Last week, after seeing a player tumble to the ground, a man near me said, “That was a brilliant dive.” He said it admiringly as it was one of our players. He might have described it rather differently if one of their players had earned a free kick in that manner. We football fans do tend to have double standards about such things.
The inside of a football stadium can feel like a parallel world at times. You can say and do things that you couldn’t say or do in the real world. You can dispute the judgment of a referee but it’s not a good idea to chant, “You don’t know what you’re doing!” at a magistrate imposing a fine.
I’ve just read a very funny book that touches on some of the ethical dilemmas football fans encounter. It’s about a sports reporter whose dream is to see England win the World Cup. When he finds out why England’s team in Qatar is doing so well he has to decide whether to expose the shocking truth even though that might result in England’s disqualification.
I’m hoping that Birmingham City will play well today and we’ll go home happy. But if not, I’d recommend cheering yourselves up by reading There’s Only Two David Beckhams by John O’Farrell. We all have the choice of whether to laugh or cry at the state of this crazy world. I believe that we need to do both and that a good laugh can make you feel so much better.