Why Sol should never apologise

OPINION: It’s a puzzler as former Arsenal and Spurs defender loses out to Tony Pulis after going for the manager’s job at Sheffield Wednesday

Thursday, 19th November 2020 — By Richard Osley

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SOL Campbell was apparently overlooked by Sheffield Wednesday, who instead chose Tony Pulis to be their new manager last week. It’s one thing of course to be overlooked as a possible candidate to be Mayor of London – our dear double-winning defender said he might solve overcrowding on the tube by making the platforms longer.

But it’s a full-on fish slap in the face to lose out on a manager’s job to Tony Pulis. Think it was during the World Cup when Pulis, as a gantry pundit, bemoaned Spain for not getting enough crosses into the box. Their intricate patch­work of passing just wasn’t hitting the spot.

Still, I know Sol will recover from the disappointment of losing out to a hoof. A story: one Christmas I was sent to cover a group of Arsenal players handing gifts to the children at the Whittington who would be on the wards and missing out on the fun.

One of the nurses who we quickly learned didn’t know a lot about football came up to the table and asked Philippe Senderos whether he was David Beckham. The permanently worried looking Senderos responded by apologising to the nurse for not being David Beckham and gave his signature anyway. The chances of that card being in someone’s memory box are approximately nil, but I must continue.

Sol turned to Senderos and said: Never apologise for who you are. Senderos nodded, as if he knew how to react next time, which presumably is to bellow: “No, I’m not, luv, but I AM PHILLIPE SENDEROS, SLAYER OF ALL.”

As it happened, there were lots of moments in the staler parts of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal odyssey that I did think Phillipe Senderos should apologise for not being David Beckham, or for that matter not even being a defender who could win at least one tackle against Didier Drogba.

I wonder if the two old teammates talk now, Campbell possibly life-coaching Senderos with similar gems, maybe sending him quaint, inspirational memes on WhatsApp with quotes set against clear skies. “If you try hard, it’s not hard to try”, that kind of thing.

In the meantime, Sol will remain quite an intriguing figure who you sort of feel sorry for, if he’s trying to catch Sheffield Wednesday’s eye and they are looking the other way. In one throw, he had the clarity of thought and the bravery to make a perfect career choice to swap Spurs and Arsenal. As a result, he won a lot of stuff. With such acumen, you can’t help feeling it’s true that black managers face it harder than Tony Pulis.

On the other hand, he seems quite a laborious as a football pundit. Asked on Sky to pick who he thought would come through a World Cup path between Brazil and Belgium, he famously said France.

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