Thursday, 1 July 2010

Why Wimbledon Puts World Cup To Shame

I think I’ve come over all Daily Mail again but hasn’t Wimbledon put the World Cup to shame?

Whilst the French footballers went on strike (from what I can gather), a lone French tennis player played a three day match with just one toilet break in seven hours. Our football players are only asked to play for 90 minutes and even then they get a 15 min refreshment break and motivational speech at the half way point (although this nothing compared to cricket I admit, when the bone china and Darjeeling come out every few hours).

Oh I love Wimbledon. Isn’t it nice that you can go to Wimbledon and tuck into Champagne and Chablis perfectly legally because no one has the urge to rip a seat out of the stand and smash it over the head of the chap next door?

Better still, despite the traditional trappings, the full tennis whites, the suited umpires, the strawberries and the hampers, the organisers recognise the sheer marvel of the modern world - and use computers. Yes, if a player thinks the ball is in but the man in the high chairs says it is out, they have a computer programme they can call on and quickly find out for sure. Genius.

I don’t know anything about football but it strikes me as quite odd that when many millions of people can see that a goal has been scored, but one man blinks and misses it – we go with him rather than all the others.

In fact, there are many things I don’t get about football like:-

1. Car flags. They make you look slightly common and clearly have no impact whatsoever on the England team performance. However skilled Rooney maybe (and I have my doubts), he can’t see your 2004 Silver Mondeo when he is in Bloemfontein, flag or no flag. See. Pointless.

2. Wages. Everyone moans about how much footballers earn. This I get. Anyone with that little taste should have their income limited on humanitarian grounds. What I don’t get it why anyone who earns less in one year than John Terry does in day, should cancel their Sky Sports subscription, chuck away their team strip and join a tennis club instead. You can have a pint there without fear that someone will later stick the glass into your left eye. You won’t get to sing as much but you could join a church for that – it’s free and you get the odd sip of wine.

3. The Offside Rule. It seems that whenever I watch a game of football, somebody runs very quickly towards the goal, gives the ball a big kick, the goalie misses it and, just as the team are having a big hug and leaping on each others sweaty heads, someone says it was offside and play continues. If a rule is a) that hard to describe and b) that difficult to spot when broken, you have to question the point. Referees seem to have enough to contend with already in general goal spotting. I’d let them get that right before throwing anything else into the mix.

4. Wags. What’s the point?

5. Managers: Apparently, it’s all Fabio’s fault. Since 1966, we’ve had lots of England managers – even I can remember a few. Hoddle said something terrible about people in wheelchairs, Sven couldn’t keep his pants on and then failed to spot a fake Sheikh and the man who came after, whose name I can’t remember, appeared to spend the whole time his team were playing writing his shopping list. None of them struck me as the Simon Cowell of football, but no one can say we haven’t tried different management styles. I could be wrong, but maybe it’s the players that are wrong here – not the manager afterall?

6. Shirt Swopping: The top is wet with the sweat of a bloke who looks a bit like Shrek and sleeps with prostitutes in their sixties – and you are meant to take it and wear it. Seriously?

Bananas really, which is why it’s strawberries for me from now on. Come on Murray. Put the pride back into Britain.


  1. Nice post Jane! Problem is that football is like a religon. Once you've got it it makes you do silly things and you can't break free from it - no matter how silly and irrational it might seem. Indeed the more it punishes you the more you seem to get sucked-in and justify it!
    It will be groundhog day again in 4 years time when the next World Cup comes around. We will have a team that 'can do it' this time, a manager that seems to be better than the last, and...... flags! More flags than ever...!

  2. Thanks Philip! I am going to write a letter to myself to open in four years time. It will begin, Dear Jane. Don't get sucked in....