As One Door Shuts…A Nutter One Opens

Article by Gerry McDonnell

For some inexplicable reason, the subject of mental illness remains taboo. I am convinced that if we debate the topic in a mature and sensitive fashion, we could raise awareness of the constant unnecessary stigmatisation of these unfortunate lunatics.

I’m not embarrassed to admit that I used to regularly suffer from panic attacks. All it would take was an unexpected knock on the door, and I’d find myself screaming like Andy Cole’s wife. Luckily, the attack would subside once I realised my other half hadn’t arrived home from work early.

As a result of my experience, I feel I’m in a perfect position to reflect upon Paul Gascoigne’s descent into a fruitcake laden abyss. Looking back, all the clues were there: Gazza was fearful of an alien invasion, he was holding conversations with plastic parrots and he fancied Newcastle to beat Blackburn. The Rovers are the only sane betting choice at 19/10.

I can’t help but feel the media attempted to sensationalise Gazza’s problems. It’s not unusual for a man to cry during sex; as Joey Barton can confirm. I’ll be incredibly sore if Middlesbrough fail to beat Reading at 9/10.

It’s been reported that Ashley Cole burst into tears when Cheryl surprisingly decided to reconcile with the incredibly wealthy reserve full-back. I’m guessing it’s not the first time that a handkerchief has come in handy. I’m rubbing my hands together at the 5/2 for a draw between West Ham and Chelsea.

Robbie Keane also bawled after Tottenham lifted the Carling Cup. I find the idea of a male showing such emotion quite distasteful; although if Birmingham beat Tottenham at 3/1, I’ll cry like Liz Hurley’s maid on pay day.

To cap off a disgraceful week for the male race, William Gallas sobbed after kicking lumps out at an advertising hoarding. How surprising: a Frenchman and a pointless strike. Arsenal will demolish Aston Villa at 4/7.

On a brighter note for Arsenal, Eduardo may return to action in as little as nine months. I have to confess to being surprised by the quick turnaround: I’ve been to Selly Oak hospital, and it normally takes seven months just to make it out of the waiting room. You should seek medical attention if you pass on the 4/5 for a Manchester City win over Wigan.

It’s not just the clinically insane and the cast of ‘The Crying Game’ who deserve our sympathy; our thoughts should also go out to players with learning disabilities. It’s rumoured that Robbie Savage was the inspiration for ‘Are you smarter than a 10 year old?’ The genuinely bright will be taking 13/10 for a Sunderland win over Derby.

I thought Wes Brown was a level (if somewhat orange) headed footballer, but he’s clearly delusional if he believes he’s worth £80,000 a week. That kind of money could fund research into psychiatric disorders for a number of years, or settle Wayne Rooney’s tab at KFC. The 13/5 for Fulham avoiding defeat against Manchester United is finger-licking good.

There were many people who believed that El Hadji Diouf may have had a serious mental illness, as he would often dribble more than Cristiano Ronaldo. I’ve been practically salivating over the 5/6 for a Liverpool win over Bolton.

History is like an Alzheimer’s sufferer, it will often repeat itself. The last time Everton finished 4th in the Premiership, their neighbours lifted the Champions League trophy for the 5th time. I fancy Everton to beat Pompey at 10/11, but I hope it doesn’t lead to Liverpool fans holding up six fingers; that should really be left to the citizens of Coventry.

Alzheimer’s is the latest in a long list of illnesses to plague my father. I look back in fondness to the time when he was just a paranoid schizophrenic – it was nice that he has someone to talk to, even if he was out to get him. People use offensive labels such as ‘nutter’ to describe the mentally ill, but i refuse to pigeon-hole my old man; as he’s also an agoraphobic. I’ll definitely be going out when Arsenal, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Liverpool land a healthy 10/1 accer.

About the Author

Gerry McDonnell dabbles in football odds compilation, journalism and orphan rescue.