Rugby league, rather unself-consciously, calls itself the Greatest Game. It’s a bold boast but one made with no little justification.
Think of the excitement, the skill and the courage of rugby league. Now compare that with the kind of “courage” regularly praised by footballers in the Premier League.
Tim Sherwood, the newly-appointed Tottenham manager, waxed lyrical last week about his star striker Emmanuel Adebayor, describing him as a “warrior” after he was stretchered off the pitch just five days earlier before recovering in time to play a crucial match for his club.
His injury? Cramp.
Leave aside the question of why a professional athlete, and presumably one who possesses some of self-respect, would allow himself to be carried off the pitch with cramp, and let’s look a Sherwood’s breezy analysis of the dangly-legged Tonga ace.
No-one’s expecting the immaculately-coiffured former Blackburn man to berate his player in public (that would be quite wrong) but why laud him for taking a couple of days to shake off a ‘condition’ which wouldn’t stop most able-bodied 79-year-old grannies for making a trip to the local shop.
Imagine, if you can, a rugby league player writhing around on the deck with cramp and refusing to leaving to leave the field of play without the help of those nice St John’s ambulance people. Nope, me neither...
Premier League football and the people who run it are increasingly turning to utterly bland management-speak when talking to the media and the public, presumably as a way of stripping any discernible meaning from what they are communicating and thus sheltering themselves and the fragile egos of their overpaid players from any criticism.
Football might be a beautiful game but at the moment, it certainly ain’t great.
g There must be something in the water here in St Helens that is helping to us turn out so may first class darts players. Stephen Bunting, who scooped the BDO World Championship on Sunday night, is the latest in a long line of top chuckers from these parts.
Various theories have been put forward. Some interesting, some plain daft.
But whatever the cause the town has plenty of reasons to be proud of its champion arrow exponents.
Long may it continue...