Date: 22nd March 2008 at 2:01pm
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In the wake of Ashley Cole’s knee high tackle on Alan Hutton this week, Avram Grant appeared to come down with a touch of the Arsene Wenger’s by claiming he had not seen the incident in question. Though 24 hours later Grant was fulsome in his praise for Cole’s smirking apology. (Which he was in NO way forced to do by the Chelsea hierachy, the fact that he gave the apology on Chelsea TV was just coincidence, they were the only ones with cameras readily available when Cashley had his sudden attack of conscience).

Grant lauded Cole and his new found sense of responsibility, ‘First you need to give credit to Ashley because he behaved like a mature guy,’ said Grant.
‘He saw what he did the day afterwards and he apologised himself. Nobody pushed him to apologise and you need to give credit to him about that.
‘He made a tackle and he realised he needed to apologise about that and his behaviour. It is the first time he’s done that kind of thing and he apologised.’ (I was at a game away at Leicester City in 2003 and I can tell you it’s not the first time Cole has done this).

Grant went on to produce a thinly veiled attack on Emmanuel Eboue, when John Terry broke his foot by kicking Eboue’s studs, ‘Someone sent our captain to hospital for a few days and then he didn’t play for a few weeks, I don’t want to mention names, but they didn’t apologise. Ashley has taken responsibility and apologised and I am giving him credit for it.’ However, having rifled through the vaults from the fall out of that game in December, I found this contradictory quote from Salomon Kalou, ‘He (Eboue) said he tried to block the ball and it was not on purpose. He said sorry to John. He didn’t mean to do it, but to apologise was a nice thing to do.’

In light of this, I await Mr. Grant’s apology for incorrectly slurring Eboue’s character. (Let’s face it, Eboue does a decent job of slurring his own character at times). Now unfortunately, there were no TV cameras or suited press men around for Eboue’s apology, he made it to the player in person. A club of unedifying principle like Chelsea will of course see the error of diagnosis and offer a full apology. (Once their owner arrives home from his alleged business trip to Zimbabwe). After all, Mr. Grant was insistent on Thursday that, ‘I tell my players all the time to take responsibility about what they do.’ Indeed Mr. Grant, you will no doubt be as good as your word in offering Eboue and apology.LD.