Andrew Flintoff’s world

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Andrew Flintoff's face

If there’s one thing that’s become clear from Freddie Flintoff’s slurred slights against acerbic Athers, it’s that the duff-kneed purveyor of forced laddish bonhomie cares little for freedom of speech.

“How can he talk about a player like Alastair Cook who is 10 times the player he ever was – he has a much bigger average and will go on and on. Atherton averaged in the 30s for England and yet he thinks he can judge others.”

You can’t, Athers. You can’t. You don’t have the right to judge anyone because you averaged in the late-30s. You probably wouldn’t have averaged in the 40s even if you hadn’t had a broken back for 90 per cent of the matches you played. Shut up. Shut up right now.

Here in Flintoff’s world, the right to express your opinions is earned through sporting prowess. Aristotle? Get back to me when you can play a decent forward defensive stroke. John Locke? Let’s see you get some crosses in the box before you start mouthing off.

If we want opinions, we’ll go to someone truly worth listening to, like Pete Sampras or Diego Maradona.


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  1. I do see the merit in your point – that a person doesn’t have to excel in a field to criticise others. I am guessing Flintoff is more frustrated with the fact that the target seems to be Cook who is clearly becoming one of the best batsmen in the world. This, put alongside Atherton’s own rather mediocre achievements as an opening batsmen and captain, probably irritated Fred. This is a completely human response, and one that doesn’t deserve the derision in this post, IMO.

    1. Atherton’s only major criticism of Cook – to our knowledge – was when he called him ‘a plodder’ and said that he wasn’t suited to one-day cricket. Athers has since admitted he was wrong.

      If a critic can’t say that a Test batsman like Cook might not be suited to one-day cricket with little contradictory evidence at the time, what can they say?

      Point is, Cook was never ‘a target’. He was an international cricketer being evaluated by someone paid to pass opinion on international cricketers.

    2. Are you criticising me? I’ll have you know that I am average while in the early 30s.

    3. Cook’s response to being called a bit of a plodder was:

      “Takes one to know one, I suppose”

      That’s a slightly more mature response than calling him a fucking prick.

      Amusingly, at the time Botham also said that he wouldn’t have picked Cook at all, wonder if Flintoff thinks he’s a prick.

    4. Pretty sure that this is nothing to do with what Athers said about Cook really. It’s probably more to do with lingering tetchiness about personal criticism being brought to the surface with a pint or two.

      Deep Cower, we were merely stating our position, but being as we are average and in the mid-30s, we could criticise if we so wanted.

      But we don’t.

    5. Just a bit more honesty might have helped:

      “In ODIs, Cook averages considerably more than me, scores 60% faster than me, and fields far better than I ever did, but I do think he is a plodder at the top of the order and a bit of a donkey in the field.”

      There wasn’t anything positive or analytical in what Atherton said. It was entirely pejorative. That’s the difference between his comment and Botham’s.

      And yes, as a journalist he does have a right to say it. Novellist Katie Price has a right to criticise Ulysses. But if her criticism consists of nothing more than telling us that Joyce was a donkey who probably had his work ghost written, is it not right to think of her as a prick?

    6. There wasn’t anything positive or analytical in that part of what Atherton said, but that was the only bit that got picked up and reported upon.

    7. Also, at the time Atherton DID have a higher batting average than Cook in one-day internationals.

      Does Fred think it’s not permissible to point out flaws in players who might later go on to be better than you? That would leave coaching in a right old state.

    8. It’s all been taken out of context.

      Flintoff is clearly claiming, quite specifically, people who averaged in the 30s for England and pass comment are pricks. This excludes anyone who averaged less than 30, or, say, never actually played for England

      Given that Flintoff averaged 31 with the bat and 32 with the ball, the whole thing can be taken as harmless self-depreciation.

    9. If someone who averages in the 30’s for England is a prick for passing comment, where does that leave Nick Knight?

  2. Where’s the free speech issue here ? Flintoff hasn’t said Athers has no right to express his opinion only that it’s rubbish and his own record doesn’t bear comparison, saying someone has no right to stand in judgement because they were no better themselves may be a fallacious argument but it is not the same as demanding that they stay silent, neither is it implied as far as I can see. He didn’t seem to mind that his outburst would be reported either, “say what you like I don’t care” doesn’t look like the response of someone who wants to curtail anyone’s freedom of speech.

    1. He said it more concisely than that, though. I guess brevity really is the soul of wit.

    2. We did write a post about how the making of fallacious arguments didn’t quite constitute an attack on free speech, but it didn’t read quite so well.

      Sometimes we make a bit of a leap.

    3. Sorry, that sounded slightly arsey. We were just trying to say that sometimes we talk bollocks.

    4. This is what happens when we let northerners play cricket. I knew it was a mistake from the start. Barbarians, the lot of them.

    1. Oh, wait, you commented on it. Is that why you read this site? For the hover captions?

      We’ll make more effort.

    2. Its your own fault. After the Graham Onions hover caption, my expectations have been raised to near-impossible-to-satisfy levels. This is what its like to have Indian fans.

    3. Can’t say I object to this one though. Its one of those hover captions that brooks no argument. That is indeed Andrew Flintoff’s face, and let no one else claim otherwise.

  3. This reminds me a little of Botham’s standard debate-clincher when talking with anyone about anything bowling-related:

    “how many test wickets have you taken then?”

    When I say “anyone”, of course he doesn’t use this line with the dozen or so people who have taken more test wickets than him.

    Botham’s is not method of debate born of great intellect.

    Freddie Flintoff’s even less so.

    Thank goodness we are spared “the wisdom of Freddie” on Sky/BBC commentary.

    1. Got it on the darts once. Made me wish Sid Waddell had been there, spouting the same rubbish he’s been coming out with for decades. He’s got cancer though, so picking on him’s a bit mean.

  4. How about we all agree to ignore any opinion by any ex-England captain?

    I really, really hope Strauss doesn’t go down the media route when he retires. I don’t want to end up hating him.

  5. Stick Warne and Freddy in a room together till one of them has an ego-meltdown. Attention seeking mfers the pair of them.

  6. As a side note; is there anyone on Earth who has had more free adventure holidays than Freddie Flintoff?

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