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SCORE BLIMEY: The worst kind of defeat brings tears to the eyes

28 April, 2017 — By Richard Osley

Richard Osley

YOU may think it is about decking them out in a replica shirt, buying the programme, or shoving a £5 hot dog and a bucket of cola at them at half time, but that’s not the real job of a parent taking their kid to Wembley for the FA Cup semi-final.

No – you have one task, so commit this to memory for the future: if your team has lost in the heartache match one step from the final, get out of the stadium as fast as possible. Run, don’t look back, and at all costs don’t let your blubbing offspring get caught by the television cameras.

In the moment, and at such tender ages, they risk becoming the poster kids for failure, their tears magnified into mocking tweets and GIFs from other supporters sharing screen-grabs across the cruel world of social media.

Because that’s what people (not me, you) do these days. Ha, ha, fellow sadsacks on the internet, they say, look at the child who supports the team that I don’t follow, look at him crying. Each tear fills me with pride about the way I perfectly chose the right football team to support and they didn’t. Look, his face-paint is running. It’s so funny.

But, of course, it isn’t funny. The Monday morning playground convo for the victim: Saw you on TV on Saturday night, Bobby, BAWLING YOUR TINY EYES OUT.

There are plenty of grown up fans in the stadium who could be zeroed in on if the broadcasters really need to convey the emotion of a semi-final defeat, the worst kind of defeat, worse than losing in the final.

Kids are affected, scarred in a way that sometimes only appears in later life; those grown-up men and women who don’t invite their parents to their weddings, refusing to forgive them for the inheritance of a team which consistently under-achieves or chokes in the big matches. We should do something about it. Censorship would be bad, but let’s stop it at source, and possibly take the lead of progressive Tottenham Hotspur.

After all, the only believable explanation for that club’s repeat defeats in the semi final – as I said, the worst kind of defeat, worse than losing the final – must be a pact the club forged in fire in 1991. Then they will have seen Jimmy Wetcheeks, a young Arsenal fan, pictured sobbing at Wembley after the semi-final in which Gazza and Lineker won the day for Tottenham. History has shown how Spurs responded to this image with a resolve not to be the cause of such pain for the little ones again. So even when Tottenham look like they are about finally to win a semi-final – like on Saturday – the pact cuts in, they think of the children and someone will do something to prevent the tears. On this occasion, the blundering Son penalty tackle.

And, do you know, they’ve done this now, without fail, seven times in a row. What a noble and decent thing to do.

Thank you, Spurs, thank you.


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