Saturday, 9 April 2011

The saints of the football pitch

Some character called Wayne Rooney has recently been in the news a bit in this country. His is one of those names which, annoyingly, is vaguely familiar, that you feel you ought to recognise, despite the suspicion that its owner doesn't deserve to be hauled out of obscurity – you know, like Sarah Palin or Victoria Beckham, well-known without having done anything useful.

Then it came to me. Rooney is the footballer who gave us his autobiography when he was about twenty. He didn't actually write it all himself, of course, since many of the words had multiple syllables. At that age, getting out of nappies is still a major event, so you can imagine how gripping the 300 odd pages are.

He’s been talked about these last few days because he used foul language to a cameraman from Sky TV. The only surprising thing about this is that anyone's surprised. Sky TV belongs to the international philanthropist, Rupert Murdoch, so even thinking about it without swearing is hard. 

Rooney showing his rigid adherence to the best of good manners
It’s true that Rooney had just scored his third goal in a match between his side, Manchester United, and struggling West Ham (theme tune, ‘I’m forever blowing bubbles’. Presumably their fans were blowing raspberries on the night). He’s employed as a striker and, in my limited understanding of football, this means that he’s supposed to score goals, he’s paid to score goals, but perhaps he just hasn’t got that used to doing his job yet so it makes him excitable when he does.

The Football Association is apparently most upset with him and is taking disciplinary action.

Can they be serious? Do they think that swearing at a cameraman is going to bring football into ill-repute? What reputation do they think football already enjoys?

There may be people out there who think that football is run and played by a bunch of saints. That the game is a stranger to bad language or other forms of unsuitable behaviour, including subservience to big money, corrupt practices and self-obsession. That it is played by individuals dedicated to athletic excellence and managed by people exclusively concerned with the entertainment and edification of the public.

But presumably they live on a planet unknown to the rest of us, where the only other inhabitants are the senior exeuctives of the football authorities.


Pino said...

Caro amico britannico,
I think, you will not find "too many saints" who play your preferred game, the rugby,
non credi ? :)

David Beeson said...

Souls without blemish, every last one of them. On the terraces too.

Anonymous said...

Should swearing even if it is directed at a Sky cameraman be condemned? Hmmm.