With their steadfast refusal to shake hands after Arsenal’s 1-0 victory over Chelsea in the Community Shield on Sunday, the highly-successful managers proved one thing, they both think that they are above the game of soccer.
From day-one as footballers we are taught that after the game, regardless of the result, you shake hands with your opponents. Managers do likewise, but not these two.
Because they think they don’t need to. They both think that because they are so successful as managers and so rich because of their managing capabilities that they don’t need to be held to the same expectations as everyone else.
And that is where both Mourinho and Wenger are failing the game of soccer – big time. At a time when the sport is trying to snuff out racism and verbal assaults on referees, Mourinho and Wenger have to step up and take the higher ground on this one.
Sure it makes for great drama and it leaves us all wondering what will happen next but it is disrespectful to the game of soccer to ignore the other manager after the match and it sets an incredibly poor example for the whole world to take notice.
No matter what happens during a match, even if you kick another player until their ankles bleed, it is always customary to shake hands with them after the game. It’s a sign of mutual respect in the spirit of competition and whether you believe in it at that moment or not, you do it.
But not so with these two arrogant managers.
So what if their dislike for each other is legendary? They are not above the game and somebody from either club or both clubs needs to tell them that. They can hate each other as much as they want. I’m not saying they have to get along and do a “spa-day” together. But out of respect to the game of soccer, which includes billions of people around this world, they need to do what grown men do after games – win, lose or draw.
Shake hands and show the game of soccer that you respect it.
Mark Vincent Lincir is the author of A Soccer Life in Shorts.
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