‘I’m a dad twice over ‘ and I scored a goal today!’

You hear the argument sometimes (probably a lot more in a week when sportsfolk graduate to the front of the red tops) that what goes on off the pitch is ‘Nothing to do with football’ (or whatever). This is plainly nonsense ‘ footballers can no more firewall off their lives from their jobs than anyone else, and the assumption that anyone should is very dodgy ‘ but it’s nonsense with purpose: fans don’t want moralists and pundits getting any more unearned purchase in the world than they already have. The term ‘role model’ gathers about it even more dodgy assumptions.

But let’s take the fanview purely on its own terms: assuming the ‘quality of the game’ is the highest object (as an aesthetic line, it’s solid down-the-line Arts&Crafts/Modernist morality-in-technicity hurrah), what kinds of social and sex and private lives should players have? Old-skool analysis argues thus: loyalty to spouse and kids = loyalty to locale and team-mates. But this bears little relationship to the modern game, where players may trade up to a new club and play their old team and old locale the following week. Pathological compensatory unhappy trophy-bird promiscuity is hard to defend, but only bcz I loaded all six sides of the dice: being able intelligently, wisely, justly and imaginatively to negotiate the dilemmas of mutiple partners over time (and complicated sets of offspring thereto) is plainly a skill worth having. (Though more a ‘gay’ skill than a straight, possibly, currently?) (haha polyamory…) Being able to care and not to care: to commit and detach: to share and to focus: the most important family-value skill anyone can learn is triage, and that has uses on-pitch also.

Besides, all sport is just a method whereby blokes discover novels ways of touching each other…

(On a last-night’s-ep tip: YAY the idea of GHOSTWORK in ‘REALISTIC’ DRAMA!!)