Jokes Get Football into Bed with Bingo

Forget the stiff upper lip – a dry sense of humour is the key ingredient to defining the modern day Brit. Forums and feeds across the web are set alight with the arid musings of the Great British public, from unofficial fan pages to online bingo chat rooms. The modern day prima donnas may temporarily con the referee by rolling about like a villain in a 1950s western, but they will never escape the steely glint of the blogosphere.

Take the recent infidelity of two of football’s not-so-nice guys, Ashley Cole and John Terry. Front page news for weeks rather than days, it is hardly surprising that the public have taken it upon themselves to react in the only way they know how: by taking the proverbial Michael out of them.

On the pitch, John Terry has been booed for his involvement in the England football team’s nefarious shenanigans (and in a World Cup year, too), although by the end of their recent friendly match with Egypt the malevolence in the Wembley crowd appeared to have subsided. Obviously betrayal is fine as along as you can play football, while any negativity directed therein was due to his treatment of his teammate Wayne Bridge rather than his wife and children.

Cole, however, has not had the chance to earn his publicly hurled rotten tomatoes, being injured and so ruled out of England’s crucial damp squib. Still, his lack of presence (certainly not the first time that he has been accused of that) was not enough to save him from ridicule as some fans were photographed wearing t-shits, on which were emblazoned the words, “I haven’t slept with Ashley Cole”. The pictures turned up online in good time the following day, the only shame being that Cole himself probably does not know his blog from his elbow.

The erstwhile Mrs Cole has been in the firing line of the paparazzi, this time however, it was probably unwanted. She has been the subject of many a blog and message of support, with the online bingo community in particular proving that they, at least, can form the bastion of the public moral compass. One male bingo player comforted her in clearly the only way he knew how, by posting: “Get us a takeaway pizza we can enjoy together, and then come round to mine for dessert”. What a gent.

Sure, footballers as much as pop stars are human beings like everybody else, ergo they deserve the mockery that would accompany the average Joe when he turned up for work on Monday morning after achieving something completely ludicrous. After all, how often do we hear about footballers receiving a ribbing from their team mates over off-the-field activities? My recent favourite is from Burnley defender and Countdown champion Clark Carlisle, who gets the theme tune sung to him every time he receives the ball.

The bottom line is that as Brits we have a pedigree of dry humour. If the stars of today want to earn megabucks and keep their pictures in the press, they must learn to take the wit on the chin like everybody else.