Whether it was a policy passed down from on high or a slow burn of nudge politics from over the pond, I must have missed the decision to mark what seems like every single football match with a solemn commemoration, marking the passing of someone or something, any bloody thing, connected to the game.
Every match now seems to be punctuated by a ‘fitting memorial’ to someone who once waved at the second cousin of a footballer who once had trials for the team. We seem to have developed a constant need for sorrowful grief-marking at every turn and at every football match.
Who is deciding this? When did this come to pass? We’ve gone from being a nation of stiff upper lipped, unemotional, war-hardened automatons to being a wailing mass of grief-stricken cry babies ready to mourn at the drop of a hat. It seems to have infected the whole country.
Given that the solemn marking of a tragedy can now only be truly observed by 22 man-children with the moral dubiousness of the Borgias – who five minutes after the silence or applause are screaming into the referee’s face that he’s a fucking twat, it would save a lot of time in their busy lives if black armbands were permanently stitched into their kits. Maybe I’ll start an e-petition, or a Facebook page to direct them to the sponsored pub crawl I’m doing for this important cause.
You can understand why you might want to quietly mark the departure of a legend like, say, Bobby Moore, but I’m sure if one of today’s pampered England ‘stars’ (who’ve won nothing whatsoever) copped it today there would be a week of national mourning. Cranes would be lowered on the Thames again. The Royal Family would be castigated for failing to lower the flag at Buckingham Palace.
To paraphrase Stalin; one death is a tragedy, but a million minute’s silences is a statistic. The whole concept of ‘showing respect’ has been cheapened. It’s a morbid facade, a race to the solemn bottom, with every team vying to outdo each other – and woe betide the board that doesn’t sanction a proper tribute.
It’s like the poppy fascism we have today in Britain. There’s a fervent white feather brigade in this country that delights in hounding politicians, news reporters, weather forecasters, anyone who is seen without a red poppy in the months of October and November. Perhaps they should have them tailored into their suits too?
These grief merchants trading in mutual lachrymosity are everywhere – and they take a very dim view of people who aren’t seen to be upset enough. Anyone without a tear in their eye is to be watched closely.
As the months pass between England friendlies and qualifiers, you can be sure that someone somewhere who had some connection to football – no matter how tenuous – will have croaked. The next match is on the 27th of March. There will have been a lot of deaths by then. That’s a lot of poignant remembrances. There must be a way for the FA to respectfully mark ALL the deceased between the last match and the next one against Lithuania. Perhaps they could having a rolling tribute naming everybody on the pitch-side screens all the way through the match? We don’t want to offend the irrational, overblown ‘heart-on-the-sleeve’ bollock-brains who get hysterical when proper condolences aren’t offered.
All this chest-beating is just another representation of the tick box culture for our narcissistic world – its a reflection of our pampered, self-centred lives, it makes us pat ourselves on our back and feel better about ourselves.
“Hey look at me, I managed to stay quiet for a whole minute without looking at my iPhone once!” What do you want, a fucking medal?’