D is for diving…
Diving: the ultimate scourge of the world’s most popular game or a necessary evil for keeping the leg breakers at bay?
It certainly isn’t the foreign muck practise that some parts of the media paint it to be. British players have been taking one for the team, going down easy or simulating a foul, for as long as football’s been competitive.
Franny Lee was a notorious diver back in his day, and while the Manchester City player’s tendency to fall over in the area may not have always been an act of self preservation, maybe it’s a trick he picked up running away from the likes of Norman Hunter.
Yet there is definitely a sense that diving is becoming a bigger problem that football has to deal with or else, from those sensitive to such things. Offside’s photographers have certainly caught more than a few dodgy acts of simulation on film in recent years.
There is of course another type of diving which is far more admirable: the dives made by goalkeepers to make a spectacular save or the last-ditch leap by an outfield player to win the ball or block a chance.
Even up front, the sight of a striker theatrically stretching every last inch of their body to get on the end of a ball is as heroic as any found on a football pitch.
Maybe the two types of diving could be considered as the polar opposite of each other? One is the lowest ebb of dishonesty within the game while the other is the epitome of the athleticism required to produce moments that are truly great.
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