Thursday, 22 May 2008

Millionaire footballer takes penalty shock

It is April 30th and Chelsea, the premiership side who have made Manchester United become more popular, is playing Liverpool in the semi final of the European champions league.

Liverpool concedes a penalty and up steps Frank Lampard, whose mother has died tragically young aged 58. Lampard is paid around £100,000 a week and regularly takes penalties for his club. He duly scores and raises his hands to the heavens, presumably to give thanks to God and his dead mother. A camera man captures the scene which was described in the Times thus:

'It captures a moment of transfiguration. A sport's photographer's snapshot becomes a symbol of something far greater for thousands of fans. For many this image of thanksgiving will feel like the Stamford Bridge equivalent of that most moving Christian tableau, the deposition from the cross.' Rachel Campbell-Johnson, the Times's Sally Jockstrap, wrote that and she should be ashamed of herself.

Every day young and old lose mothers, fathers, sons and daughters and somehow their life must go on. Let Sally, sorry, Rachel tell the parents of Jimmy Mizen- fatally stabbed whilst shopping in his local bakers- how brave multi-millionaire Frank has been, or to any serviceman in Afghanistan fighting an unwinnable war without decent gear, or talk to those few old men that still survive from the horrors of 1914 to 1918 in Northern France and the low countries. See what they think of Frank's heroism.

And silly Campbell-Johnson was not the only one. Seasoned commentators one expects a lot more from joined in the lazy slush-fest that was the column inches and radio sound-bites devoted to a man going about his extremely well paid business.

So please. No more outpourings of national grieving each time a footballer or one of his relatives dies- journeyman Celtic player Tommy Burns is the latest to receive wildly over the top eulogies. Would the same be said if Burns and Lampard have been doctors? or firemen? or property developers? Of course not.

So just because it is self obsessed, venal, deeply up its own arse football, we have to endure hysteria when a dignified silence would be so much more effective.

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