I know this isn't exactly topical, with it all being finished last week (I've been a busy boy), but I'm glad the rugby world cup is over.
I know there's a lot of rugby fans out there. I can understand the appeal, it's a fast, violent sport, and I was pleased England got as far as they did (which pissed off my Scottish girlfriend. Sport's always good for rubbing the sweaty socks' noses in it) and was genuinely disappointed when they didn't win it.
What really pisses me off is the response to the tournament in the newspaper's letters pages that I've read in the last week. It's all been the same old "our football players could learn a lot from our rugby players" cobblers that was being spouted after the last rugby world cup. (These same letters pages were all saying the opposite at the beginning of the tournament, when England were playing shite.) Football , (or 'soccer' if you're from across the pond. I hate that term) is Britain's most popular sport. Always has been. Always will be. Rugby Union may be popular for the next fortnight or so, but it'll soon fade, just as it did four years ago, and that was when we actually won something!
I know a lot of Premier League players misbehave. I also know a lot more of them do loads of charity work and support a lot of schemes helping their clubs' local communities. I also know that, because of football's position as the number one sport, these players are under a lot more scrutiny than their egg-chucking counterparts, so any bad behaviour by a football player is going to turn up immediately in the papers. In fact, I seem to remember Lawrence Dallaglio making the papers for an alleged cocaine scandal, and Will Carling's various alleged trysts with women who weren't his wife, one of whom was the wife of the future king of England. (There goes the knighthood, eh, Will?) so, the paragons of virtues that are rugby union players aren't exactly that pearly white, are they?
And this is what pisses me off. All this moaning about our football players is just downright snobbery. Professional footballers are generally working class men who piss some people off because they make lots of money. (which is only right, in my opinion. I've never believed that footballers shouldn't make a lot of money. They are part of an entetainment industry, which in itself makes a lot of money. It's only right they should see some of the profits, as they're the ones punters are paying to see, and it is a very short career. I don't blame them for trying to make as much money as they can when they can. Hardly anyone moans about Tom Cruise making twenty million dollars a movie, which I think is more abhorrent. Have you seen Days Of Thunder?!)
Rugby players are, on the other hand, mostly middle-class. Until recently, they weren't even paid for playing rugger as they all had posh jobs like being accountants or quantity surveyors or company directors during the week. It seems to me that it's okay for rugby players to get pissed up (with members of the royal family, no less! I think I might join the army, if it's anything like Prince Harry's time in the forces, you get to get pissed as much as you like, go to swanky nightclubs and big sporting events all the time, and not actually do any fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan.), as it's just high spirits. If footballers do the same,(especially after losing an important match) it's another indictment of the sorry state of our national sport. It's just out-and-out snobbery and it shows that the class system is alive and well in our country, despite protestations to the contrary.
Right. I'm off to get pissed, now.