To all those who are complaining after El Clásico – moralising about diving, saying the sides practise anti-football and particularly those “hoping United stuff Barça in the final” – listen to yourselves! You’d think you’d never seen rival sides contest an absolutely-must-win fixture before! Yes, there were unsavoury scenes, but more importantly it was an interesting match and continued an intriguing tactical narrative.
If you look at these recent Clásicos, a series of matches of strategic quality and ideological one-upmanship, and complain that they weren’t end-to-end, goalmouth scramble-packed and that Johnny Foreigner holds his face when someone blocks his run, then you’re not a football fan: you’re a television consumer. Your philosophy espouses entertainment over sporting quality and, as such, you have no right whatsoever to comment.
If you want to watch Stoke over Barça, fine. That’s your prerogative. Just remember that you’re choosing gratuitous entertainment over high-level sport and so can’t bitch and moan every two years when England go to tournaments as self-proclaimed favourites and come home empty-handed. It’s your fault.