ed. note.: Edited for content and spelling. The Drogba/Desailly paragraphs made me laugh.
I have always had an interest in the working of the human mind, I chose a career which reflects this interest.
In my work I am required to be highly professional, calm, patient, thoughtful and capable of intelligent insight into the barriers people may be facing in attaining and maintaining mental well being. When playing sport however, or supporting Chelsea, I display many psychopathic traits. The two sides of my character mingle rarely, and that is how I like it. I love the unbridled joy I feel when an important goal is scored. I also like the fact that the sadness and despair that follows an important loss doesn't last long. After all nobody died; it’s just a game. I love the tribalism, the being unkind, unfair to all opponents, behaving like a cave man; it's time off from thinking so much. In short, being a massive almighty twat.
Fernando Torres has made a connection between my two worlds, Ever since ‘that Liverpool game’ I find I am analysing what might be going on in ‘El Nino’s’ mind. Following are some of my thoughts regarding what I think might, might, I stress, have been going on with [him].
Over awed, intimidated
I went along to Harlington once, just after Chris Sutton signed. I watched him trail around after George Weah like a puppy dog; this concerned me. I was worried his confidence was not robust enough to play for Chelsea. He appeared overawed to be in the company of one of the worlds best (over the hill) players. Sadly Chris Sutton never really did find form in Chelsea kit. I think Drogba could possibly be intimidating to meet for the first time.
Fernando Torres meets Didier Drogba for the first time
Imagine the moment, "Fernando meet Didier." Didier Drogba stands six two and a half, he weighs a hundred and eighty five pounds (13 odd stone), he is a physically imposing man, he is very handsome, he has an sexy french sounding accent, the girls love him (probably). He funds the building of hospitals in his homeland. He stopped a civil war, he is personally responsible for saving thousands of peoples lives. In Cote d'Ivoire he is regarded as a god.
When I met Marcel Desailly I literally lost the power of speech, all that came out was that ‘special lady noise,’ you know, like Andy Townsend makes when Barca pass the ball to one another. I can’t even start to imagine how intimidating it must be to meet Drog. Fernando Torres knows only too well. El Nino was always the top banana in his previous clubs. All of a sudden he is in the company of a man who, lets face it, very few of us are fit to lace the boots of. I think his confidence was knocked out of the park.
That liverpool game
Looking back on it, was it wise to play Torres in that game (of course it fucking wasn't); had he scored in his one chance would it have all been different? What is sure is Torres started to think too much. I know the rare moments of sporting excellence I have experienced were definitely coinciding with calmness and a lack of thinking.
The headless chicken period
We could all see he was at least busting a gut when he played. It was heart-breaking. Thinking too much, it sucks.
The sulking period
I have received more warnings about my posts regarding Torres, during this period, than any other subject. They have included a call to arms for all fans to put him in the stocks and blind him with stones, storm Cobham and kick him to death (sorry Graham/moderators, I was drunk), and some others that are too unpleasant to repeat. I now think he was not so much sulking as literally at the end of his tether. All confidence lost, every miss a setback which he no longer had the resilience to cope with, too proud and brave to walk away, but unable to cope with the levels of stress he was under, Torres reverted to childlike behaviour (this is normal and part of the rebuilding process). The fact he continued to show up for games is to be applauded (I know, but strictly speaking his body was showing up).
I think the mask came at the right time. It takes three years, normally, to mourn a loved one or recover from an enormous life changing event (break down, total loss of confidence etc). Enough time had passed, Fernando was ready to start to feel better, to stop thinking so much and relax. The slight anonymity the mask afforded helped in that process. That his form suddenly improved was both evident and not a coincidence.
Will Fernando Torres be physically up to it when his brain is finally ready to resume normal activity? Maybe, I hope so. ( I have been writing and rewriting this since Mourinho re-signed, so far Torres looks pretty fit. I thought if I don't post it now, I never will.)
He has been with us longer than the other strikers. He will have been with us three years come January. Recent interviews suggest he is a bigger, better man for his Chelsea experience. He has improved his technique. Mourinho is the best man manager in the business he creates a therapeutic environment in clubs which he manages, his players love him. Mourinho is the manager in the business at improving a player's technique, probably.
I was absolutely delighted when we signed Torres as much for trolling the Scouse Gits (god I hate them so much more than any other club) as at the thought of having a proven top striker. I have desperately wanted him to do well. I have hated him with a murderous rage when he sulked, I resented the effect he had on our FFP rating.
It’s complicated, this thinking crap.