Buoyed by England’s 2 run victory in the 2nd of this summer’s Test matches with Australia, the Guardian’s Stephen Moss contrasts cricket’s sportsmanship with football’s juvenilia, the latter typified by the Football League’s opening weekend and Sunday’s Community Shield match at the Millenium Stadium.
The single satisfying aspect of football’s ridiculously premature ejaculation was the way in which cricket smacked it out of the ground. Arsene Wenger’s whinging or Andrew Flintoff’s heroics – take your pick. The delirium at Edgbaston or Hull City fans taunting QPR with chants about suicide bombers and dead Londoners. Those witty footie fans. I had to drive to Cardiff on Saturday, the day before the Community Shield match (why were two London sides playing in Wales, by the way? What a waste of petrol!), and noticed that about five miles before you reached the ground they had already erected signs telling Chelsea and Arsenal fans to take different turn-offs. Odd that even the Community Shield insists on rigid segregation. Wasn’t this supposed to be a “friendly”? As if that word could even exist in modern football.
The FA, worried about the game’s rock-bottom reputation for discipline, has said that this season referees will send off players who abuse them. That should produce some fascinating three-a-side games, but I still don’t think it will be enough to save this wretched so-called sport. Perhaps if all Premiership players earned no more than £100,000 (a year!), avoided night-clubs, drove Toyota Yarises and showed the sort of sportsmanship than St Freddie displayed when, at that moment of ecstasy in Birmingham, his first thought was for the disconsolate Brett Lee, then I might once again have some regard for this weekly whinge-fest. But until then I will continue to hope that soccer’s bubble will burst, ego-tripping millionaires will buy racehorses (less dumb animals) instead, loyal fans will realise their clubs are now solely interested in the Japanese market, post-match radio moan-ins will fall quiet, and the non-stories leapt upon by besotted sports editors will be consigned to the waste bin.