The Tyranny Of Football

A curious article appeared in “The Guardian” on Saturday, in which the actor, writer and comedian David Mitchell tried to sum up his dislike for football. Reading it back this morning, one cannot help but be struck by the overwhelming impression that he is somehow holding back the worst of his ire – that he would like to unleash a torrent of abuse in our general direction, but has been advised by the newspaper’s editorial team that this might not be the most advisable thing that he could do. As with most people that try to tackle this sort of issue, he betrays a fundamental lack of understanding of the game. The comment, “they randomly kick it around and, very occasionally, with little or no warning, a goal happens” is typical of the sort of comment that emanates from people that don’t understand football. It assumes that the fact that he doesn’t understand it is somehow not his fault but, if we are to equate football in this context with anything, it would probably be fair to compare it with a foreign language. Would he make the same criticism of, say, Italy if he found himself there and unable to understand what the people there were saying? Minor quibbles aside, it was a balanced and well-written article, and the depressing nature of the comments below it (an all too...

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