Currently immersed in a prank call scandal that’s a dream come true for tabloid editors (and a nightmare for his former BBC paymasters), Russell Brand retreated to the relatively safe climes of sports commentary in today’s Guardian.  While expressing no grief over longtime West Ham fixture Harry Redknapp taking up Tottenham’s managerial reins (“my affection for him is such that he could turn up drunk at my house at midnight, kick my cat, seduce my mother and fart Auld Lang Syne into my gaping, awestruck gob and I wouldn’t dare trouble him for a polo“), Brand notes Diego Maradona’s appointment as manager of Argentina’s national side with the caveat, “he is a man whose supreme ability in one area ought naturally inhibit competence in all other areas or it’s just not fair.”

He can’t prosper as a manager after the skill he so profligately squandered as a player – anyone as good at football as Diego Maradona should spend the rest of their life immobile, unable to eat or speak without assistance. A gift so celestial ought be expensively purchased with torment and agitation – it seemed quite just when he became a tubby junky because he dabbled with the sublime, he confounded convention, laughed at normalcy, jinxed round Terry Fenwick and bedazzled Peter Shilton. “It was the hand of God,” he famously claimed in ’86 against England. What a brilliant excuse for breaking the rules – “it was God’s fault, take it up with him.” I should like to see Fifa officials constructing their own Tower of Babel to issue a warning to the almighty for unsporting conduct. I wonder if later in life Maradona continued to site holy influence regarding his misdemeanours? “Why have you had that unflattering skinhead?” “It is the haircut of God.” “Diego, you haven’t paid your gas bill…” “I wish I could help – alas, that was the amenity – payment – negligence… of God.” “Signor Maradona you have hoovered up all our cocaine, that was supposed to last all week.” “I wish I could help – unfortunately it was the nose of God what done it.”