Injury time

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The Independent Online

Has any sports player as much to teach us about the larger questions of life as the football goalkeeper? There he stands, alone, exposed, and playing by a set of rules different from those governing the rest of his side, who are ready to blame him, mercilessly, should anything go wrong. It is a position with which, at some time or other, we have all been only too familiar.

Has any sports player as much to teach us about the larger questions of life as the football goalkeeper? There he stands, alone, exposed, and playing by a set of rules different from those governing the rest of his side, who are ready to blame him, mercilessly, should anything go wrong. It is a position with which, at some time or other, we have all been only too familiar.

Goalkeepers are famously different. They even wear a different outfit. Mentally, they are thought to have a different wiring. One of them, Bert Trautmann, played a large part of an FA Cup final with a broken neck. Another, Albert Camus, dealt with the absurdity and meaningless of existence (he was also weak on crosses). Currently, we have David Seaman, who wears his hair in that ponytail.

But even goalkeepers should be protected against the more outrageous exigencies, which is why we applaud the decision to award damages to Andy Dibble, the former Welsh international, after he was scarred for life by a goal line containing hydrated lime. Camus would have approved, for, as he said, "I owe to football everything that I know about morality and the obligations of man."

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