The Lead

Basically this morning I could title this post Ball Boy, repeat the word “ball boy” roughly two hundred times, with a link to a GIF and YouTube video, and just sit back and watch the clicks roll in.

Why is that?

Almost none of us knew much about Eden Hazard as a person until last night’s incident with the kid who thought it would be a lark to subtly (and meaninglessly, in the grand scheme of things) prevent the Chelsea winger from getting the ball to resume play. And certainly none of us knew the ball boy in question.

And yet a fifteen second clip from a football match was all it took for millions of people to make a broad judgment about two people they know absolutely nothing about.

The reason this story remains of interest—long after we satisfied our initial curiosity over what it would look like to watch a professional footballer kick a ball boy—(it was just a little bit funny)—is because we want to make that kind of judgment. It gives us pleasure. Hence the extraordinary interest in this story, as evidenced by all sorts of bellwethers from the traffic numbers from Devang’s post yesterday to the fact Deadspin did its “We Actually Care About Football” shtick. “Hazard is childbeating scum.” “I’d kick the shit out of that ball boy if I was him.” Ad nauseam.

Call it the Law of the Tabloid Headline: offer up an horrifying outlier of human interest story that allows the reader to draw broad and likely false conclusions about the nasty state of the world safe in the confidence that it’s not our fault.

“SCUM: Man steals money from collection plate”—we want to read the story of the statistically meaningless incident, shake our head at the state of the world which, in terms of our capacity for evil, is unchanged for thousands of years, and ignore the pleasure in reading it that comes from knowing we’re fundamentally good because we would never do such a thing.

So we rejoice when offered a villain, even a villain who’s not particularly villainous, like little old Eden Hazard who will likely receive a match ban of some sort, and the ball boy who on the verge of an incredible result for Swansea made a very regrettable decision.

You don’t know who they are, they haven’t done anything to you, no lives were lost, no one severely injured, no result affected, and yet you want either (or both) of them punished (others have their own ax to grind). You should ask yourself why.


FA to investigate Eden Hazard’s hazardous actions.

City catching up with the likes of Madrid, Barca, United and Bayern in football revenue.

Zaha to undergo medical before solidifying deal with United.

West Ham’s Potts to undergo scans after collision with Arsenal’s Sagna.


Fernando Llorente will head to Juve in the summer.

Italy’s technical director Roberto Baggio quits.

La Liga

Madrid set revenue record worldwide.

Casillas’ hand fractured, may miss Champions League games vs United.

According to Marca, Casillas and Ramos give Madrid president ultimatum, ‘it’s Mourinho or us’.


Amauri declines offer from Hoffenheim, will remain with Parma.

Bundesliga clubs surpass two billion euro mark.

Klopp promises to improve his team’s home record.

Bit and Bobs

Here is latest football controversy (in case you missed it): Eden Hazard kicks ballboy.

“He must have been watching footballers with the way he rolled around and pretended to be more injured.” Former Chelsea midfielder Pat Nevin defends Eden Hazard, says ballboy was disgraceful.

PSV Eindhoven miss three consecutive opportunities right in front of the net.

Comments (10)

  1. Time wasting in football – shocking!
    Teenager writing something stupid on twitter – where are his parents!
    Partisan ballboys – the FA should do something!!!!!!!!!!!!

    … of course Edin Hazard could have had a sliver of responsibility and just reached down and picked up the damn ball!

  2. If the headline referencing Casillas and Ramos is accurate, I wonder where Mourinho will manage next season.

    Considering that raising a hand to tap a player and him flopping gets you three games for violent conduct (think Gervinho v Barton when the latter was at Newcastle), Hazard should get like thirty games for what he did.

    • I don’t imagine it is. Perez, while aware that he probably won’t find a better coach than Mou, would’ve sacked him by now if all the BS coming out of there were true. And he sure as shit would’nt have refuted everything in a press conference.

      My guess? Somebody trying to unseat Perez as president in the next election is trying to stir shit up. Either way Mourinho is gone in June, I think that’s been obvious for some time.

    • do u mean diaby/barton cant remember a gervinho/barton incident mind u that cunt did get into it with pretty well everyone didnt he? dont miss the prick

  3. I do love to judge people.

    You nailed this piece Whittall… you piece of scum.

  4. “So we rejoice when offered a villain, even a villain who’s not particularly villainous, like little old Eden Hazard who will likely receive a match ban of some sort, and the ball boy who on the verge of an incredible result for Swansea made a very regrettable decision.”

    Says the author who wont give Suárez a rest.

  5. Hazard should have just done what every other player does…throw up his arms in exasperation, look at the ref while pointing at his wrist, as in “you’re adding time on for this, right?”, and patiently wait. Maybe throw in some cheerful banter with the prone ballboy so that you come across as a good guy. He could have stayed on the pitch, and the kid would still have gotten all his drinks paid for at the pub that night.

  6. Do you think both should go unpunished ? Wrong !

  7. Is this article supposed to make me feel guilty or that its none of my business a pro soccer player kicked a ball boy?

    Pro player kicking ball boy=funny=me clicking to know more.

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