There was an interesting contrast to some of the football I witnessed last weekend at amateur, Premier League and women’s international level.
As you might expect, the amateur game was robust but there was no jersey tugging, no diving and corners were contested fairly, so too the women’s match at Wembley where Germany had beaten England after 11 minutes by which time they were two up.
One unpleasant feature about the amateurs was that players were quick to abuse the referee, often with what used to be quaintly called ‘industrial language,’ the sort you can hear in offices, shops, schools and particularly on TV, which is supposed to help educate the nation.
This language might not echo in a stadium of 40,000-plus but in front of two dozen speccies, some of them kids, it’s loud and clear.
On Saturday night in the Premier League we had the awful sight of highly-rated young England star Ross Barkley, of Everton, ‘win’ a free-kick against West Ham with a blatant dive when he hadn’t been touched. He didn’t even blush.
Then Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere, tipped to be England’s key man for the next 10 years, angrily thrust his head toward Man U’s Maroune Fellaini and was lucky not to be sent off.
Fortunately Fellaini is about nine-feet tall so he escaped injury and commendably didn’t react.
We also had the embarrassment of West Ham’s James Tomkins, who had been pushed mildly just below his shoulders, going down in apparent agony with both hands clutching his face.
His manager Sam Allardyce was a no-nonsense defender. You would hope he might have a word with Master Tomkins.
Don’t forget all three perpetrators were English, so you can’t blame Johnny Foreigner. Perhaps the FA should have step in.
One other thing about the women’s match. Some of the players showed they could spit as well as the men. I hope they don’t do it in the fire at home.
One of the great sporting traditions has always been New Zealand rugby teams performing the haka before matches. Crowds loved it and always applauded, it was part of the entertainment.
There now seems to be a campaign to get the haka banned on the basis it gives the Kiwis an advantage.
For goodness sake, if opponents don’t like it, don’t look.
So well done to Wales wing George North, who said he enjoyed seeing it performed.
Members of the apparently intelligent Twickers crowd responded to the Samoa war chant by bellowing that dreadful dirge Swing Low Sweet Chariot, as they also did during the All Blacks’ haka. They should grow up.
Rugby league’s new Summer Bash on Spring Bank Holiday weekend at Blackpool features the popular classic Batley v Dewsbury.
The match is on the Sunday, starting at 12.45pm.
It’s one game they could have had starting at 12.45am with a few Heavy Woolleners doing their form of the haka beforehand.