Right I am about to stick my neck out and get shot down in a hail of bullets. I will be publicly pilloried, I will shop with a bag over my head but here goes. Football is a more skilful game than rugby. There I’ve said it! Even typing it has made me look over my shoulder to see if anyone saw what I wrote. Clearly this is not the best county in which to make such a statement but I’m afraid it’s how I see it. Now as you know both my sons play and love rugby and if I had to choose to watch a rugby or football match I would always choose the rugby match. I prefer Rugby but if I had to say which is the most skilful then of course it’s football.
Those guys are incredibly fit, they spend the whole 90 minutes running after the ball, there’s no stopping for rucks, mauls, scrums and line outs – it is constant chasing across the field and the whole time you are trying to control a ball with just your feet. Those feet that you are also trying to run with. Just watching the players on TV and their amazing ball control skills is outstanding. Of course Rugby is a skilful game and yes rugby players are stronger, as to who is fitter I’m not sure but which requires the greater skill then it’s football. Recently I heard a daft argument about how a football player wouldn’t last three minutes on a rugby pitch but neither would a cricketer, a sprinter or a swimmer. Rugby is a hard, tough game and very exciting to watch but it’s not for everyone.
This past week I’ve been watching a lot of football, not my choice but everyone else is watching it and as I’ve always said any sport is great to watch when it is being played by the very best (except golf – how can you watch golf? Playing it is fun, watching it is an exercise in tedium.)That said football players are the biggest bunch of babies I have ever seen. I swear these guys will fall over a blade of grass if they think they can get the ref to award a penalty! They are not an impressive bunch and hardly act as role models for future sportsmen. Certainly they are very valuable assets to their club and if they are tackled it makes sense to stay on the ground and check if the bang has caused any serious damage but the tears and histrionics are pathetic. Worse yet is the way they argue with the ref or fail to bellow out their national anthem.
One of the things that always amaze me about football fans though is the split in the types that attend. When you look into the crowd you see the laughter, the tears, the hope and pride all the very best in a nation supporting their country and then there are the idiots. The people that throw rubbish on the pitch, last night someone threw a smoke bomb onto the pitch! They had to stop the game as it got so bad that the goalie couldn’t see the play of the ball. Why would anyone do that? They no doubt paid good money to get a seat and then they think it’s fun to disrupt the game. For those players nothing is more important than the game they are playing and yet some wally comes along and halts play.
Beyond the pitch football seems to bring out the worst in people, the violence, the racism the sheer minded hooliganism. What is it about this game that attracts this behaviour when it doesn’t happen in cricket or rugby?
Anyway England play tonight and by the time you read this we are hopefully on our way to the next rounds.