No broadcaster worth his salt would compare a beaten footballer to a sick parrot these days, but the game remains as clichéd as ever. The funny old game with players who could turn on sixpences is gone, but a new breed of football clichés is emerging.
Games are no longer comprised of two halves; they now have turning points. These are particularly useful for beaten managers and presenters of TV highlights shows. The biggest turning points of all are those refereeing decisions that prevent turning points – the penalties not given and the corner kicks that should have been goal kicks. These are much sought-after luxuries for frustrated managers who want to deflect attention away from their players.
There is no greater time for clichés than the third round of the FA Cup. Although every game can be a cup final, the magic of the Cup peaks in January, when the builders and milkmen pit themselves against the multimillionaires of the Premier League. As lower league teams play a more agricultural style of football – all old-fashioned wing play rather than those newfangled inside-out wingers – they have to get among their opponents and get in their faces.
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