Magazine article The Spectator

Unwise Rulings

Magazine article The Spectator

Unwise Rulings

Article excerpt

Rougemont

Rob Hughes is among the most knowledgeable of football writers, and he called the free kick awarded to David Beckham 'dubious'. I am not as learned as Hughes, at least as far as football's concerned, ergo I shall call it an outrage. The Dutch referee, a jerk by the name of Dick Jol (he's a dick, alright), kept giving Beckham free kicks as if they were party favours on Christmas Eve at the local orphanage. After 93 minutes, in which a gallant Greek side showed the English to be strong and fast but totally lacking in talent, the dick called a foul on a Greek player whose only crime was to have judged a header better than the English oaf in front of him. Some victory.

So the 2-2 tie robbed my tiny country of a historic win, but at least our goals were worthy ones. In fact, both were brilliant, whereas England's goals came after nonexistent fouls. Our new German trainer had organised the team so they outplayed England. His task was made easier due to the lack of talent, creativity and imagination of the home side. I was very proud to be Greek last Saturday because they played the game the way it should be played, and but for that dick we would have had a famous victory. After the game the camera zoomed in on the 'fans'. Their beer-bellies hanging down, their shaved heads glistening with sweat and 'patriotic' fervour, their eyes those of satyromaniacal perverts: a less appealing bunch I have not met except outside Kabul United stadium during a public hanging.

But enough about football, a yobbish game more suited to Taleban tendencies than to sporting ones. St Tropez was wonderful, cool and full of beautiful classic sailing boats for the Voiles de St Tropez week. There is nothing quite like seeing the port full of classics, not a stinkpot in sight, a reminder of how wonderful life used to be before, say, the ghastly Beatles and Rolling Stones. (Perhaps this dates me a bit, but what the hell.) One night, while walking on the quai, I noticed a very good-looking young man, blond and bearded with very curly hair. He looked awfully familiar, so I approached him. `Oh, hi dad, what are you doing down here?' My son and heir was crewing on a Fife, the Nan, and was busy explaining to every old salt in sight the innermost secrets of sailing. …

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