View Full Version : It's Official...Roman Abramovich is worse than Stalin and Hitler

Len Ganley Stance
06-09-2007, 07:40
Well he is according to The Guardian...........

Walking out: when absence speaks louder than words

Walkouts can have quite an impact in sport, as Roman Abramovich's sharp exit demonstrated.

Walking has always been a potent symbol in sport. To walk out at Wembley has traditionally been the mark of success for an English footballer. You'll Never Walk Alone, that great song of solidarity, is also one of the great hymns of sport. On Saturday Roy Keane showed respect for his mentor Alex Ferguson by walking a couple of strides behind him after Manchester United beat Sunderland - a humility not readily associated with the feral pitbull of football.

A day later, we witnessed a very different kind of walkout when Roman Abramovich left his seat in the 88th minute with Aston Villa having just scored their second. To walk out on (rather than with) people is the ultimate sporting snub - the very definition of bad sportsmanship.

Abramovich is a man who not only plays to win, he pays to win, and he cannot comprehend it when sport defies market logic. Head in hands, the billionaire was in bewildered despair as his precious Chelsea lost to relatively low-rent Villa. Then, without warning, it happened. Boss Abramovich stood up in slow motion, and walked away with lethal intent - judge, jury and executioner. If he had made a throat-cutting gesture with his index finger, it could not have been more insidious.

Sporting walkouts are not unprecedented, but they are unusual. Ronnie O'Sullivan was fined for walking out on Stephen Hendry last year in the quarter-final of snooker's UK championship. It was a terrible thing to do, but in Ronnie's defence he was so depressed, so racked by self-loathing, that he was walking out on himself more than Hendry.

Samuel Eto'o tried to walk off the pitch in protest at racist abuse from Real Zaragoza fans - he walked over to the sidelines saying "No more", but his team-mates persuaded him to stay. And the very same Keane who stepped deferentially behind Ferguson, walked out on the Ireland team - not so deferentially telling the manager, Mick McCarthy, "Mick, I didn't rate you as a player, I don't rate you as a manager, and I don't rate you as a person . . . The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country. You can stick it up your bollocks."

These walkouts may have been unsporting, but they were fuelled by idealism, however twisted. While Keane and Eto'o felt betrayed, O'Sullivan felt that he was betraying himself by playing so badly.

But Abramovich's walkout had nothing to do with sport or idealism. It bore a disturbing resemblance to the political walkout of dictators; of men (invariably men) who voice their disapproval with a loaded silence. Despite having personally congratulated previous gold medallists at the Berlin Olympics in 1936, Hitler left the stadium when a black American, Cornelius Johnson, won the high jump (an incident often wrongly attributed to Jesse Owens). Reich officials said Hitler's exit was prearranged; others believed it was because Hitler's race-supremacist ideas had taken a beating.

But the walkout Abramovich most recalls is Joseph Stalin's at the opera in the 1936. Stalin was so appalled by Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (not least because of the composer's caricature of Uncle Joe as the chief of police) that he upped and left. A few days later Shostakovich was denounced in an editorial in Pravda, headlined "Muddle instead of music". The government newspaper lambasted the composer for unpatriotic music that "tickles the perverted tastes of the bourgeoisie". For 27 years, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk was "disappeared". Shostakovich, fearing that he himself would be disappeared by Stalin, shelved his fourth symphony before its premiere.

As with most political walkouts, the official version was somewhat different - Stalin had left the opera because he suddenly realised he was supposed to be elsewhere. Similarly, the official Chelsea version of last Sunday's walkout has a hint of gloss about it - Abramovich, we were told, left early because he wanted to visit the players in the dressing room.

So what does all this mean for Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho? Perhaps he can take some comfort in the fact that the Stalin-Shostakovich story had a happy ending of sorts. Shostakovich was rehabilitated when he wrote his fifth symphony to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution.

Mourinho could also rehabilitate himself (come on down, Andriy Shevchenko), but it's hard to picture him bowing and scraping his way back into Boss Abramovich's favour. I sense another walkout looming at Chelsea.

06-09-2007, 10:54
Well Shostakovich survived in the house opposite the Kremlin unlike many others so maybe it looks ok for the special one as well?