I have been given a highly secret document which emanated from one of the top soccer clubs in Europe.
It details the ten things that the club’s players have to learn how to do if they want to have successful careers and if they want to win trophies.
And here they are:
1 If you lose the ball as the result of a fair tackle by your opponent, fall to the ground holding your shin. Roll over once. It may not win you a free, but at least one of the commentators is likely to say: “There was some contact.”
2 If you are tackled and your opponent actually touches your foot with his foot while legally making the tackle, fall to the ground with a face contorted as if you are in agony. Roll over three times. There is a 50/50 chance of winning a free kick.
3. If you are actually fouled with a mild tap on the ankle, fall to the ground gripping whichever ankle it is handiest to grip. It doesn’t have to be the one “touched” by your opponent. Roll over four times while closing your eyes and opening your mouth as if you’re screaming. This will ensure not just a free kick for your team, but a fair to middling chance your opponent will be booked.
4 If you are tripped up and your opponent’s foot actually makes contact with your shin, fall to the ground screaming. Hold on to your knee or shin or some part of your leg tightly and roll around with your eyes closed. DO NOT OPEN YOUR EYES TO SEE WHAT IS GOING ON OR THE DRAMATIC EFFECT WILL BE LOST. This could result in a red card for your opponent.
5 If you foul an opponent, lie on the ground holding your knee and grimacing. It may save you from a booking.
6 If you accidentally put the ball too far ahead of you and an opponent nips in to get possession, dive. This involves not just throwing yourself to the ground like Tom Daley, but, on reaching the ground, grimacing etc (See above)
7 If an opponent’s hand comes within six inches of your head, collapse in a heap holding your head with both hands. Your opponent will get at least a yellow card as the commentators, once more, will say there “was contact.”
8 If an opponent’s hand actually touches your head, fall down, roll over SIX TIMES holding your hand over your eye and moan. Red card is odds on.
9 If you get into their penalty area but haven’t a snowball’s chance in hell of scoring, fall over. Even with VAR, there’s a fair chance you’ll get a penalty.
10 Learn how to say fuck off, you’re a stupid prick, that’s a load of bollox etc for when you challenge the referee on the rare occasions that none of the above works.