Nothing, and I mean nothing, infuriates Proper Football Men and your old dad Keith as much as diving.
Simulation, in reality, has pervaded football for years, a dark art that some of the finest players in the history of the beautiful game have called upon to wrangle victory from the jaws of defeat.
It’s never dignified, but manipulating the rulebook to earn a much-needed free kick on the edge of the box is a ruthlessly effective tactic, and as much a part of the sport as overly-elaborate goal celebrations, nutmegs and daredevil sweeper-keeping.
For those who principally see football as a form of entertainment, it can also be really, really funny, as we’ve argued before.
Keith loathes it, though, so we can only imagine what he’d make of goings on in last night’s match between Corinthians and Universidad de Chile, where even the ball boys were getting involved.
The visitors were trailing 1-0 when one of their players asked a man on the touchline – could have been a ball boy, could have just been a Corinthians fan who had wandered from the stands and saw a rare opportunity to have a tangible impact on the game – to toss him the ball. Instead, the trouble-making rogue dropped it at his feet. Petty. Lovely.
The Universidad de Chile number 18’s retaliation? A minor tap. A delicate, barely dismissive brush across his torso.
Then this happened:
Everything about this is amazing. The fact he’s an adult man, the incredulous overreaction to what can just about be described as physical contact, the pained clutch of the chest, the slow descent to the ground, his vanishing act behind the hoardings – the fact it all happened about three seconds later than it needed to to have any effect on the referee’s view of the incident. It’s so pointless. It’s solid gold. Rubbish, slapstick theatre of the highest order. It’s silent Shakespeare on a football pitch, but totally unconvincing.
Here’s to you, unapologetic Corinthians-loving shithouse. This was your moment in the spotlight, and you took it.