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The sun has got its hat on – so let’s forget about football (soccer) for a while yet

Allan Massie has it absolutely right:

The national obsession with football will be back in the autumn. This is as certain as the fading of summer. If only our footballers could capture something of Joe Root’s delight in what he is doing. Football long ago styled itself “the beautiful game”, but too often it is mean and ugly. I have always hoped that the famous Liverpool manager Bill Shankly had his tongue in his cheek when he observed that “some people think football is a matter of life and death. I don’t like that attitude. I can assure them it’s much more serious than that”; but too many people speak and act as if it were true. It’s nonsense, of course. The truth about sport is that it’s deadly serious, and ultimately not serious at all. I don’t suppose Joe Root would put it quite like that. Cricket is his business, after all, not an agreeable hobby. Yet he plays as if unconsciously he recognises this truth, and this is one reason he offers such delight. It will be a sad day if that happy smile, which also displays his relish for battle, fades from his face.

Like the author and professional cricketer Ed Smith, I think that sport is a part of life and therefore a worthy subject in what it tells us about the state of our culture. It is perhaps a shame that it takes a smiling, cheerful chap such as Root to remind us that playing games should be fun. Fun? How frightfully old-fashioned.

I am a football fan, but even I am quite happy to stop tormenting myself on Saturday afternoons when Ipswich Town is playing. There is a long autumn/winter/spring to come when that can happen. In the meantime, the Ashes cricket season continues.

6 comments to The sun has got its hat on – so let’s forget about football (soccer) for a while yet

  • pete

    ‘The national obsession with football will be back in the autumn.’

    No it won’t. The obsession is a 365/24/7 thing.

    Among my friends and colleagues football is always the main topic of conversation, though there is sometimes a bit of chat about tennis, cricket, rugby, golf, cycling or even the olympics if an event is being hyped up on TV at the time.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Pete, opinions vary depending on the region and the type of friends. Among even my football fan friends, they like the break away from some of the nonsense about the game. For instance, the soap opera about Rooney leaving ManU – who frankly cares?

  • I’ve found that after watching a whole load of cricket or rugby I struggle to sit through a game of football. After a summer of test matches, it’s normally around November before I can take an interest in the Premiership.

  • Mr Ed

    That song has some rather ‘dated’ lyrics (around 1 minute), some might find it offensive.

    Some might find footballers offensive, in the main. The extent of the obsession is worrying, but the next most popular spectator event in the UK is the airshow, redolent with voluntarism and daring.

  • Nathan

    Egads! A fellow Tractor Boy. A rare breed indeed.

  • Jason

    Pretty much sums up my feelings about international football association tournaments: