Having spent last weekend watching sport I am, not for the first time wondering where the sport ends and the commerce and thuggery starts.
My watching has been Rugby (this time the 15 a-side game) and football.
In terms of Rugby, I was relatively satisfied. Of course, not all in the RFU garden is rosy with signs of thuggery all too evident: Calum Clarke is banned for a very tasty 32 weeks for deliberately damaging the arm of an opponent in the LV Cup Final. England hooker Dylan Hartley (was he named after a rabbit on the Magic Roundabout?) might think himself lucky or not (was he ‘fish hooked’?) with his 8 week ban for biting and Leicester scrum half, Ben Youngs has, following a RFU investigation into his activities with knee and fist might consider himself lucky to receive just a week's ban.
But all that said, the referees, even when they get it wrong, tend to get little more than a chunter.
In football things are very different.
One thing that really gets on my Cumbrian nerves is the fact that the Football Association, having been taken to the cleaners with the building of the new Wembley Stadium now play as many matches as they can there. The FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Everton will mean 70,000 Merseyside fans having to make a 400 miles round trip.
As a Carlisle fan I know the cost of matches at Wembley (and Cardiff) and it is blatantly unfair on hard working fans who want to watch their teams playing at their highest level. No problem for the supporters of Spurs or Chelsea of course and I do wonder how they would complain if they had to play at Old Trafford!
The FA need to remember that the game exists for the sport, the players and, most importantly, for the supporters. It is not there to be milked for their own self interest. Yes, I know its going to cost a fortune to compensate Tottenham for Harry Redknap and his team when he gets the England job – perhaps if they would stop sacking managers and paying up their contracts they wouldn’t be in the financial doo-doo.
On the field, things aren’t much better. Watching today's match between Newcastle and Liverpool I was first of all left wondering why the canny Geordie fans seem to be upset at Andy Carroll. After all they made £36M from the sale of the big useless footballer which Alan Pardew has invested wisely (after Mike Ashley has paid for the renaming of the heart and soul home of Newcastle football). So why were they booing? Should they not be grateful to him.
Of course, his little slip when rounding Newcastle keeper Tim (I learnt everything I know at Carlisle) Krul was as much him losing his balance as I am a Chinaman! He tried to con the referee when it was easier to score. No wonder he doesn’t score many goals!
Then we have Pepe Reina sticking his forehead towards James Perch (note: towards – he certainly didn’t connect) and rightly being dismissed. He clearly doesn’t give a hoot about the club, his colleagues or the supporters. He is a professional isn’t he? Not much professionalism in that kiddy fit!
But to cap it all, Mr Perch, having not been touched, went down like he was shot. I really do fear for this young man’s career if a passing light breeze can knock him over.
I hope Mr Perch wakes up tomorrow to realise what an ass he made of himself.
Sportsmen……. nope, I didn’t recognise many this weekend.
Published: April 4, 2012
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