Rafa Benitez, the Napoli coach, talked about a man and his donkey this week.
At first I thought he might finally be explaining his £18 million (Dh108.4m) purchase of Alberto Aquilani for Liverpool.
But it was just a parable about the perils of trying to please all the people all the time.
He spoke about a man out walking with his donkey and his son when they met a stranger who asked why he did not allow the boy to ride the animal, so he lifted the child. He then met another stranger who asked why he, too, did not ride the donkey, so he hopped on. Finally, they met a third stranger who asked why he was overloading the donkey.
It was a fair point, which arguably underplayed the criticism Benitez would receive in a similar situation.
Benitez would also face criticism from the donkey for failing to give it a regular role, not to mention a fierce rebuke from Kick Donkey Cruelty Out Of Football.
Previous donkeys would then break cover to explain that Benitez often switched their roles, too, without so much as an arm around the shoulder.
Before long, new fan group SOD (Spirit of Donkey) would be demanding a return to the traditional fan-donkey dynamic while radio shows would be asking if there were too many foreign donkeys in the game.
Inevitably, a spoof Twitter account @RealRafasDonkey would spring up, followed by numerous “amusingly” doctored images of John Terry riding the donkey.
Meanwhile, television commentators would begin matches by claiming “it’s a relief to get away from the d-word and concentrate on the football” before crowbarring as many donkey references as possible into their patter.
Finally, Rafa would be fired and his image splashed across newspapers with donkey ears attached. You have to feel sorry for modern football managers. It really is a goldfish-bowl existence.
Which reminds me: why isn’t more being done to help the goldfish?
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