Posted by Andy “Balls” Bell
I am sorry.
I am so sorry.
If you followed my beseeching and watched the World Cup Final you will very likely be a) disgusted, b) very disgusted or c) totally disgusted. You are not alone.
Let’s call a curvy piece of fruit a banana from the get go and tell it like it is. The Dutch (whose combination of physicality and ball skills had beguiled me up to now) were brutal beyond redemption.
They didn’t come to play. They came to niggle, assault and disable a Spanish team which has silky skills, but which is susceptible to its own emotions. They were mincing machines in moulded boots.
I promised a footballing feast. It was a lay down misere. It couldn’t fail.
But it did.
A blithering nincompoop of an English referee, Howard Webb, was as culpable as the Dutch. He was more worried about not sending players off, for the sake of the occasion and all the associated FIFA hangers-on, than allowing the game to be a game.
As the boots scythed in from the kick-off Howard Webb could have got it sorted. He should have called the two captains together after a quarter of an hour and told them that the next thuggish incident would be punished in the ultimate way.
Instead he blew the whistle, brandished the yellow card on more than a dozen occasions and only dismissed a player when he had absolutely no alternative.
That Spain won the Cup at least salvages something. But the image of football on the frontline – in places like Australia where it battles for attention – has taken “one hell of a beating”.
As has, no doubt, the spurious description of the sport as “the beautiful game”.
What should have been a celebration of soccer was a disturbing travesty.
It was like being at a child’s birthday party while the clown died as he blew up the balloons. In fact, the clown then fell into the cake. Heavily.
It was memorable, but only in a cold-sweat kind of way.
These proceedings are at an end.