Dodgy Tackle: Evra's career in danger of cooling down completely after over-heating in warm-up
WARM-UPS can be very dangerous things, capable of bringing about widely varying degrees of behaviour.
The very fact their mere existence hints at the upcoming threat of exercise is enough to put plenty of people off.
In a largely unremarkable sporting life, Dodgy has witnessed all sort of things when it comes to these pre-game sessions.
There have been team-mates who’ve been told they’re on the bench and then ripped into the warm-up in the hope of injuring a member of the starting team.
Conversely, there have been others who know they are so important to the side that they can amble through everything that happens before the kick-off, usually with their hands down the front of a pair of ill-fitting shorts, just to keep them (their hands) warm of course.
One particular team-mate could only ever find one of his boots until it was time to go out for the match, while another steadfastly refused to do any stretching in the fear of getting hurt prior to the real action.
And then, of course, there was the story of an almost mythical north coast legend who was the proprietor of a hurling helmet, but would only wear it for the warm-up and then cast it aside once the referee blew the first whistle.
When asked about this habit, the modern-day Finn McCool simply said: “Sure you wouldn’t want to get a smack in the face before you can dish a few out.”
Of course, all those who take their sport seriously will tell you that good preparation is vital, although the warm-up has never been intended to get players quite as hot as Patrice Evra did ahead of Marseille’s Europa League clash with Vitoria Guimaraes during the week.
The former Manchester United man, a renowned shrinking violet, was going through his paces with his Marseille team-mates when a few verbals from the club’s travelling supporters grabbed his attention.
The veteran left-back, who had been named as a sub, reacted to some of the heckling, understandably so now that the viciousness of the ‘banter’ has emerged.
“When we warmed up (as all good fans need to do), we started to [turn up the] heat on Patrice Evra because it’s been several games that he is not good,” said a Marseille fan named William, conveniently overlooking the fact Evra has played a grand total of two games this term.
When a stray shot from the former France captain then hit another supporter on the head, the insults really turned nasty.
‘Get out of Marseille, you’re bad,’ was one, according to William.
‘Go back to your videos.’
That last one really got on Evra’s goat, such is his burgeoning reputation as a japester on Instagram, with recent clips showing him dressed as a panda and also as James Brown.
You can slag his shooting, or even his performance in matches he has taken no part in, but don’t diss Evra’s social media comedy, and with the red touch paper well and truly aflame, the player decided to do something about it.
After words were exchanged, Evra showed remarkable flexibility for a man of his vintage by fly-kicking a member of the Marseille support on the head in a manner reminiscent of another Gallic former Man United star.
The referee was duly notified and Evra received a red card, presumably for high feet, and was promptly suspended by his club.
It all seems a rather extreme way to get out of doing a warm-up for a few months.
Whatever happened to falling asleep on the Graeme Hogg?