From the bookmaker that brought you Nicklas Bendtner's underpants during Euro 2012 comes a new campaign aimed at rubbing down and out Premier League players' faces in their underachieving ways. As part of a Twitter hashtag campaign "#2ndjobsforsubs" Paddy Power put up a billboard outside Stamford Bridge ahead of Chelsea's FA Cup replay against Brentford last weekend.
The advertisement spoke directly to Torres (and indirectly to anyone frustrated by his form) and read "Fernando, we've got an onion bag you can actually find. It's in the burger van mate. Get your hair net on."
Chelsea won the match 4-0 and Torres went unused. The Spaniard, who might not even know that "onion bag" is another term for the goal, did have a chance to stick it to Paddy Power and the rest of his critics when he started in Chelsea's Europa League match against Sparta Prague on Thursday. Instead, he took more shots than any other player in the match (seven) but only had one on target, according to Opta. And it did not find the onion bag.
Chelsea still advanced with a late goal from Eden Hazard. After the match, Rafa Benitez strained to defend Torres yet again. From ESPN:
"He didn't play badly tonight," Benitez said. "You can analyse a striker for the number of goals he scores. Maybe you're right. But he did a great job for the team tonight. It's not easy against a team playing deep, but he was winning the ball in the air, bringing options for those around him.
"I thought he was playing well. I disagree he was playing badly. But of course we want him to take the chances that come his way. If he continues working like today and playing like he did today, he will score goals. I'm convinced about that.
"We could be talking about Fernando not scoring goals, and he had four chances. But he had four chances. Let's turn it into a positive. I've seen him in games not having these chances because he's not in the right position.
"Today the goalkeeper stopped him and he missed some. It wasn't the situation where the striker disappeared. Are we disappointed he didn't score? Yes, we are. But he was still giving his all to the team."
So, like the kids in a U-10 league, he gets a pat on the head for trying hard and not being out of position.
Anyway, lest you think Paddy Power is aiming all of their cruelty at Torres, QPR's Jose Bosingwa was actually their first target. His billboard read "Bosingwa, as you're too good to sit on the bench... Grab yourself a vest, we need a few more stewards."
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