The Lord giveth with one hand, and he taketh away with the other, or something like that…
Timeless words, but in this instance the Lord we’re referring to is not the Supreme Being, but rather a rich Arab sheik.
I’m talking about the world of Australian football, and the big news today that Spanish footballer and the world’s second favourite exponent of the soul-patch (behind Shannon Noll, naturally), David Villa, has signed on to play in the A League.
The news has been enthusiastically greeted by the Australian footballing cabal. Villa is seen as the next Alessandro del Piero. He is the next marquee player with enough credibility and star power to finally tip soccer/football over the edge and into the mainstream in Australian culture.
And it is great news. Like Delps, fans will flock to see the Spanish footbalista do his thing with la pelota.
But, in a sneaky PR move, this announcement has coincided with a separate one – that the very club Señor Villa will be plying his trade with, Melbourne Heart, has officially changed their name, club crest and kit.
In other words, they’ve dumped all of their (admittedly short-lived) traditions.
In a move that will obviously align the club with their sister team/sugar daddies Manchester City and New York City, Melbourne Heart will now be known as Melbourne City FC.
This is a sad day for Australian sport. While on one hand we will welcome a star footballer for a 10-game stint, we lose one of the world’s most endearingly odd names for a professional sports team.
But it is the children of Australia who will be the ultimate losers, as their deductive reasoning skills will be poorer for not having the Melbourne Heart as an option when competing in ‘mascot wars’: schoolyard battles in which children pit one team’s mascot against another and use their debating skills to determine which mascot would win in a fight.
For example, in simpler times, in the battle of a bear versus a shark, the bear would win because it has teeth and claws (obviously).
As previously canvased on TPA, the debate around a metaphysical battle between the Heart and the Power is a difficult one, but an argument that ultimately enriches our children’s lives and their cerebral capacity.
But with the Heart no longer in existence, these debates will lose a certain degree of sophistication.
Having said that, who would win between the Power and a City?
The Lord taketh with one hand, and he giveth with the other…
By Ben Shine