Monday, 10 January 2011

"Send in the clowns ..." Who exactly are the clowns?

Why does a red card for the dangerous behaviour or misjudgment of one player have to affect the enjoyment of a football match so drastically? Why not just substitute the player immediately and get on with the kind of event that the spectators came to see.

Last weekend it was Stephen Gerrard sent off for a foul on Carrick in an FA Cup match at Old Trafford. Those at the stadium and those like me watching on television had to resign ourselves to a match where we had hoped for better entertainment. It was not the referee's fault, he made a resaonable decision according to the rules.

What is not reasonable is that tens of thousands had gone to the ground to watch, and millions had set aside some time to view it on television and then - bingo - the entertainment of watching two teams of eleven players comes to an end.

A red card for the excessive force or misjudgement of one player is hardly a team offence. It is one individual's action. Even if the team manager suggested 'getting stuck in' there is no compulsion on any team member to behave violently. Playing with determination is not the same as playing dirty.

It seems silly to punish the whole team and the supporters. In the massive entertainment for millions that is football it is perverse and ridiculous to send off the clown and not send on another player to replace him.

Or are we the clowns, the followers on television and in the grandstand .... for paying and not insisting that we get what we paid for, a match, viz 11 players v 11 players?

Send in the Clowns is the name of a song written by Stephen Sondheim. (He doesn't play for Chelsea)

I think Sondheim meant what I mean here. The fault for allowing an unreasonable situation to develop and continue is down to those whose support condones it. Football, or anything at all!

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