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Feeling uplifted, secretary of state?

OPINION: Football is trundling along meaninglessly with fake fans and boring scores – it’s far from what Aston United fan Dominic Raab envisaged

09 July, 2020 — By Richard Osley

Dominic Raab and ‘the missus’ will have been enjoying the football

A COUPLE of weeks back, Dominic Raab, the UK’s first secretary of state, was asked whether he would consider “taking the knee” as Premier League footballers are doing before every match to highlight racial injustice.

“I’ve got to say on this taking the knee thing, which I don’t know, maybe it’s got a broader history, but it seems to be taken from the Game Of Thrones,” he said, before adding the classy one-liner: “I only take the knee for two people: the Queen and the missus when I asked her to marry me.”

Presumably, at first ask, “the missus” actually assumed that he was playing out some sort of Game of Thrones fantasy when he went down on one knee, but it would probably serve us well not to imagine the scene.

Worst still, a knee for the Queen? Someone’s got tickets on himself being knighted one day, hasn’t he? Arise, Sir Dunsen.

Anyway. Football? Oh yes, the reason I mention 🎵 Rhubarb Dominic Raab, say Rhu-barb Dominic Raab 🎵 is that back during the toughest lockdown, he said it would “lift the nation’s spirits” if the Premier League returned. Now the Premier League has returned, has it lifted Dominic’s spirits?

He looks like one of those guys who “doesn’t really have a team” but will say Aston United if pushed, so maybe it has, or maybe it hasn’t. But has it lifted yours?

When Eddie Nketiah was sent off on Tuesday evening, just three minutes after coming on as a substitute, I didn’t feel spirits had been lifted. Quite the opposite.

Has it lifted the spirits of our Spurs friends? As they slowly sink into new lives trying to find some way to love Jose Mourinho, are spirits really lifted by the grinding 1-0 wins?

Liverpool fans: they must have had their spirits lifted? But imagine winning the league title after waiting for 30 years and being asked to celebrate at home.

Sensible, crucial advice in a pandemic of course. But winning isn’t about just smiling at a TV when a pundit says your team has been absolutely world class this year, Gary; it’s about dancing in the streets till the sun comes up.

Of course, lots of Liverpool fans did that anyway, but who wants to wake up from the party with the ultimate downer: a warning that you drank too much Skol and might be spreading the coronavirus.

And all the time we can see where we want to be, but can’t get there: your spot in the stadium has been replaced by a giant flag. What’s more the TV companies are actively trying to impersonate you with some fake crowd noise.

Look, but don’t touch. That’s not uplifting, it’s dispiriting. The sport we loved trundling along meaninglessly with fake fans and boring scores.

Tell me it won’t always be like this.

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