Kingdom Of The Blind – By Dominic Kearney
[quote]Diving was invented overseas by nasty foreigners who could only beat us by cheating. This is true. Ask Franny Lee.”[/quote]
Wayne Rooney didn’t dive to get the Bayern player sent off. Wayne Rooney is English and an established international on whom hopes are pinned.
He did, however, walk out on Everton, so yes, it was a dive.
Daniel Sturridge did dive against whoever it was the other day. Except he didn’t really because he was just being honest and tumbled to the floor to avoid killing the goalkeeper. And he’s English, although not an established international. But he plays for the Dark Side. It was a dive.
Luis Suarez dives all the time. He cheats and bites but we don’t really mind because he seems a much nicer bloke these days and he’s a fantastic footballer. He’s foreign, mind, so this could all change. He also plays for them, so he dives all the time, even when he stays on his feet.
Arjen Robben dives. He’s Dutch, for heaven’s sake, and he plays for a German club. He’s just a cheat.
Ross Barkley never dives. Leighton Baines never dives. How could Leighton Baines ever dive? He’s such a nice bloke, much nicer than Suarez could ever be, even though Suarez has stopped biting people. Leighton Baines buys ice creams from the ice cream man.
He’s friends with Miles Kane. He’s an Everton player. He’s English. At most, he slips now and then.
Steven Gerrard only ever dives when he’s playing for Liverpool. Ditto Micheal Owen. Although only we could ever see that! Why couldn’t anyone else see that?
Marouane Fellaini only elbows people viciously now, really. He never used to. Anyway, he only does it now if he can lumber close enough to reach them. I suppose he did headbutt Ryan Shawcross, but the ref should have given a penalty because he was all over him.
Fellaini doesn’t dive. He’s too tall. It would be like base jumping. But he doesn’t really elbow people either.
It’s just that he’s so much taller than every other player that his elbow always comes up to their heads, regardless of how tall the other player is. That’s just physics.
Diving was invented overseas by nasty foreigners who could only beat us by cheating. This is true. Ask Franny Lee. It is creeping into the English game, however, and has been ever since the foreign invasion began. (That was some time ago now. How slow can you creep? Glaciers move faster.)
I don’t mind diving, really, so long as it’s the right person diving at the right time and he doesn’t get caught or look too stupid. Anders Limpar, for instance, against Wimbledon. That was great.
What is cheating? Going outside the rules of the game in order to gain an unfair advantage – that seems a reasonable definition.
And getting caught as well. That’s important. So why isn’t tripping someone up ever described as cheating? Or holding another player, or pulling his shirt? Or shouting our ball when you know fine well it was you who touched it last.
If a forward dives in the box when he hasn’t been touched, defenders go absolutely spare. Joe Hart went bananas at George Boyd, even pushing him away with his forehead. He’d never do that to someone who pushed him or held his shirt. And he’d be amazed if anyone he fouled did that to him.
Why is kicking someone considered a relatively acceptable part of the game but chucking yourself on the floor elicits absolute outrage?
The things I dislike more than anything about football are the dishonesty and hypocrisy. Or believing your own lies and hypocrisy, more to the point. We’re all liars. You should see my CV. And we’re all hypocrites. (I certainly am. Back when I was a teacher I once told a boy off for smoking, confiscated his fags, and smoked them myself. And I’m pretty sure I actually haven’t made that up). Let’s not pretend we aren’t.
Andre Marriner was heavily criticised for sending the wrong Arsenal man off against Chelsea, which was fair enough. But he was scoffed at for ignoring Oxlade-Chamberlain when he told him he’d handled the ball. Of course he didn’t believe him. Footballers lie all the time.
It’d be nice if reporters challenged the dishonesty of the managers they interviewed. Didn’t see it Arsene? Here, I’ve got it on the iPad. What do you reckon now?
What was that, Brendan? He’s an honest lad who went to ground so he wouldn’t injure the keeper? You’re having having a laugh, surely?
And why [insert any name] are you so incensed by an opposition player doing exactly what your own player did just last week?
And the players should be challenged too. Don’t play the innocent when you know you’ve transgressed. Fellaini looked genuinely amazed when he was booked for elbowing Zabaleta.
He tapped the referee again and again and demanded to know what was that for, what did I do? You stuck your elbow into another man’s face, Marouane, that’s what. You should know. You were there.
Be a cheat and a hypocrite and a liar by all means. Just be honest about it.