Didier Drogba brought considerable shame to his club with a crazed outburst aimed at referee Tom Henning Overbo after Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final exit to Barcelona. Never mind the lack of discipline — Drogba wore flip-flops during his profane protests observes the Guardian’s Simon Brunton (“perhaps he was told that his actions were going to land him in hot water and simply wanted to be appropriately shod.”)
Perhaps they could better be described as slide shoes. There was no thong between the Ivorian’s toes, if that is the flip-flop’s defining characteristic. What’s for sure is that they were designed to be worn pool-side, not pitch-side. On a Caribbean break they would have been just the ticket, but at a football match on a cold night in west London they were completely unsuitable. It’s like running the marathon in a diving suit: people might do it for charity, but otherwise it’s a bit weird.
You wonder if this was why Drogba was booked. The Norwegian official must have been sympathetic to the complaints about his own performance “ after all, soon after the game he admitted he had messed up and went into hiding, hardly the actions of an innocent man. But he may well have taken umbrage at a player entering the field of play without the proper footwear as stipulated in Fifa’s Laws of the Game.
For many neutrals the initial reaction to Chelsea’s defeat might have been pity, because they played well and should have been given lots of penalties. But perhaps it is the evening’s designated villain who truly deserves our sympathy, because while the Chelsea players are terrifically good at what they do and know they have a good chance of reaching the final next year, neither statement is true of the referee.