Everyone has this picture of footballers in their head: finely-tuned athletic machines with more money than Jesus and 3mm pump-needle holes for anuses.
Their life is football and there’s nothing more to it than that, dedicating themselves solely to the concept of putting balls in nets, bums on seats and trophies in trophy cabinets.
So it was a shock – a quite nice one – when Jack Wilshere, Hertfordshire’s British bulldog with a flag in the ground and the Queen’s own mush printed onto his bloody, beating heart, had some fun taking the mick out of Arsenal’s closest rivals, Tottenham Hotspur, while parading around Islington to celebrate the Gunners’ FA Cup win on Sunday afternoon.
Footballers aren’t supposed to be like real people. They’re supposed to be gleaming totems of success and professionalism and marketing – god bless you, o sweet marketing campaigns – and Wilshere’s sticking two up at their North London rivals brought him into the realm of the IRL.
He’s been given a hard time on social media for the injuries, fags and lacklustre performances but now here he is – bucket hat on, three Breezers deep, having fun and doing exactly what any fan would in his position.
Regardless, Arsenal have since reportedly taken Wilshere aside and warned him about his conduct…again.
His goal against West Brom on the final day of the season was one of the purest, cleanest strikes I’ve ever seen. He met a knock-down on the half-volley to scream one past a goalkeeper who might as well have not even been there. By all accounts, it was a dream goal.
He’s celebrating this relative comeback with a fist and a few curse words – why should that be punished? Promoting a rivalry is not only necessary for the game and its sponsors, it humanises these people to fans. Literally anything that brings these overpaid man-children closer to fans should be applauded.
God bless you, Jack Wilshere. You are us, and we are you: you are the manifestation of the collective fan id, only you’ve got a sweet left foot. You are throwing your pie and pint at away fans while celebrating a last minute header made flesh.
You, Jack Andrew Gary Wilshere, are football.
Follow Sam on Twitter, @SamDiss