Saturday, 6 June 2009
The Di Michele and Diego Tristan Obituary
Morecombe & Wise, Abbot & Costello, The Two Ronnies, Laurel & Hardy, Little & Large, Dick and Dom, Ant and Dec, Hale and Pace, Curbishley & Day, Shearer and Dowie...comedians come in pairs it seems and in Di Michele and Tristan, we had our own little comedic double act entertaining the opposition fans for large parts of the season just gone. In years to come, fans will look at the record books and shake their heads asking, how on earth did we finish ninth with those two leading the line?
Leading the line, what am I saying? Going missing in action would be much more appropriate for Tristan certainly. How many months was it before Zola felt confident enough to give the guy more than ten minutes on the pitch? You could see that the warm up on the touchline was taking it out of poor Diego, never mind actually being involved in the action. This was Beano Mark Two With Knobs On. The look on his face if the pass was placed more than two yards away from him! "What? You actually want me to run?" Not that Diego actually showed any petulance as such, that would involve far too much effort; energy, it seems, had to be conserved at all cost!
There were some, of course, who insisted that Tristan had to be a better option than Cole, just as the Brown lobby insisted he would be a better Prime Minister than Blair! My old friend davefking on the org chuntered on week in, week out, about how Tristan had to be given a run. Given a run? Given a gentle stroll perhaps! The guy was summed up by his first ever goal for the Hammers, a gloriously accidental deflection that took a Cole shot past a stranded keeper. With the ball hitting the net because he was too slow to get out of the way, Tristan wheeled away with his arm aloft in triumph, the ultimate metaphor for the parody of a striker that he had become. Goal two, that header against Villa, was itself a subject of a "Did he mean it?" debate. To this day, I am not sure if the ball hit the head or the head hit the ball; what I do know is that he had no idea where the ball was going either before or after the moment of impact.
Of course, since Dante, every comedy has an element of the divine about it, and Tristan did not disappoint: that free kick against Stoke was up there with Solano's efforts and those of Julian Dicks and Tonka Stewart. People tell me Tristan was once a great striker. Watching that goal I can believe it; but that goal merely served to put the rest of his performances into their true comic perspective. Three goals, two against the mighty Stoke City, one of which he knew absolutely nothing about - the contribution was, at best, meagre.
But be fair to Tristan, he did net 3 goals in just 8 starts, with a further 9 cameo appearances as a very very very late sub. ("Do you think you could manage five minutes Diego? Wouldn't take too much out of you?") Di Michele only managed one more than that in 25 starts, with a further nine appearances as substitute. In fact, take away the two goals he scored in his second appearance for the club and his record is 2 goals in 24 (plus 9) - a reasonable return for a full back! In years to come, people will ask, "How bad was Newcastle's defence the year they were relegated?" and the answer will be given, "So bad that Di Michele scored twice in a game against them!"
Di Michele, of course, did have his moments. There was that wonderful second goal against Newcastle, the role he played in the brilliant sweeping move leading to Cole scoring against Wigan, the lovely effort that led to Cole's goal against Hull and the beautiful cross against Fulham. And when he wasn't there, we saw how undercooked Sears is as a Premiership striker - unlike Tristan, Di Michele was missed when he didn't play. However, for many, the undying memories of David Di Taking The Michele will be the sight of him doing up his boot laces in the penalty box whilst we took a free kick and played the ball in his direction (was that the Everton game?) and his pantomime dive when he tripped himself up in the six yard box against Liverpool. Risible both!
Who will miss Little and Large next season? Luis Boa-Morte! He was the laughing stock until these two arrived, now he has the comedic stage all to himself again - unless Nani and Zola can find another comic genius in time for next season!
Posted by Hammersfan at 07:20