::: FistedAway today welcomes a guest post from Elliott, editor of the rather lovely Futfanatico :::
Contemporary society demonizes and isolates its sinners. Rehabilitation? Ha. Treatment? Never. Empathy? Only in small doses. And the case of Nigel de Jong is no different. While Nigel has had a few run-ins with the ankles of opposing players, the cascade of harsh proclamation has deafened an important voice in the matter – Nigel himself. Thus, we present a wholly fabricated yet important interview of the man for you to decide – monster or misunderstood?
“Q: Mr de Jong, the mainstream media has vilified you as a monstrous tackler, yet we want readers to see the man behind the studs. In that vein, as a young child, did you dream of being a footballer?
A: Actually, my first memories of my childhood was playing with ants in my family’s backyard. I took a keen interest in how they operated, if they felt pain, and would stare at them for hours under a microscope, carefully plucking their appendages, limb by limb. I couldn’t tell if they hurt because they only shook when I tore off their legs, so I naturally got a gig volunteering at the local Museum of Entomology. Football was far from my mind – I wanted to go to uni and work in a museum!
Q: Well, um, that’s fascinating – when, umm, did you lose your interest in ants and begin to dream of being a good spirited footballer?
A: Well, things didn’t exactly work out for at the Museum of Entomology. Even though all the bugs on display were dead, I got in trouble for delicately tearing off the appendages after hours. No patrons of the Museum ever complained or anything like that, and obviously the dead bugs didn’t care, but the curator was a total Type A and fired me on the spot. From there, I was a ship adrift at sea – I was only fourteen but had spent all of my life tearing the appendages off insects. I had no clue how I could support myself. Luckily, a friend got me a job as a bouncer at a local club. I was already a bit big, so they hired me for intimidation.
Q: Okay, but when did you begin to dream of being a footballer? When did you realize your dream, a dream that many people can empathize with?
A: The bouncer gig only lasted a few months – too many lawsuits. I was in charge of checking identification, driver’s licenses and the such, but people really give you a lot of lip. Some people even try to walk in with a group. No matter how hard I would glare or how loud I would yell, I would almost always have to break somebody’s leg once a night just so the rest of the people in line got the message. The owners at first didn’t seem to care, but then all these depositions and complaints came pouring – I was obviously distraught. Once again, my manager failed to support me. I was so mad I could have broken both his legs, but…
Q: Mr de Jong – the purpose of this interview is for readers to see the human & humane aspect of you. Talk about your dream of being a footballer and please try not to dwell on breaking legs.
A: I get it, I think. Well, after I was a bouncer, I got a job as a physician’s assistant in an Emergency Room. I really felt good helping people. Every time somebody came in with a dislocated collar-bone, I’d get the call to pop it back in. And every time there was a broken arm or leg, I was in charge of setting the bone in place. Granted, the patients did not always take to my direct and aggressive approach, but I got the job done. At least until I got my assignments mixed up and entered the maternity ward one day. Nevertheless, I like to reflect on the people I helped, not the legs I inadvertently broke.I got on the dole, but then I saw a great clip of this ultimate fighting match between Roy Keane and some Norwegian jabroni. I knew I could do that same thing, but better. A dream was born…
Q: So, Mr. de Jong, you must be exuberant to be fulfilling your boyhood dream of being a professional footballer. What’s it like?
A: Well, I can’t complain about the paycheck, but sometimes the job gets a bit mundane. For example, a large part of the time, my own team has the ball, and my coach, Mr.Mancini, has repeatedly warned me in practice to not break the legs of the people with the same colored shirt. So, yeah, that’s pretty boring. Also, a handful of times a game, those guys in the baby blue jersey will kick the ball at me. When that happens, I get really really angry that they would kick a ball at me, and i get this overwhelming urge to, well, break their legs. That’s kind of a drag. Plus, the lawsuits are a drag.”
So there you have it – de Jong is not a blood-thirsty monster, but rather a misunderstood boy who dreamed of entomology. With that dream dashed, the reckless Roy Keane led him astray.