Two people ran up to Uwe Neuhaus on Friday evening. The first was John Jairo Mosquera after his equalizer had crossed the line. He had to fight through his jubilant teammates to get to the gaffer, the man who has staked so much of his own reputation on the mercurial Colombian striker coming good. It was a touching scene, a genuine moment of release and relief and one that sent the Eisern faithful into raptures.
The second was less heartening. Mosquera had just had his second golden edged chance, one on one with the keeper, saved- just hit it, anywhere, that little round thing goes in the rectangular netted thing at the end, hit it- a fan left his seat in the stand to remonstrate with Neuhaus, presumably about his unflinching support for the profligate striker. From the look on his face the Union trainer had not taken the fans case on board. He looked like he wanted to lump him.
So what is wrong with Mosquera? He certainly wasn’t alone in missing opportunities against Aue. But again in the press conference Neuhaus was quick to defend him, and gave the impression that he is as bored of hearing the questions about him as the press are of having to ask them. The fact he’d bagged his first goal in almost fourty weeks was covered up by the other misses. The monkey, though briefly shrugged off, clambered again up on to Johns back.
So here’s a theory. He’s just not enough of a bastard. He has always come across as quiet and devout, but a striker needs to be self important and driven. Fuck your teammates, they are only there to provide YOU with the opportunities to score. They are there to be berated if they do something wrong and ignored if they do it right. There is a sparkling example of this in the wonderful Welsh Italian centre forward Georgio Chinaglia. The man who scored 24 goals in Lazio’s Championship win of 1974 remains one of the most devisive, dislikeable and disagreeable men ever to grace a pitch. According to John Foot’s masterful “Calcio. A History of Italian football” to be the standout bastard in that team full of bastards was an achievement in itself. They had a huge punch up with Arsenal in a restaurant, and another one after Ipswich had knocked them out of the Fairs cup. That Chinaglia was the peacemaker on both occasions beggars belief. When he left Swansea he told his fellow players that “One day you will all be begging me for my autograph”. He kicked a fellow player up the arse on the pitch after a misplaced pass, boasted of his always carrying a gun and declared that he would vote for the self declared neo-fascist Movimento Sociale Italiano.
Most of this was on the wind up. A psychological battle is already won if the other guy has got the red mist descending, and when you have a shot so hard that it, allegedly, broke the crossbar in his first training session in Rome then the game is over before it has begun.
Chinaglia, of course, went to the New York Cosmos. Everybody hated him, and he was the top scorer in the league every season he played. He shouted out Pele for not passing him the ball enough and told him to saty out wide and leave the scoring to him. To fucking Pele!
So Johnny, if I may be so presumptious, don’t worry about the catcalls mate. Don’t think about the one on ones, just think about how you can boost your own ego, rough up your team mates and score goals. They all go together and you will still be a hero to the fans. It’s the Robbie Savage principal, everybody hates him too, but it’s different if he’s YOUR bastard.