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Modern Footballers Are Divers, Wimps, Overpaid and Act Like Divas

adnan januzaj 600x400 Modern Footballers Are Divers, Wimps, Overpaid and Act Like Divas

Nowadays it seems that any tackle with a slight lashing of malice is scrutinized and condemned. With the increase of baby-faced and wrapped-in-cotton-wool footballers who refuse to be fouled as to protect their luscious and gelled infrastructure they call their hair, the ancient art form of the tackle is being clamped down to the point when you can barely touch your opponent anymore.

Last year’s Premier league season (2012-13) saw the lowest red card return since 1996. This highlights the modern day confusion surrounding a good tackle. Referees up and down the country ‘umming and ahhing,’ many of them convinced and conformed by the crowd. Let’s be honest. You don’t give a penalty against Manchester United at Old Trafford. A ref just doesn’t have the balls, and usually it’s hard to tell whether the United players are diving or not anyway.

That’s another thing, diving. Avoiding the classic comparison with Tom Daley when taking a tumble, the Red Devils are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to diving. In the table of simulation bookings since 2008, Ashley Young and Javier Hernandez are in the top 5 and Adnan Januzaj is in third despite playing in his first Premier league season. Yes the United players are quite happy to gaily skip around the field until they see a 6ft 4’ bald-headed steam train charging at them to which they must jump out of the way. It’s not a bullet they’re dodging nor should they feel aggrieved to take the tackle, it’s a part of soccer after all.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the modern day flow and the skill it takes to be a footballer, the guile and creativity needed and the dedication to the cause. It entertains me each week but I can’t help thinking some of that passion, expressed through tackling, squaring up to each other and such, is diminishing and it’s largely due to the crippling claw of the modern day rulebook.

The Merseyside derby needs a harsh tackle or two to spruce it up and to send the fans into uproar, which in turn sparks gloating and a fast paced game. Then it becomes about heart. You start to feel the desire to win the game on both sides and the fans begin out-singing each other and watching the camera shake uncontrollably when either team scores, then to see the marauding fans leaving their seats and tumbling down the stairs in order to get a man hug from the goal-scorer. This is passion. This is heart in football. And it begins with loosening up the shackles a little bit.

You might be questioning me at this point; ‘why would you stand in the way of a 6ft 4’ steam train?’ It’s a cliché nowadays to say ‘that tackle would have been fine ten years ago.’ Ahh the bliss of ten years ago. The promise land of the past. The days when Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t exist to most of the world and a good-old-fashioned tackle was accepted no matter how strong as long as they won the ball. There was none of this tomfoolery about catching players on the follow-through. If you were in the way, that was your fault. These were the days of bludgeoning centre midfielders such as Roy Keane, Paul Scholes and the budding but brutal Lee Cattermole.

But I think you have to look further than ten years back, further than Alan Shearer and further than the Premier League’s birth, and further still back through Liverpool’s domination of England and Europe to the days of Bobby Charlton and co. These men were proper footballers. They didn’t so much glide as your modern day Oscar or Messi, but rather plodded around the pitch like elephants or an overweight toddler.

The reason I’ve taken you through the years is to sample the story of Bert Trautmann. The German goalkeeper was playing in the FA Cup of 1956 and broke his neck. Your modern day footballer would go kicking and screaming off the pitch, perhaps compared to the aforementioned toddlers when they aren’t allowed anymore cake, but not this guy. Despite having a broken neck, he carried on and fittingly saw his team win the game 3-1 albeit from a crooked angle.

I also cite the story of Terry Butcher, the England centre back who famously played on after smashing his head open and looked like someone out of a low-budget seventies horror film. In the modern game when a player gets the tiniest sprinkle of blood on the shirt, the type of stain that could be mistaken for splashing a bit of ketchup from the pre-match hot dog, he is made to change it. But not Butcher, he looked like he’d been shop bought as a prime cut of English beef and still with all that blood squirming around the packaging. Maybe today’s footballers should keep their bloodied shirts on. It might inspire some fight seen in our Celtic ancestors.

My point is: players these days are wimps and thespians. Nobody can take a tackle anymore nor take one then not make a meal of it or avoid having a good moan if they get substituted. A lot of this stems from footballers playing for the money and not for the love of the game. A lot of footballers have turned into divas who, of course, must be given the most special treatment available to any human being. And why shouldn’t they be like that. Some footballers have the luxury of sitting on the bench each week and watching a game but getting paid £50,000 for it.

It takes a true lover of football to want to play every game and maybe even take a pay cut to do so. Although this version of the passionate, loyal footballer remains, we are witnessing the beginning of the end of it. More and more players are moving clubs to have another few million in their bank each year and this is slowly sucking the heart out of football.

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11 Responses to Modern Footballers Are Divers, Wimps, Overpaid and Act Like Divas

  1. Kyle says:

    I remember when I was on board with what you were saying.

    That was until that entire last half of what you wrote completely ignores why soccer isn’t like that anymore. What happened to those players – and the countless others who suffered from being assaulted – after they got off the field?

    If players take advantage of a situation, that’s gamesmanship. If it’s too much, punish the offender in a way that isn’t barbaric (bans, etc.) which is where I think the game is going.

  2. Flyvanescence says:

    Wah crimea river. It dont bother me much

  3. Lee Allen says:

    Did he really say the merseyside derby needed a heard tackle or two? Mirallas basically took Suarez’s leg out…

  4. Pakapala says:

    This was comical until I got to that part:
    “I also cite the story of Terry Butcher, the England centre back who famously played on after smashing his head open and looked like someone out of a low-budget seventies horror film. In the modern game when a player gets the tiniest sprinkle of blood on the shirt, the type of stain that could be mistaken for splashing a bit of ketchup from the pre-match hot dog, he is made to change it. But not Butcher, he looked like he’d been shop bought as a prime cut of English beef and still with all that blood squirming around the packaging. Maybe today’s footballers should keep their bloodied shirts on. It might inspire some fight seen in our Celtic ancestors.”

    Then it became just plain disgusting and psycho piece. Of course, I am willing to give you the benefit of doubt and think that this was a piece that is supposed to be taken as a joke and that you really don’t believe that we should go back to the days of complete ignorance to the dangers of having a player running on the field covered with blood like Butcher was.

    The good old days? Really?

  5. Frill Artist says:

    Man United hater.

  6. insert name here says:

    mnn Paul Scholes couldnt tackle and ten years ago Lee Cattermole was 15. Jack Wilshere played with a broken bone in his foot last night and Cesc Fabregas played on with a fractured leg before and just recently Lloris played on after been knocked out cold. Also back in the day of “plodding” footballers there was a player just like Messi.. Ever heard of George Best??? Bueller Beuller !!!! Football is better now that defenders cant just injure the best players out of a game like Portugal did to Pele. Sure youll get some players who dive and milk it but that has always happened. It doesnt make all of them wimps, just the ones who dive. So not all modern day footballers are wimps, just like not all modern day journos are bellends (: !!… PS good to see the old comment system is back

  7. mark says:

    Well said. I love the game and new to it, but if there is one element to the game that bugs the hell out of me, it is diving. It is wrong and it is cheating-yes cheating, and you can not deny that. The cards should flow freely on this act and every ref in the stadium should be assisting one and another in penalizing these culprits.

  8. Dean Stell says:

    I’m of two minds on this…..

    On one hand, I want to not care how footballers behave. It doesn’t really affect me. Why should I care?

    But, on the other hand, I do see a lot of this falling down and acting hurt as just unmanly. I want to pull them aside and shake them, “Don’t you have any self-respect? Get up! The girls are laughing at you.” But, the problem is that the girls aren’t laughing at them because they have money. I’ve seen pictures of the WAGs and these non-masculine footballers are doing just fine.

    Most of us just never had the luxury of having money that trumped this sissy behavior.

    As for the violent play…..I’m not a fan of that. I like to see a game where strength and speed and aggression are valued as much as technique, but I don’t like it when player just kick each other.

  9. Dan says:

    Only United dives mate. We have skyrocketed in the diving table since Moyes got on board. Adnan Young Rooney are the only players in the side that dive on a consistent basis. What happened in 2011-2012 when Newcastle got the Penalty that never was and the game ended 1-1? You are a biased prick jealous of the fact that whatever small club you support will never have the amount of success that United has. I guess Hazard never dived in his life, what about the racist chipmunk Suarez? I’m not condoning their behaviour at all but why didn’t you mention the top Diving team? We are in the top 5 so what’s the purpose of singling us out? Pathetic man. I hate City Chelsea Liverpool etc. But one thing I have for them is respect. You are a bitter bitter man.

  10. tonyspeed says:

    Remember Eduardo. Nuff said.

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