My name is Gareth Barry and this is my first entry. It is no coincidence that my first entry comes on the day of my team’s exit from the WC. You see years from now whenever I feel down, whenever I feel like I don’t have what it takes, I want to look back upon this day and this entry to reassure myself. This day will always be the day I achieved what I set out to do. It may not have been in the most inconspicuous manner as I had hoped for but Success is success come which way, don’t you agree?
Playing in a WC is mighty stressful thanks to the English media. So when we pulled off that spectacular win against Slovenia and progressed from our extremely competitive group I was mighty chuffed. I expected the pressure to ease off and the games to get easier from then on. But bust my balls for what I saw in the papers next day blew my panties off. I saw that we had to face ze Germans in our next game and in the unlikely scenario that we won, we would go on to face Argentina and more or less face Spain in the semis and then Brazil in the finals. Believe it or not, me and the boys were hoping to avoid those 4 very teams and a couple of other teams like Holland, Portugal on our way to win the trophy. So you know how disappointed and depressed we were and how much more depressed and disappointed we were likely to get as we started winning each of them matches and stepped on to the pitch the next day to face another bigger and better opponent. I decided there and then that we overpaid professionals need not bear this torture and play our guts out. I promised to do my best to let the Germans prevail over us.
I honestly believed Frank would be the first one to echo my sentiments, but boy! was I wrong. He played the game of his life and weren’t it for that blessed linesman we would’ve been right back in the game. I still don’t get why people make that much fuss when the ref fails to spot a ball crossing the line. In my opinion, even a wrong offside decision is just as costly and happens more often. Take for instance ze Germans’ first goal. Wasn’t Klose in an offside position when their goalkeeper launched the ball forward? No one seems to be talking about this mistake or about that other time when Defoe was ruled wrongfully offside and he went on to hit the crossbar having been distracted by the offside flag. If the refs had played it fair, we would’ve gone into the break 3-1 ahead not 2-1 down.
So there we were at half-time in the dressing room with a sense of injustice knocking the wind out of our sails and filling me up with hope. Even Stevie’s never-ending-stream of Liverpool accented encouragements failed to lift our morale and I was sitting pretty smug thinking I wouldn’t be required to do anything special to put the result beyond all doubt. As it turned out, Frank had plans of his own, and posed a threat to my mission.
The moment Frank hit the crossbar from the free-kick, I could sense the spirits of my team going up. I could see that a one goal lead wouldn’t be sufficient for ze Germans. If you take a look at their third goal, you’ll notice that it was I who gave away the ball and in essence, it was I who instigated their counter. You’ll also notice how convincingly I made it look like an honest mistake. In truth though, it was indeed an honest mistake. I’m not that good a footballer to make intentional mistakes seem unintentional. My contribution to their effort (and my ambition) was just a fluke after all, and could I walk away with my head held high knowing my success was not by my own doing? What kind of a man is he whose success is not self-made?, and thus the fourth goal.
Ozil had no right to get to that ball, I was way ahead of him and the pace at which I was initially moving, the guy had no chance of getting the ball. So I slowed down, he got the ball and we went 4-1 down. With this move being an intentional one, I was far less convincing and everyone from everywhere has held me culpable. “I bit the bullet for my team”, I shall one day say to my grandkids.
Some of them disrespectful types have inexplicably dragged Benitez into this. They make fun of him and his interest in me saying, ‘Benitez is a fly‘. You know what flies are attracted to, don’t you dear diary?
Happy Ending: Thanks to the referees me and my teammates need not even own up to our arguably substandard performances 😉 (or so I believed)
p.s: Reading my own entry, I couldn’t help but notice that I’ve contradicted my own stance of ‘success is success come which way’.
p.s2: Don’t I look like Ethan Hawke?