Saturday, 6 March 2010

Importance of a Handshake

This is taken from Football365, and it solves a mystery that has puzzled me for age. Why does Andy Cole hate Teddy Sheringham?

Were you among the people who thought Wayne Bridge's phantom handshake was a touch immature? Well if you were, here's some perspective.

Andy Cole, writing in column in The Independent, explains why he has hated Teddy Sheringham for 15 years. Did he do the bad thing with a former girlfriend? No. Did he snap his leg in two places? No. Did he say some mean things about him in the press? No. So why? Why the decade and a half beef? Why the disgust? Why the feud? Over to Andy:

'It was early 1995, I had recently signed for Manchester United, and it was my England debut, against Uruguay. I was a sub. I came on for Sheringham (who was then at Spurs), after about 70 minutes. You'll need to understand what was in my head at that moment to get even close to comprehending my reaction to what happened next.

'I was so nervous it was frightening. This was the culmination of a lifetime of ambition. You hear the cliché, "It means everything to play for my country". But trust me, it did. Not just for me, but for my family, my parents especially, who had endured all kinds of hardships to give us the chances we had. Becoming a pro had been incredible. Now the magnitude of playing for England was indescribable. The moment has arrived.

'I walk on to the pitch, 60,000 or so watching. Sheringham is coming off. I expect a brief handshake, a "Good luck, Coley", or something. I am ready to shake. He snubs me. He actively snubs me, for no reason I was ever aware of then or since. He walks off. I don't even know the bloke so he can't have any issue with me. We're fellow England players, it is my debut and he snubs me.

'You know what my immediate thoughts were? "Jesus Christ! How many people just saw Teddy Sheringham do that to me?" I was embarrassed. I was confused. And there you have it. From that moment on, I knew Sheringham was not for me.'

Remarkable stuff, but the best was yet to come. With extraordinary skill and cunning, he somehow managed to paint John Terry as a victim in the unholy mess with Bridge:

'I'd guess a lot of people will have seen Bridge giving Terry "the empty hand" and thought, "Well done". All I can say is I know what it's like to refuse to shake someone's hand, and if Bridgey thought that was the right thing to do at that moment for him, then fair enough.'