Euro 2012. I’m a voyeur, not a fan.

14 Jun

I have watched a great deal of the coverage so far. Let’s zero in on the micro and extrapolate – Portugal v Denmark, last night. The 3 – 2 scoreline bespeaks a a 5 goal thriller, a treat for the fans. The truth of it? Another 90+ minutes of much of what sport shouldn’t be. Cheap fouls, cheap shots, players writhing feigning injury; more officials getting more wrong and Sepp disdaining techno-help; tattoed millionaires spitting venom and disrespect – and of course some sublime moments of skill, athleticism and drama.

Wrapping a cloak around the action, the unlikely trio of accented armchair experts – Keane, Martinez and Carragher. I never much liked Carra but his spitting scouse intelligence rasps across. Don’t get in a fight with Keane – he’s scary. Marinez is a Latin joy. All three say the same thing over and over – and repeat it for each match. Then the Alans and Clarence (how bright is he for a footballer?) say just the same on the other side. Adrian shades it over Gary as the anchor but he’s beginning to look bored and has the rather pathetic ‘When will they let me back on the One Show?’  look about him.

Back to the soccer. Is it only me who thinks that the spirit of sportsmanship in soccer died some time ago – when Bobby Charlton last shook hands on a pitch with Franz Beckenbauer and there was real warmth between two heroic professionals? Or was it later when Diego’s ‘Hand of God’ unapologetically showed us all that cheating is OK. When Thierry did something similar it had become ‘part and parcel’ of the game. We have been sleepwalking into showbiz. Football is now indistiguishable from I’m a Celebrity…and we really do need to get out of there. Fair play has been eclipsed by cheating because the public like controversy. It spices up the takeaway on Saturday nights. We are all culpable but it’s all about money in the end. The media; the various associations from FIFA down; the commercial billion-pound winners.

There is no doubt that Ronaldo in full flight is a sight to behold; contrast the 118cap-servant of Danish soccer Denis Rommedahl, hamstrung, limping off to end his international career. Truth is , though, that I watch avidly because I want to hear the mangling of tenses that Andy Townsend manages in his Crystal Palace speak; I need to swear at some diving cheat who trips over his own tattoos; I like seeing Gabby make an embarrassing 5 minute transmission about the WAGs arriving. I can soak up any amount of this crap but it’s tacky entertainment, not sport.

Is the patient beyond help and should we switch off the ventilator and go about our business? Here’s what might metamorphose me from voyeur back to fan – and it’s only the start.

1. Reduce all TV coverage of soccer so that broadcasts may only last an additional 10 minutes before/after matches. That would clip the wings of Hansen et al.

2. Any player requiring on-filed trainer attention should not be allowed back on the pitch for 5 minutes (at least). Prima Donnas watch out.

3. Technology should be introduced forthwith for a range of incidents, not just offside or goal-line controversy. On-field appeals considered.

4. All managers should sit in the stand. No team official allowed out of the dugout seats.

5. Players should be made to sit and have a sarni with eachother after all matches. Beer optional.

6. Any fan or any group of fans, causing any trouble for any reason should be castrated (assuming they are male)- or similar.

7. All managers should watch clips of Gentleman Roy Hodgson as part of their training for post match magnanimity.

This could go on couldn’t it? I’ll see the Euros out as voyeur. The spirit of sport flickers so weakly and with Sepp still in charge…’Some people are on the pitch. They think it’s all over…’

 

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One Response to “Euro 2012. I’m a voyeur, not a fan.”

  1. Martin C June 19, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    Sadly it’s not only in Football where petulant, overpaid celebrities gain more attention from their non-sport exploits than from pure sport talent. What is the difference between “sport” and “sporting”? David Nalbandian for one seems to have totally forgotten what it is all about.

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