Tuesday, February 14, 2012

He always shakes you by the hand...

No prizes for guessing what the theme of this post is but after this I will move away from the theme of football related issues, I promise!

This weekend saw the farce of Luis Suarez refusing to shake Patrice Evra’s hand, then Rio Ferdinand withdrawing his hand in retaliation, then Evra celebrating the win in Suarez’s face, then Ferguson labelling it a disgrace, then Dalglish’s outburst… The end result? Apologies all round and then we’ll do it all the next time they play each other.

In the last few months/years we have also had Wayne Bridge refusing to shake hands with John Terry, Raymond Domenech and Carlos Parreira and even the pre-match handshakes dispensed with altogether over fears that Anton Ferdinand would refuse to shake John Terry’s hand. 

Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay has followed Mark Hughes (amongst others) by this week saying that he thinks the ritual should be scrapped and I have to say that I agree with him. I wish I didn’t, but I do. As (IMHO) a respectable and polite man there is something almost British about the idea of shaking hands before a contest that I like, but in the cases above and indeed many others it seems to be just a charade. These people clearly don’t like each other, don’t respect each other and admittedly some have good reason for not wanting to shake hands with certain players, so why force them to? It’s only been in recent years that it’s been happening in more than the cup final and as Mackay said “It certainly never happened in my day”. 

In fairness, I don't remember this game!
Remembering football matches from when I was younger the captains would shake hands in the centre circle with the referee and each other at the coin toss and that was it. It’s generally accepted that the managers will shake hands at the final whistle, regardless of the result and Mackay suggests letting the players do that as well, if they so choose. Whenever I’ve played football I’ve shaken hands with ref’s, managers and opposition players with whom I have no problem (thankfully, the vast majority) but I’ve also refused to shake hands with those who seem to think that a handshake at the end papers over the transgressions of the previous 90 minutes.

It is, in my opinion, a shame that all players cannot respect and treat each other fairly, but if they can’t why force them into pretending? Surely that just cheapens the value of the genuine shake between men who have played well and enjoyed the contest?


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