For many years, I felt we shared a special bond. You were my white brother. I watched you proudly run out at the Emirates, your unfeasibly bald head gleaming in the north London sunshine, with the cheers of our fans ringing in your ears. I think it was the novelty of seeing an Englishman on the pitch. I was kicked to the ground and you ran over like a hairless Florence Nightingale clutching an invigorating Powerade.
But yesterday at West Brommich our relationship felt awkward, different. Like something has altered, non? I feel an uncomfortable distance. I fell over and you ignored me like the past meant nothing. What has come between us? I am still the same William. It’s as if...South Africa has changed you.
You pulled something from your pocket and showed it to me. I smiled and told you I don’t need an Oyster Card. I have eight high performance cars and a French circus midget who drives me everywhere (I call him Nasri for fun). “It’s not an Oyster Card,” you growled. “Is it Willie Wonka’s golden ticket?” I replied, hopefully.
During the resulting free-kick, my new team mate Kaboul (the one who wears eye liner) revealed I had been cautioned. I was stunned. The blood drained from my face and I sat down cross-legged and crest-fallen in the 18-yard box. I watched the ball fly over me with a festering rage.
I had flashbacks of the Eduardo incident. Except this time...there was only a broken heart on the field. You are no longer welcome at next week’s cheese and wine party at Chez Gallas.