Dom Joly: Forget Chelsea, Mac is abuse king

Weird World of Sport: rom now on, games should be played with no officials present. It would be hilarious

Share
Related Topics

Regular readers will know I'm not a football fan. I did, however, manage to catch the spoilt histrionics of some of the Chelsea players after their draw with Barcelona. It was classic football cretin behaviour and it's one of the reasons I find the sport so offensive. What is the point of having a referee if they're allowed to be abused by morons in such a fashion? Clearly these overpaid hairdressers feel themselves to be so superior to the lowly officials that they can do what they want. Maybe we should call their bluff.

From now on, games should be played with no officials present. It would be hilarious – like allowing them to decorate their own houses without the aid of interior decorators. It would be glorious chaos – they would soon turn on each other demanding that their "people" officiate the match. Soon, each hairdresser would be surrounded by little entourages – squabbling and fighting with other entourages... it would be a smash hit. I'm probably letting my footballing prejudice cloud my judgement – if I'm being honest, I do enjoy a good bout of unsporting behaviour.

Ice hockey is, famously, a series of fights interrupted by a game. The sport itself is pretty dull, but when two lunkheads lock horns, down helmets and start going at each other – it's dynamite. Fighters (sorry players) are always allowed a good 30 seconds bash-time before the officials intervene. Meanwhile, vast swathes of Canadians, normally a passive people, scream "kill, maim, cripple, disfigure" while downing huge vats of Molson beer. I never miss a fight when I'm in Toronto.

I remember watching Wimbledon as a kid – my dad tut-tutting over John McEnroe's outbursts and applauding the ice-cool Bjorn Borg. To me, it was a microcosm of the punk-hippy situation. Borg was the hairy hippy firing off incredibly long guitar solos, while McEnroe was the punk pretender – short and spiky and full of gob. I would pretend to agree with my dad that McEnroe was awful while secretly being totally in awe of him.

He was a left-hander like myself. I could never tell my dad how much I liked McEnroe. I do think he probably guessed when I changed my service action to ape the complicated Mac serve. I would watch with hushed reverence as Mac the Mouth abused line judges, swore at the umpire and then, for a grand finale, demanded to see Alan Mills, the tournament referee.

After lengthy, hushed discussion into walkie-talkies Mills would eventually come on court. By now, Mac would be sitting in a huge sulk, like a big angry baby with no toys left in his pram. My dad would start making motions to turn the TV off in disgust. I would have to attempt to distract him by asking some technical question about foot-faults while keeping an eye on the action. Eventually Mac would be placated, return to the court and serve three aces in a row.

Years later I would meet McEnroe in Lake Louise in Western Canada. We were both at the same "celebrity winter sports" event. I approached him gingerly at the bar in the evening.

"Could I get a photograph with you, John?" This was a big deal for me – I've never asked anyone for a photo with them – it's so naff, but this was my childhood hero. "Fuck off," replied the Mac. I wandered off in delight – Mac the Mouth had told me to fuck off... Who said that you should never meet your heroes?

My dad and I never spoke about it but my admiration for Super Brat was to be the first of our subsequent great divides. He eventually went off tennis and retreated into the safer arms of cricket. Cricket rarely gets out of hand, although I can remember a fine bit of finger-pointing at a Pakistani umpire by Mike Gatting which my dad watched in abject horror. I think the Barmy Army were not to his liking either, but he realised that the world was changing.

Cricket could be livened up a bit by taking a leaf out of the ice hockey book. It might help sell the sport to North America. Just imagine a huge pitched fight in the centre of Lord's. Everyone would rush back from the bars to watch the action. Dickie Bird could be brought out of retirement and become a special "dispute" umpire. Forget Twenty20, this is surely the future. Greco-Roman cricket – you heard it here first.

The crazy tweets of Andy Murray...

I'm back on Andy Murray's Twitter list and just in time for hot news on the exciting world of tennis. "Where do you go with forfeits after someone's gone out for lunch with their clothes on back to front?" writes Murray. Where, indeed? More next week.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Labour's Jeremy Corbyn arrives to take part in a Labour party leadership final debate, at the Sage in Gateshead, England, Thursday, Sept. 3  

Jeremy Corbyn is here to stay and the Labour Party is never going to look the same again

Andrew Grice
Serena Williams  

As Stella Creasy and Serena Williams know, a woman's achievements are still judged on appearance

Holly Baxter
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones