|[Above: Steve Kean clings onto Samba for dear life; sapping the talent's lifeforce].|
Marsyas was known throughout Ancient Greece as being unrivalled, peerless in playing the flute. His music moved men to cry and lured women to bed, the trees danced and the rocks roared at ol'Marsyas' music. Life was steady, until that nagging phenomena that troubles every man started to take hold and unsettle Marsyas - ambition.
The God Apollo was the deity of music, no mortal could compete with Marsyas' flute playing, could one of the Gods? Marsyas wondered, and wondered until he deigned to challenge Apollo to a contest. It were to be officiated by the muses, biased cows that they were.
Apollo and Marsyas fluted hard, hard as one can flute, and they were pretty well matched until Apollo pulled out an piss-ant's trick and played the flute upside down whilst hanging in the air.
Marsyas couldn't ape that, he's just your man from down the street. The muses jumped up in unison to declare Apollo the winner, and Marsyas was punished for daring to challenge the Gods, for daring to dream, he was flayed alive in a cave, Apollo nailed his skin to a pine tree as a warning to others. And Marsyas' family and friends wept, wept, and wept, their tears forming the river 'Marsyas' in Phrygia - modern day Turkey.
The Ancient Greeks didn't feel much pity for Marsyas, he got what he deserved for daring to think he was better than his 'station'. How dare he challenge his Gods. Who does he think he is? The Gods are our employers, until our life contract is up.
But I say, fair play to Marsyas, for striving to be.
Fast forward four thousand years and you'll hear the same views down your pub about Samba. 'Who does he think he is?', 'How dare he challenge his club', 'The Venkeys are his employers, until his contract is up.'
Chris Samba wants out of Blackburn. The nation's greatest clubs are keen for his services, they tantalise with open treasure chests of trinkets and glory.
After six seasons toiling under the dark, grey, Blackburn sky, at the wooden eyesore devoid of life, where the empty seats whistle in the cold northern air; coupled with no other noise but the tedious, monotonous beating of that ghastly drum. Madness can kick in.
Ewood, situated in the shadowy abyss of Blackburn, sludge and pies gather on every work surface and the cold silhouetted terraced houses spill out onto the smoggy streets where the bag-faced street-children dwell...can we blame Samba for wanting the other?
The people in the street whisper venom: 'He's on x, y, and z a week, where's the loyalty, if it were me job, I'd say no!?'
A footballer's time in the Sun is but a blink of the eye. After a while man desires a successful legacy rather than material wealth.
Samba has accrued all the silver in the West, but he has nothing to show for it. And now death comes for him. He wants to make one last stand to mark his name down in history.
Who are you to deny such a man? You chattering Northerners? Can you be so spiteful?
Blackburn have spited Samba and told the Gods he's not for sale. Samba is a broken man, a man who looked on glory but had it blocked by a fat Scottish guy who stepped in view.
Samba admits he's not sure he can play with the same level of passion as he once did. The chattering 'Northerns' are fuming.
But if you worked in Spar selling vegetables, and the BBC came in-store and offered you a radio show, and your Spar boss refused to release you, could you once again hand over sprouts to Mrs Lynch with the same glint in your eye? Or would you be soured with regret and sprouty bitterness?
You get but one life, to make yourself the best you can be. Samba has devoted a footballing age to an unambitious Blackburn, and now he merely wants to part ways and realise his talents. Let him go Blackburn. Let him free.
Or else I doubt the banks of the River Darwin could contain the tears of the friends and family of Samba. The man who dared to get ideas above his station. Those tear-filled banks will overflow, and there's nothing worse than wet pies and sludge.