Wednesday, April 11, 2012

All footballers are liars

I was a slightly weird footballer. You'll have to take my word for it but I combined a desperately fierce and combative approach with a fair spirit. I never did that stupid thing of appealing for a corner if I knew it was a goal kick. After a while I gave up appealing altogether. Waste of effort.

I came close to cracking. One day one of my team-mates appealed for a throw-in which should have been given to us. The ref gave it the other way and, in defence of his decision, pointed at me and said, 'Well he isn't appealing.'

All jokes about me being appealing belong in another article.

I have always felt that my unilateral decision to 'leave things to the ref' bore little fruit and even refs were suspicious of it.

But the opposite extreme, which is what we have now, where everyone appeals for everything, is counter-productive surely? Someone gives a gentle push and a liar goes down as if shot. A shot is not saved and the liar covers his own inaccuracy by appealing for a corner. A defender misses a tackle and a liar deliberately trips over the outstretched leg. A liar performing as a pundit says 'He had a right to go over it.' A liar, who has tripped an opponent and hurt him, tells him to get up and stop faking.

There are moments of sportsmanship, reprieve and empathy - of course - but can my readers nominate any players who consistently avoid over-appealing, bad-mouthing referees and exaggerating injuries? I haven't seen him enough in the flesh but I suspect Phil Neville may score quite high.

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