Childish Drogba and Burnley are both losers

Anyone who's watched young siblings fight will know that when there's a squabble, nobody wins.

There's anger, there's often violence, then there are tears and recriminations, then a stilted truce and a fractured peace which never quite heals.

Similarly, it's difficult to see any form of happy outcome to the distasteful spat between Didier Drogba and the Burnley fans last night after the Ivorian had scored for Chelsea.

Perhaps unknowingly, perhaps unwisely and perhaps arrogantly, the striker chose to celebrate his first goal in months by running to the corner populated by Burnley's travelling support.

Those fans whose street-smarts extends beyond knowing the nearest foccacia outlets to Premier League grounds will know that, rightly or wrongly, the denizens of Turf Moor have long had a reputation for being somewhat unwelcoming.

So with horrific predictability, coins rained down on the pitch toward Drogba, who initially appeared to ignore the missiles.

But after turning to walk back into his starting position, Drogba had a change of heart, faced the Burnley supporters, gave them a one-fingered salute, showed them a coin and threw it into the throng.

One-nil: Drogba gives Burnley fans the finger... 

There will be those who say that fans who throw coins can't complain when they come under return fire. This is an understandable extension of the argument that fans who verbally abuse players or managers can't complain at the odd retaliatory gesture, such as that doled out to Liverpool fans at Old Trafford by Gary Neville or the Millennium Stadium by Jose Mourinho.

However, while that argument makes sense in a grow-up-you-big-mardy-kids way, it's a huge leap forward to nodding knowingly as players fling metal into the public's face.

It's easy to say “an eye for an eye” without bothering to work out if the missile blinded its original owner. We don't yet know who, if anybody, the coin hit, but you can be assured that the tabloids are working the phones of Lancashire even as we speak.

And so the story will continue to feed on itself and that gleeful head-shaking prurience in which we Brits specialise. A granny who's followed Burnley since Bob Lord was chairman will be wheeled on to say she's never been so terrified. The FA will make a big noise about investigating it. The Met Police are involved. It's a sad sorry shambles.

...then gives 'em a flinger 

The perception of Burnley's fans, which many of them have been trying to repair, will be tarnished once more. A reactionary editorial somewhere will revel in the past misdeeds of the Claret army and ask if they didn't jolly well have it coming.

Similar past episodes of coin-throwing will be recalled in gory detail, doing damage to the image of decent professionals like Jamie Carragher, a fine man who has done much good since his own contretemps with Arsenal fans a few years back.

Despite his hurried apology, Drogba's reputation, already sullied, has another ugly episode to dredge up next time something goes wrong, as it surely will. Any punishment will be derided as not strong enough, unless he's imprisoned, in which case it'll be seen as over the top.

The attacking elan with which Luiz Felipe Scolari has imbued Chelsea will now be tainted. And the fine young manager that is Owen Coyle, building an attractive and effective side, will have his big night overshadowed by idiots, in the stands and on the field.

Because when the immature fight – especially with weapons – nobody ever wins.

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