Chelsea’s Didier Drogba

Football analyst, former player and well known manager Roddy Collins can be a very funny man, on and off the airwaves.

Throughout his career, in his playing days and in his days as manager of the likes of Shamrock Rovers, Bohs and Carlisle United, Roddy has always told it as he sees it.

Last week I had the pleasure of ghost-writing Roddy’s column for Star Sunday. And it was a pleasure to listen to him for about half an hour on the hot topics in the game we both love.

Roddy being Roddy, he had to have a go at the terrace boo boys who are trying to make life difficult for Jeff Kenna and Sean Connor, managers at St. Patrick’s Athletic and Dundalk respectively in the League of Ireland.

He also threw in the fact that the IFA in the north had invited him to their cup final on Saturday as a thank you gesture for his time as player and manager in the Irish League.

“It’s gas that because the FAI wouldn’t invite me to the opening of a crisp bag in Abbotstown,” Roddy told me ahead of his visit to Windsor Park.

Most of his vitriol, however, was reserved for the Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and his midfield colleague Michael Ballack, who dirtied football’s good name with their disgraceful antics at the end of the Champions League semifinal defeat to Barcelona.

As it happened, a last gasp goal from the great Barca midfielder Iniesta knocked the Blues out of the European Cup and did us a major favour by setting up a dream final.

Manchester United will now play Barcelona in the Rome final at the end of the month, and it promises to be a very special occasion indeed featuring two of the most attack-minded teams in the world.

Chelsea thought they were there when they led Barca by a Michael Essien goal to nil for something like 93 minutes at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.

Then Essien failed to make a clearance inside his own box and Iniesta whipped home a delightful equalizer that sent the Catalan side through on the away goals rule.

It was a great finish from the player and an incredible finish to a game spoilt by some questionable refereeing decisions from the Norwegian official.

When he failed, again, to award Chelsea a legitimate enough penalty claim in the seconds after that Iniesta goal, all hell threatened to break loose in London and almost did.

First Ballack chased the referee halfway up the pitch and actually touched him once if not twice.

Then Drogba, who had earlier missed a sitter in front of the Barcelona goal that would have put the game beyond the visitors, attacked the official at the final whistle.

He argued with the ref, then let loose with a foul mouthed attack to the television camera in front of him that went out live on air all across the world.

His behavior was appalling, particularly so when you realize that this footballer, like Ballack, is a role model to so many kids all across the world.

When they see a highly paid footballer like Ballack chase the referee at speed and all but manhandle him they will think such behavior is both right and normal.

When they listen to Drogba verbally abuse a referee in front of a television audience of billions they will think it is fair to attack the referee in their own schoolboy or schoolgirl game.

At the time of writing UEFA have yet to announce what action they will take against these overpaid brats for their pathetic behavior last week.

The great Roddy told me he’d ban them for at least four Champions League games next season. Personally I’d ban Drogba from the competition for life.

For years now he has dived his way through European Cup games, constantly looking for penalties and free-kicks from the very referees he accused of cheating his team out of a Champions League final return later this month.

And don’t forget it was Drogba who got sent off in the European final this time last year, so he has a previous as they say.

My Star Sunday colleague Roddy had one other wish for Drogba when we spoke last Friday.

“I hope his hair falls out,” declared Steve Collins’ younger brother.

Now that may be a bit harsh, but whatever punishment comes Drogba’s way now will be deserved.

Football doesn’t need an overpaid gurrier like Drogba at a time when the world is struggling to come to terms with real problems.

He should be setting standards, not lowering them, at a time when professional football is already in danger of divorcing itself from reality with its collection of prima donnas and their recession-free lifestyles.

Like Manchester United’s Ronaldo, Drogba is a great footballer but there are elements of his game we can do without seeing -- maybe even his hair!