Soccer Coaches And Their Holiday Etiquette

Our soccer correspondent informs us that the coaches of Chelsea and Arsenal are fighting again. And this is for the best reason of all. Here's his report:

The long running feud between Chelsea and Arsenal managers Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger has dropped from childishness into farce with the revelation that Mourinho didn't shake Wenger's hand after the match between the two sides on Sunday because Arsenal and Wenger did not acknowledge his Christmas card.

Earlier in the year Wenger and Mourinho had a big public spat. Mourinho said, "I think he is one of these people who is a voyeur. He likes to watch other people. There are some guys who, when they are at home, have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. He speaks, speaks, speaks about Chelsea." Wenger was furious and threatened to sue; Mourinho said in return he had a 120-page dossier of news reports to back up his claims (which, as many pointed out, makes him a voyeur of sorts, too).

Wenger decided against legal action, the row diffused, but the bad feeling lingered on. Mourinho, for his part, decided to apologize for the "voyeur" comment in a Christmas card, and then learned that a member of the Arsenal staff checked to see if he had actually written it. "It is believed" he tried to shake Wenger's hand before the match, but was snubbed, and that's why he just walked off at the end.

The media's the winner in all this: They get to say, "Grow up!" while secretly loving the easy story inches they're getting. Now I've bothered to type it all out I realize exactly how petty it is. The voyeur stuff was pretty good for a while; Mourinho has been a breath of fresh air when it comes to post-match comments (he once denounced the opposition thus: "They did not come to play football. We have a saying in my home country of Portugal — the team brought the bus and parked it in front of the goal. That's what happened today."). But this is all so ... tawdry. I mean, handshakes? Christmas fucking cards? Come on.

Humbug [UK Mirror]