Try mutual respect, rather than instant indignation

Posted by Simon Curtis

Ranting and raving is a pastime that befits some professions and looks ugly in others, it seems. Football people, be they players, managers, or spectators are often portrayed in full theatrical flow. It adds to the spectacle and is half expected by the paying customers. Wearing your passion on your sleeve is part of the package you buy into. Football managers, charged with the weighty responsibility of lifting a whole city by imbuing in the team a spring of step that will take it joyfully past all of its opponents, are it seems especially prone to these moments of loose-lipped abandon, of red-faced glaring and bug-eyed provocation. Impotently, they crouch there in their little demarcated zones of freshly trodden grass, as all before them turns to dust.

That Newcastle's Alan Pardew chose to highlight Manuel Pellegrini's age in his own moment of tete perdu was bordering on the insane. That he enfolded his indelicate words with some of the worst obscenities known to the English language is an unfortunate sign of our times. Language which once upon a time would have made a rugby club night-out blanche, is now swapped between the sexes over the pub dining table. Pellegrini comes from an era -- and a culture no doubt -- where this kind of agricultural spectacle would have been frowned upon, but -- once his ears have stopped ringing -- he will no doubt have learnt a valuable lesson on Tyneside this weekend.

- Mooney: Backlash costs Man City
- Pardew escapes action after ref rant
- Pardew sorry for Pellegrini rage

Pardew, of course, is not alone in his use of miserable sleazy language. He is not even alone within the ranks of his Newcastle colleagues. Witness the quite exhilarating flow of obscenities that flowed from Joe Kinnear when he met the press pack for a brief verbal exchange of opinions in 2008. If that was a sea of bad language amongst an afternoon of slightly surreal anger, Pardew at least had the excuse of major stress-related provocation in his case. Despite our horror at behaviour of this ilk, the question begs to be asked, is all of this not wholly predictable in these modern footballing days where everything from a corner to a failed transfer bid is supposed to leave us all dangling between vexed ire and apoplexy?

The images of neck muscles bulging and prominent veins leaping in the temples as yet another corner sails into the crowd or a free kick is ballooned into the top of the wall brings its own rewards. We are all living in a football world of instant boil-in-the-bag anger. Football people have always been pictured as something hovering between obsessive and delusional, mentally maladjusted and veering towards the delinquent, but now we live in a Premier League where anger is instant, deep and heartfelt.

With Pardew setting an unmistakeable yardstick for all would-be foulmouths, the follow-up came swiftly and irrevocably with a war of words on the internet boards and chatrooms, where Gutted of Gateshead met finger to finger with Horrified of Horwich to air their thoughts on any number of scurrilous carrying-ons in the Newcastle versus Man City game, with the inevitable outcome being a steady drift towards the ills of "Financial Doping", inexplicable refereeing, unpunished fouling, the wearing of jester hats and the untimely end met by Kim Jong Un's wayward uncle. Nothing, it seems, is out of reach when the temperature starts to rise.

We live in dangerously heated times. Everything, absolutely everything, is coming nicely to the full bubble. Football and its extended family of sponsors have of course helped bring this wonderfully visual and, in Pardew's case audible, passion to households across the planet. We see the images everywhere. This, we are told, is what makes the English Premier League, the vibrant spectacle that attracts the world's attention. Those rows of fizzing fans fit to pop, the colour and the smell of all that hormone-laden activity.

Maybe on occasion, we should just count to ten before allowing those exploding temples to get the better of us. Maybe, just once in a while, we should try to swap the instant indignation with a little reserved mutual respect. We could even start the ball rolling right here, by stating that Newcastle United, backed by their admirably loud and indeed passionate fans and set up intelligently by their urbane, erudite and articulate manager Pardew, took City right to the line and, on another day, could have seen their efforts yield a point.

There that didn't feel too bad, although I now steel myself for the inevitable wall of abuse my attempt at entente cordiale will attract.


Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.