte in causa, parte lesa u mixgħuf, imma l-qosra jeħlisuha ħafna aktar ħafif. Il-qosra tiggustahom, l-essenza fil-fliexen iż-żgħar (u l-velenu wkoll), u l-qosra jafu jkunu ħfief ukoll, bħal Maradona u l-Bużu. It-tifkira li għandi tan-nies qosra l-iskola hija waħda fejn kienu jkunu popolari, minn quddiem f’gaj subien (tara anki f’ċerta klikek ta’ qattagħni fejn tinħasad tara wieħed qisu likk jippoppa sidru u jiftaħ idejh huma u jsegwuh), u kulħadd jaqbeż għalihom. Għax ma tridx tagħmel għaż-żgħar, imma jekk għandek il-gazz, għamel għal min hu akbar minnek.

U qisu t-twal jibżgħu anqas minnhom. Għax hemm twal u twal. Mhux dawk li jkunu ġà qishom ġolf, sovra-sviluppati. It-twal għal xejn, li jridu joqgħodu attenti ma jmorrux jaħbtu l-qrun, l-istikek forsi daqsxejn ħotbija u jbatu minn daharhom, tqal u goffi u jidhru minn kullimkien, li jidgħulhom jekk ikunu bil-wieqfa quddiemhom f’xi kunċert, u li agunija jekk ma jsibux post fuq ix-xarabank Malti u li jidħlu eżatt f’siġġu tat-tokis ta’ l-Eden.

Biex niġbdu lejn il-futbol, Koller taċ-Ċeki, li għamel l-ewwel ballun kontra l-Amerka, x’aktarx kien jipprendih kulħadd l-iskola. Imma skinny Peter Crouch, b’dak il-kunjom li jimplika tbaxxa, staħba, inżel, u qisu jdoqq bħal hunch, kien jibża’ minnu xi ħadd? L-ewwelnett, mid-dehra ugly, imma meta darba mort nara l-Arsenal man-Newcastle, lil Beardsley kienu qed jgħiruh hekk, u dak ma fihx raġel. U ngħiduha kif inhi, nieħu minni u mhux biss, it-twal enormi tipo Crouch ma tarahomx plejers kbar is-soltu, l-aktar fil-pożizzjoni kruċjali li jilgħab fiha l-beanpole Ingliż.

It-twal Crouchjani tqal u mhux ħfief, u qishom aktar magħmula għall-baskit jew għall-voli. Imma għalhekk il-futbol l-isbaħ logħba, għax poetiku fid-demokrazija tiegħu. Bla stikek u xkupi, imma trid biss ikollok riġlejk kollha hemm (u lanqas bilfors), u bl-immaġinazzjoni tista’ tiftiehem fuq l-għoli tal-mimduda u l-weqfin, basktijiet ġgieget ġebel siġriet. U tkun kif tkun, postok issibu dejjem, u mhemmx bżonn tkun speċjali wisq, bħal min jirkeb iż-żwiemel jew jiskorja f’qoffa jew iwassal il-ballun min-naħa għal oħra ta’ xibka.

Imma Crouch speċjali xorta. Apparti li jfakkarni fija, Crouch simpatikament għajnbaqru fil-ballun. M'ilnix insegwih nammetti, u naqra li ma’ min kien skorja mhux ħażin. Jien rajtu xi ftit mal-Paragwaj u, bil-limiti kollha dovuti, narani nissielet fuq il-ħaxix kull nhar ta’ Ħamis meta niltaqgħu nagħtu daqqtejn. U Anġlu wkoll jaqbel, u nnota lil kull darba li Crouch iniżżel ballun, għid li għandu jtih daqqtejn tlieta qabel jaqbdu sew jew inkella jbiegħdu wisq u jitilfu. Il-Letis, akkanit tal-Liverpool imma mhux ta’ l-Ingliżi (search me!), milli nifhem, ma tantx għandu pjaċir bih, u meta semmejtlu ċertu ġolf ieħor li ħarġuh is-Serbja fit-tieni taqsima, qalli li dak ukoll twil għalxejn. Il-Letis u Anġlu tgħidx x’passata għaddew bis-sostitut tal-Lillestroem li nħareġ mill-kowċ biex isaħħilhom l-attakk immexxi minn Michael Mifsud (qasir, ħafif u tassew gustuż), imma tarahom it-tnejn, minkejja li għall-ballun jinqalgħu mhux ħażin, mhux li għandhom xi persuna timpressjonak.

Allura, bqajt jiena biss naqbeż għal Crouch, li kienu jgħiruh freak waqt il-logħob tal-Premiership u li għandu “a good touch for a big man”, bil-parenteżi u l-kwalifiki kollha li l-kategoriji strambi jkollhom jgħaddu minnhom (gay imma jħobbu l-futbol, ta! iswed imma vera orrajt!). Wiċċu wkoll jaffaxxinani: fundamentalment mhux sabiħ u mimli irġulija bħal ta’ xi Figo jew kwalunkwe Taljan, imma gawky, ta’ Ingliż stereotipiku mrobbi taħt sema ċlampu bit-te u l-iscones, birra l-pabb, a curry at the Paki jew deep-fried Mars bar mingħand iċ-chippie. Ifakkarni wkoll f’tifel Tas-Sliema, dejjem twil wisq għall-età żagħżugħa tiegħu, għadu gawky huwa wkoll imma bil-kruha ħelwa ta’ Crouch u x’aktarx tixraqlu wkoll iż-żifna tar-rowbot, u min jaf kemm se jkun sabiħ darba jwarrad wara li l-ormoni jkunu straħu u jibda adultezza ta’ sbuħija.

Jekk naqra ‘l Crouch, forsi żżejjed kif inhu s-soltu tiegħi imma l-likk naħseb spiss nolqtu, nimmaġina tifel forsi nervuż, kemmxejn inkwetat, nevrotiku ftit jew ħafna, Ian Curtis tal-Joy Division jiddawwar mal-lasta tal-majk qisu serp li tah tal-qamar. Skizzojdi forsi wkoll, bħat-teorija fil-vina ta’ Lombroso dwar il-karatteristiċi fiżiċi tal-kriminali li kienet ħasditni ta’ tifel inqalleb il-Joy of Knowledge. Għalkemm x'aktarx, se jkollu l-kwota tiegħu ta' groupies, xorb u tbaħrid, u stejjer fuq is-Sun.


U għalhekk, f’din it-Tazza aktar minn qatt qabel, wara kemm insofri għal Malta u l-Furjana, u t-tamiet qajla mwettqa għall-underdogs u l-minnows, il-plejers suwed, somor, imdaqqna, il-pajjiżi ta’ l-Aħħar Dinja, Peter joħroġli s-simpatija mliġġma għall-Ingliżi u l-anti-Taljaniżmu, u drabi noħlomni fuq spallejh, the full 12’’11 of us, bit-trofew f’idejna inkantaw Football’s Coming Home.

Imma naħseb li l-isbaħ mod kif nista’ nara ‘l Crouch huwa bħala l-ġgant ġentili, tifel sew, ġismu stramb u mhux mifhum, li laħaq hemm fuq, l-Olimpu tal-kbar, u mejjet biex jitfgħu fix-xibka u jiżfnilna dik id-daqqa iebsa, wieqfa u mrażżna, ta’ min ma jridx jidher wisq għax ġà bla ma jrid jidher biżżejjed, imma li ġismu kieku jista’ jtir ‘il fuq ‘il fuq bil-ferħ.

Kummenti: 1

Blogger jean paul qal/qalet...

Mark, bloggata tajba, kont ktibt artiklu jien fuq Peter Crouch, li deher fuq Anfield Island, li huwa l-magazine tal-Liverpool Supporters Club...

At a time and age of political correctness when all kind of words ending with ‘ism’ are being scrutinized, Liverpool F.C. managed by Rafael Benitez challenged the football society by signing Peter Crouch for £7m.

The new word ‘heightism’ probably for the first time found its place alongside words such as racism, sexism and ageism amongst others. Along with a £7 million tag, this new Liverpool signing is to carry on the burden of his well documented height of 6 foot 7 inches. Rarely in football terms, a player’s height has been so scrutinized and deemed important. But as lately the lad himself admitted that comes within the Anfield territory, where snipers and maybe sometimes even vultures are known to venture around.

The first rumours of Rafael Benitez having set his eyes on Crouch were greeted with indifference. Most fans had their reservations and kept quiet. Others were a bit more vocal. Certainly though the tide wasn’t exactly in favour of such signing and street parties weren’t prompted. Personally, I belonged to the former. My inner-self argued that if he’s good enough in Rafael’s eyes, he’s good enough for me.

Peter Crouch has been the first high profile signing by Rafael Benitez from the British shores, same as Emile Heskey has been by former boss Gerard Houllier. I hope that the comparisons end there though. Whilst I have quite a few fond memories of Heskey’s early days at Anfield especially in the treble year, the frail looking, unconfident and let’s face it sometimes gutless later days of his Anfield career aren’t exactly memories you’d like to swap with those from Istanbul.

Deep down though I’ve got a feeling we have to endure a few comparisons between the two lads in the future. Heskey in his earlier days worked tireless for the cause but in more than a few games failed to scratch his name on the score-sheet. So far Crouch’s story has been exactly the same.

I was quite impressed by Crouch’s contribution in his first matches. He was winning most of the balls aimed at him and certainly more than made his presence felt, even though at times he must have felt lonely and isolated under a rather rigid 4-5-1 formation. Surprisingly enough he caught the eye more on the deck rather than in the air, probably his performance at Real Betis away being his better one, whereby his influence and assist paved way to Garcia’s goal and at times showed telepathic understanding with Sinama Pongolle.

The first matches gave a feeling of ‘so far so good’, and the lack of a goals account was partly forgotten and cast aside. But as Crouch’s number of matches in the Liverpool shirt increased, the pressure on the lad increased directly proportional. Up to a certain extent, it is only expected. Whilst Bill Shankly claimed that the league is our bread and butter, goals are a striker’s oxygen. Still I believe the biggest kick in Crouch’s teeth arrived on his appearance for England against Poland which was greeted inexplicably by jeers, his main crimes which granted that being a) having the height mentioned above, b) plays for Liverpool F.C.
The lad’s head really went down that day. And for someone who hasn’t been in any of the newspapers back pages for wrong reasons I find it very hard to digest and cements the wall between myself and the national team. For a hard-working, honest lad getting booed that was too much to take. The debacle didn’t end up there. The following away matches regaled us with boos for every of Crouch’s touches and cries of ‘freak’.

I am sure it has affected our Crouch. I feel equally convinced that Crouch is made up of sterner stuff though. Something which lately has impressed me lately has been that even though the net is proving quite forbidden, Crouch is not proving forbidden to his team mates by any means. He is refusing to hide and still makes himself available to his team mates as much as possible.

Let the adversity mount for a very satisfying reprieve.

29/6/06 10:29  

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