I have watched a helluva lot of football in my life. Not, I hasten to add through any choice of my own, more a bi-product of marriage and motherhood. During these matches I tend to amuse myself by making up words from the score thingy at the top of the screen, my son humours me and plays along and we text our findings to each other. My favourite to date is Arsoohul, bit childish I know. My son’s favourite is Woloowig which also works if Wigan are playing Wolves at home Wigoowol, although obviously this game only lasts until someone scores. Also, instead of choosing a ‘Man of the match’ I choose a ‘Name of the game’.

There have been a few corkers, including Pinas, Dickov and Goodwillie, oh how I entertain myself! As you can probably tell, despite watching many balls being kicked, I don’t really know very much about the beautiful game, but one thing that I can recognise for myself is the cheaty divey thing that now goes on. Even I can see that when a highly tuned athlete gets a wet slap from an equally highly tuned athlete there is no need for him to fly a whole foot in the air, unless the crowd are sneaking in spud guns that we don’t know about yet.

In my vast but very limited experience, I clearly remember when men were men and I can very quickly summon up that iconic image of Terry Butcher, all bloodied and bandaged within an inch of his life and refusing to come off. I have also watched some old 70s and 80s matches on ESPN and if you compare those players to today’s players……. Well you can’t. Those old players had way too much pride than to fall on the floor like a melting chocolate Diva or a fainting Walter Softie. You could probably have hit them with a truck and you would just have a dented truck on the pitch. So what has brought about this change in behaviour? Could it be that we have just allowed these hybrid fillies with their pampered natures to behave like woosies because there’s no longer any shame in it?

But who am I to comment, I’m just one of those women who makes up silly games and can’t get her head around the ‘If one player is in between the goal and another player’ nonsensical offside rule, but I do like a man to be a man, like the New Zealand All blacks for example.

It’s with this in mind that I have included a football poem that I wrote about my son (when he was younger) and his dad, who comes from an ‘old school’ mentality.

Win ‘em and wear ‘em

“Win ‘em and wear ‘em son”
Said me dad.
“We had far worse than that
When I was a lad.
We’d go out on that pitch all shiny and new
And by half time we’d be all black and blue.

Our captain would shout
“Get stuck in lads” so stuck in we got
And we never wore shin pads.
We had noses bloodied and ears cauliflowered
But we’d rather eat spinach
Than be branded a coward.

We wore our scars like medals we did.
Oh yes, it was different when I was a kid
We’d win it and wear it
And just grin and bear it
So get up now son, there’s a game to be won.
And if something falls off
just stick it back on.”