It’s over! With the final whistle heralding the victory of Spain came the end of the tournament and, despite the coverage in newspapers and news channels of racism and violence, I think it’s been a good show. To watch, of course. If you’re sitting at home. Not having your head caved in by a bigoted gimp with more teeth than braincells (and that’s saying something).
Not being what you’d call a ‘football fan’ (league matches annoy me with the heavy application of ego that the sport attracts), I think that I had the benefit of being able to enjoy all aspects of the tournament because I simply did not really care who came out on top. Oh, of course I cheered England and wanted them to win, but was I crushed when they inevitably buggered it up? No, because I enjoyed watching the game itself.
There is, alas, one thing about the game that I’m sure riles every single person watching. Why, why do the players have to be drafted from the Screen Actors’ Guild? Players collectively spent more time rolling about on the floor than a prostitute in times of plenty. It’s unnecessary, it’s embarrassing and, worst of all, it damages the game. Not only in an immediate sense, though the flow of the games seemed to consistently interrupted by grown men crying about the fact that the nasty man on the other team’s foot touched them. This is a game which is predominantly played using the feet, thus some innocent kicking is to be expected. If I was watching a game where the players had to smack each other in the forehead with their own testicles and, after suffering a devastating ball-to-eye catastrophe, the offended player calls for a penalty, I would have to recommend that the man decide to play another sport seeing as the sweaty appendage (it’s a tense game, nerves are tense) seems to disagree with him in such a way that renders him useless in his chosen profession. So why is it that players are let off for such flagrant leg-clutching in order to curry favour with the referee? Fear not, ladies and gentlemen, for there is a solution:
We should introduce aspects of the Grand National, an incomprehensibly popular sporting event, into football. It is a well known (if reluctantly admitted) fact that the horses who prove to be cost-prohibitive are put down. This obviously is only to cut the owners’ losses and enable them to be in a better position to come back at a later stage (disgusting a practice that it may be) and it clearly has no psychological impact on the horses. Imagine, if you will, this scenario played out, not on a horse, but on a human being. If a footballer knew that, with injury, came a sad sigh and the words ‘take ‘im out back, John’ followed by a walk outside and the assistant coach fixing his damp eyes on them as he raised the shotgun, I believe that players would stop trying to be Helen Mirren and would just get on with the game that they are paid obscene amounts of money to play.