Thursday, 15 October 2009

You pull mine and I'll pull yours and other small matters

Why do professionals pull each others shirts? John Terry, captain of England, pulls the shirt of an opponent instead of trying to get to the ball himself. If the captain of the national team does it then it is open to all. All the footballers and all the kids at school.

The problem is that each player knows he will be cheated by opponents pulling his shirt, illegally preventing him from showing what he can do. So players pull opponents off balance in premature retaliation! And the poor referee has the unpopular option of penalising every incident, slowing the game down by adding maybe 10 free-kicks to a match, and those are just the incidents that he can see. I myself saw at least 5 shirt-pulls and I was far away watching on television in Spain. There is little option for the players the way things are. Do as you would be done by does not work in professional sport.

Why don't the kids do something? They don't get paid for playing for the school do they? So what have they got to lose? Why don't the school teams cut out the shirt pulling? And why not the diving as well? They should set an example. The kids don't have much respect for adults these days so why don't they provide a model.

Watching the England v Belarus on television last night from Wembley, I put the shirt pulling aside and watched how the small players, Lennon and Wright-Phillips, were able to scuttle around the bigger guys. When they were knocked down they were up again in the same movement. Crouch, at 6' 7'', who scored two goals, always looks like he is defying natural forces to get at the ball. Even at heading where he starts closer to the ball, he is not a force. By the way, did you notice how high Wright-Phillips can jump? He was up there with the Belarus goalkeeper at one point, head to head, for a cross from the right. The referee was so surprised he blew for a foul for impeding the goalkeeper.

Suppose Fabio Capello, the England manager, chose a team of the smallest players available to him. Would England have a better chance of winning the World Cup with such a squad? And do you know who would probably get in that squad? David Beckham!

Just give him a few months to adapt. I think he is already on to something in trying to look like a small garden gnome with the help of that beard.

1 comment:

  1. Shirt pulling: on Sunday 15th a wonderful photo in the Sunday Times showed Jenas (England) holding on tightly to the shirt of Kaka (Brazil) as the latter strode past him. This was an incident in the friendly game in Doha which Brazil won 1-0 the day before.
    It was a naughty schoolboy incident. The schoolboy element in the professional game also shows itself in the names players give to teammates - Giggsy, Lamps, etc. Doesn't it shame the player,in this case a Tottenham Hotspur regular and an England occasional player, when he is revealed in the national press acting unprofessionally, i.e. cheating?
    As I suggested above on the blog it would be great if schoolboy football would show the adults the way by banning it from their games!