7 Reasons That It’s Right To Allow The Use Of the Elbow In Football
Great news, psychopaths. As of today, elbowing people in the head is now acceptable in football, thanks to referee Mark Clattenberg’s new and liberal interpretation of what constitutes acceptable behaviour on the field of play. We’d like to applaud Clattenberg for his bold and innovative stance and suggest that allowing the use of the elbow to the head will improve the game greatly. Here are seven reasons that it will.
1. There Will Be Less Emphasis Placed On Skill And Application. Let’s look at Carlos Tevez (not too closely though, you may want to sleep again). He’s an amazing, mesmeric player that simultaneously terrifies the opposing team’s defence, midfield, and young supporters in the stands. Most teams find him almost unplayable and it seems almost impossible for opposing managers to concoct a tactic to negate his influence on the game. With the new relaxation on the rules governing assault occasioning actual bodily harm on the football pitch, however, there’ll finally be a way to stop him. You can have as much talent as you like, you can’t play through concussion.
2. Or Maybe You Can. We’ll see way more incidents of concussion in the game now that players can cranially assault each other on the pitch. And concussion, in some cases might actually improve players. Who can forget what (then Partick Thistle manager) John Lambie said on being told that one of his strikers was concussed? He said, “That’s great, tell him he’s Pele and get him back on.” Obviously concussion won’t always lead to improvement; most of my team’s squad seem to have been concussed since December and we – if our home stadium was called the Paper Bag Arena – would be there today, still playing out our Christmas fixtures. Still, seeing them elbowed in the head would make me feel better about things so it’s still a win.
3. It’ll Be More Popular. Now that players can elbow each other in the chops football’s popularity could be further increased. Look at the rise in popularity of cage-fighting, a sport with a laissez-faire to the rules of etiquette. It’s growing far faster than its more traditional, staid and rule-bound cousin, boxing, and football attendance could increase similarly with the relaxation of the tiresome convention of not being allowed to inflict brain damage on your opponent with your elbow. It could bring some of the excitement that we associate with the gladiators of ancient Rome to the sport. In fact, I’ve seen Gladiator and it’ll be great: There’ll be blood; there’ll be whooshing and crunching noises; there’ll be names like Roonicus Maximus, Torresicus Uselecus, Carrollicus Howmuchicus and Coleicus Twaticus; there might be lions. How cool will that be?
4. It’s Civilising. Allowing the elbow may well actually make football more civilised. This might seem somewhat counter-intuitive, but it could work. Look at the touching way that Mark Clattenberg put his arm around Wayne Rooney after Saturday’s elbowing incident. It made a lovely change to see a player and a referee getting on so famously, because usually when players are interacting with the referee they’re barracking and abusing him*, so if allowing players to half-kill each other on the pitch brings more touching and harmonious moments like this it can only be a good thing: Practitioners of football will finally become the role-models that we always hoped they would be; setting a good example of decorous, respectful and appropriate behaviour for children. And they’ll get to see them belt the living shit out of each other too! Brilliant.
5. It Benefits The United Kingdom. Elbowing another person in the head is not merely the simple, uncomplicated act of thuggery that you might suppose, as there are some fundamental laws of physics that cannot be overcome. The act of elbowing someone in the head requires the elbower (or defendant, as non-F.A. types have traditionally referred to them) to be able to reach the elbowee(victim)’s head with their elbow. This means that Shaun Wright-Phillips (5’4”) would have little chance of elbowing Peter Crouch (9’3”) in the head. So taller players will have a natural advantage. And this, in international football, will benefit teams from the United Kingdom, as we’re the twenty-second tallest nation in the world (and Luxembourg, Iceland and Estonia are ahead of us on that list and we should be able to beat them using old-fashioned skill**). U.K. teams will, therefore, have a greater chance of winning the world cup than they do presently. So there you go, in the future, when elbowing opponents in the head is a legitimate tactic, England will be improved by not selecting Shaun Wright-Phillips. What a revelation.
6. It Uses Existing Skill. The new relaxation of the rules will tap into the existing skill-sets of football players and will allow them to practice on the field what they often practice as amateur-hobbyists off it. Assaulting people. And while it will be somewhat of a change from the traditional practice of punching people in nightclubs and takeaways – or shooting people at the training ground – it will be something that they won’t require too much additional training to adapt to. And it would make nightclubs safer places for the rest of us to conduct the activities traditionally associated with them. Mostly vomiting and being sexually/physically assaulted (delete as appropriate) by middle-aged men in short sleeved shirts.
7. It Puts Football Back At The Cutting Edge. By allowing elbowing, football is flying in the face of convention and bucking tradition. And, on a day when the sport is being overshadowed by a cricketer coming out and revealing that he is gay, it’s important that football is seen to be embracing new ideas. After all, cricket is merely blazing a trail today by embracing very old ideas, which means that – with its new attitude toward our silly, outdated notions of what constitutes assault – football is doing something far newer and more libertarian. So move over cricket, football is now the unparalleled bastion of cutting edge liberalism in sport. How truly enlightening.
*I would include female referees in this, but I quite fancy a career in radio.
**This may be fanciful.