The Weasel War Dance and other pointless prancing about

The news that Everton FC has launched its new all-black kit with a haka is worrying, and not just because it looked and sounded so rubbish.

Real danger lies ahead when teams start appropriating famous war dances for their own grubby shirt-selling money-making ends or indeed just because they think it might make them look harder than they really are.

For instance, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has performed an upset pirouette in technical areas across Europe for years. This routine involves spinning furiously on the spot while referees of all nationalities and colours contrive to sabotage his beloved team’s plans.

The upset pirouette would become so much more fearsome if Ferguson decided to combine it with the Samoan Fire Knife dance.

According to legend, tribal performers of fire knife tomfoolery Nureyev about while twirling the knife and doing other acrobatic stunts. It looks dangerous, so obviously I won’t be recommending that Fergie try it out every day for the rest of his life.

Of course Ferguson isn’t alone in his overuse of potentially fatal dance routines. For years football pundits have claimed to see something of The Kailao in Rafa Benitez. This ancient Tongan war dance encourages men to fling their arms about in a fierce manner as directed by a lead dancer with a fondness for changes in formation and zonal marking. Stop it, Rafa.

And as for Arsene Wenger, some have even convinced themselves that the Arsenal manager is copying the Weasel War Dance.

This colloquial term describes the behaviour of excited ferrets and weasels. Wild ones use this dance to confuse or disorient prey; the domestic variety normally exhibits this behaviour after the capture of a toy or another prize. It “consists of a frenzied series of sideways and backwards hops, often accompanied by an arched back, hissing noises, and a frizzy tail.” Just about sums the man up.

So this dancing malarkey all looks a bit unhinged. On the other hand, are we missing something here? On this evidence, mimicking war dances, human or otherwise, may just be the way to the top. Don’t be too surprised if you see David Moyes doing the haka on the Goodison pitch before the autumn.


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