Disrespect. It’s the hottest new word in the sporting dictionary. Everywhere you look, people are taking offence at some perceived breach of etiquette, like we have suddenly been transported back to the days of a gentlemanly code of conduct. As if modern sport wasn’t pompous enough, the outbreak of the D word has ratcheted it up another level.
Everton accuse Manchester Utd of showing “disrespect” in their offer for Fellaini and Baines (translation: stick another £10m on it and they’re yours). Pardew slams Wenger for making a “disrespectful ” bid for Cabaye on the day of a game (translation: call me in the morning). Rodgers says Suarez shows a “disrespectful” lack of loyalty (translation: let’s see if the scumbag has a sliver of conscience left). Already 606 callers are bandying it around too, or at least the needy ones who try to talk like pundits.
Meanwhile at the Oval, Michael Vaughan accuses England’s players of showing “disrespect” by taking a pee on the pitch after the game (no word yet from the groundsman on that, but he is understood to agree). Stuart Broad hits back by saying those comments are “disrespectful”. Vaughan faints at this outrageous slur. This is all part of the disturbing wider trend of sportspeople taking themselves way too seriously, talking as if the responsibility for national security rests on their shoulders, rather than grown men kicking or hitting balls. Guys! Get over yourselves, or go off a fight a duel or something to satisfy your honour.
Arsene and Alan meet to settle their differences.