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Wednesday, 14 June 2017


Having been a most times abstainer from football I feel a bit hypocritical admitting that I watched the England France game last night.

Ok, football is a fine spectator sport, and, although I wouldn't describe myself as ultra jingoistic I do take some interest when an England game is afoot, unless there is something more compelling ( I recorded  Cardiff Singer of the World to revel in after the sun had gone down).

My objections are directed at the endless cheating, diving, pansy faked pain and injury, and arguing with the referee, to say nothing of the obscene amounts of money involved.

There was one French guy who went down three times last night, and to see his acting combined with lengthy sessions with medics on the field you would have thought he'd broken his leg in three places, but miraculously he was up and running again after engineering these stoppages to the game and supposedly trying to convince the referee that a penalty should be awarded and his opponent sent off.

All that is pretty run-othe-mill stuff, but what prompted me to write this post arose from one of the commentators:

"It was a good foul, he didn't get booked"

I messaged my daughter who is a secondary school head of English with responsibility for, amongst other things, the instilling of good behaviour, firm moral values and potentially responsible citizenship in her school-kids. Her reply, "what hope?"


Why do a large proportion of football managers...

chew gum disgustingly?

Look permanently miserable, even forcing themselves to refrain from at least smiling when there is good cause?

 I can understand those traits in a particular individual, but they mostly seem to follow the herd.

A refreshing exception -Jürgen Klopp


AlanR said...

I agree entirely. Modern football leaves me miserable apart from the odd exception. I said to Sheila during the game " just look at the faces of the England players against those from France", who were down to ten men. There was no sign of enjoyment or pride just bewilderment.
It doesn't help when England have no midfield, which I stand in disbelief of.
How difficult can it be to pick 11 players from the vast pool within the 2 top leagues in our country. They don't have to be world class individuals just round pegs in round holes that work hard together.
I watched recently the Leicester City vs Man Utd game from 1966, what a joy to see. No cheating, no diving, no arguing, plenty of hard tackles without the rolling around, hand shakes a plenty and muddy pitch. These are the good old days I wish would return, apart from the pitch.
Money and foreign players have brought about the game we see today. The pundits are mainly from the modern game so they are no better.
Ok. Soap box now back in the dressing room.

Gayle said...

I was a Wolves season ticket holder for ten seasons (bought when I moved to Kent in 1996, kept when I lived in London, finally ditched when I moved to live in the Midlands). It was when Wolves finally made it into the Premiership that I started to lose interest, largely because the level of diving and cheating took a massive step up from what I'd witnessed before, marring my enjoyment. I persisted for a couple of seasons more before deciding there were better things I could do with my Saturdays and these days it's rare for me to watch any football at all.

Dave said...

I'm an Albion supporter and we seem to have taken it on ourselves to adopt a pioneering approach and move the game into an uglier and more brutalised era. Players generally need to conform to a blueprint - 6'2" minimum height, thirteen and a half stones weight, capable of kicking the ball very hard in the direction they're facing; rigid in both formation and tactical approach - disciplined, effective, unspeakably ugly and just about unwatchable. That said, our players rarely seem to dive or feign injury; equally they rarely bring the ball under control either, which leads me to believe that our stormtroopers are being drilled in the arts of defensive shape and boring the life out of the opposition, while some other teams are actually brushing up on their cheating.

I'll always love the Albion (some bargains are for life) but football I can take or leave. As for The Premiership being the supposed "best league in the world"...

John J said...

I've never had an interest in the game. In a vain attempt to fire up some enthusiasm, my late grandfather took me to see Manchester United at Old Trafford when I was about ten years old.
Watching the crowd was fascinating, listening to their roars of applause even more so.
I've not seen a football match since, the game just does nothing for me at all.

Sir Hugh said...

Alan R - there is just a hint in your comment that you may know much more about football than me?


Gayle - Yes, one of my responses to football addicts is "I'd rather be doing than watching."


Dave - Sounds like you are deep in. You had me wrong footed for a moment (pun not intended) referring to the Albion - it is also the name of our local pub in Arnside.


John J - My father took me to watch Bradford Northern at Odsal stadium (rugby league- a man's game) circa 1952. We were stood at the front wall. A youth was climbing up on a higher wall nearby. A circulating policeman called out in a strong Yorkshire accent " 'ere lad get down! you're not at a football match now."

Funny how some things stick in your mind - I would have been only about 12 years old.

Roderick Robinson said...

Who'd have thought your hairy-chested (Gayle excepted), hey-for-the-open-road commenteers had a vein of soccer running through them? Their comments here are much longer than when they're in Berghaus mode. Yet I have to confess, much as I detest soccer and all its ramifications (eg, have you noticed it's always a fan's "beloved" MU or Chelsea in the newspapers) I have willy-nilly picked up a certain amount of info about it. How could it be otherwise given the family I have.

Your question about managers is incredibly naive. You'd chew gum (gobbets of heroin, even) and look tense if you enjoyed their precarious tenure. For they operate in an unreal world. Only one team can finish top and thus at the end of the season all the others are seen by definition as failures.

That's why I found Wenger's situation interesting. In previous years the team seemed to hang on to him through sentiment as much as through success. The fact that he was a Frenchman seemed to help (Don't forget, there seemed to be a genuine love for Cantona.) and the fact that he always looked like a guy who'd had a bad experience in a wine-tasting confirmed some stereotype or other.

I may well detest soccer but I think I can see why others become infatuated. There is absolutely no defence for liking F1 which I watch almost despite myself, in fact preferring MotoGP now gone from our screens. Sport is an artificial construct intended to please: it is a simulation of war, politics, international relations, prejudice and tribal instincts, spiced with an admixture of physical skills, and arranged to last two hours that is the limit of most viewers' concentration. Thence the simulation becomes the real thing and people die from time to time to confirm its reality.

So here I am, boasting in public about the difficult novels I've read, secretly revelling in flirting with an activity that can be reduced to a computer game. Go figure, say the Americans.

Sir Hugh said...

RR - It wasn't one hundred percent enthusiasm for the game from my fellow outdoories by any means. Anyway, I got a particular niggle off my chest, one that I seem to need to expose once a year or so.