We’ve all been there, having a kick about down the local stomping ground when one of your misfiring mates blasts the ball over the fence or miles across the field. And in this frustrating moment, you fantasise about how much easier it would be if there were ball boys… or a higher fence.
But in the 2014 World Cup you’d think this would be the last thing on anyone’s mind with the dozens of ball boys dotted around the arena like flies. Not the case for England number one at the time Joe Hart, who wasn’t only frustrated, he was furious.
It was the first group match against European rivals Italy and the Three Lions were 2-1 down and there was still hope in the game for a comeback, but with an Italian freekick to defend first.
Up stepped the god-like figure of Andrea Pirlo, the silkmeister himself, who floated an expectedly quality ball from 30-yards which Hart could only watch bounce off the cross bar and thankfully out-of-play.
Once he had processed the Pirlo magic, a switch seemed to flick in his head and you could almost see the cogs of fury turning as he tried to get the game going as soon as possible.
He maybe took this a little too far to the expense of the ball boys surrounding the goal who would’ve been shocked with the manner of Hart’s request for the ball.
As he marched around the corner of his post he screamed with rage and demanded the ball back as quickly as possible, with advertising boards receiving a kicking in the process as the expletives were also let fly saying “Give me the f****** ball” – charming.
Unfortunately, this urgency for the Brazuca ball didn’t help as the game remained 2-1 to the Italians with England crashing out of the group two games later not doing enough to progress and you could almost hear the poor ball boy’s celebrations.
There is a part of me that has respect for the passion of the England man who did also give us one of the highlights from a dire campaign, but maybe this passion was a bit misplaced on this occasion.
Whether Gareth Southgate is protecting the next wave of ball boys or Hart just isn’t good enough anymore is a tough one to decipher, but sadly for the hot-headed keeper he won’t be on the plane to Russia, and ball boys are safe for now.
Should Joe Hart have been punished for his tirade? Let me know what you think in the comments and in the forums!
Images within the article courtesy of Getty Images
Featured Image created by Charlie Pumfrey