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Carragher spit scandal? They always come back in the end

OPINION: Former Liverpool defender’s motorway phlegmbomb is not the first time he’s clashed with fans

15 March, 2018 — By Richard Osley

THERE was a frantic moment in 2007 when Jamie Carragher was so incensed by the things berks say on radio phone-ins that he rang in to insist he definitely wasn’t a big bottler for retiring from international football aged 29.

In a bizarre and splendidly high-pitched 10-minute call, you could almost hear the internal combustion clock slowly clicking toward midnight with each crumb of bait laid for him by the TalkSport meanies. Carragher seemed to accept that John Terry and Rio Ferdinand were better than him, but was furious that it had been suggested Jonathan Woodgate was too. “You said Woodgate,” he said with spectacular incredulity, ”you said Woodgate”. It was radio, so you couldn’t see his face, but you could imagine its colour was darkest beetroot.

It was a forgotten moment this week as the big boys’ club that is football punditry agreed that Carragher spitting from his car was completely out of character. It’s just not our Jamie. Just like when it wasn’t our Jamie when he threw a coin at an Arsenal fan in the middle of a cup match at Highbury in 2002. “No matter what the physical or verbal provocation, I shouldn’t have reacted like that. I would like to apologise for any offence caused,” he said after the match. “It’s a mistake I won’t make again.”

His motorway phlegmbomb might suggest otherwise, but, you know, the reaction to it all has been pretty hot-headed and distasteful too. We’ve seen a three-day debate as to whether a man should be sacked or not – everybody acting like Roman emperors while Carragher is chased around Euston station and asked for further apologies.

Then there was a fourth day of debate, over whether a season-end suspension is fair punishment, couched as if we are discussing the leniency or harshness of sentences at the Old Bailey. We now go live to our German studios, to see what spit-scandal survivor Rudi Voller thinks of the Jamie Carragher punishment.

It might be more relevant talk about whether there is actually a great public desire for Carragher to be on the mic; does Sky really need the state-the-obvious sidekick chasing Gary Neville’s tail through the studio.

Either way, maybe the clue as to whether Carragher will return after his suspension lies with BT Sport’s coverage of Barcelona v Chelsea this week. Who was in the commentary box? None other than pop singer Glenn Hoddle, sacked from England, have we forgotten, for suggesting people born with disabilities were paying for sins in a previous life. As it happened, Hoddle didn’t get punished for sins in a previous job. He got a well-paid new one where he whitters inanities at us while we are trying to watch a football match.

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