Now this is funny. Well it would be if Brian Mawhinney didn’t actually believe it might be a good idea. Ending all drawn league games in penalty shoot outs. I’m almost lost for words. Where to begin on this utter stupidity? I actually did check the date to make sure it wasn’t April 1st.
Apparently, because people find shoot-outs exciting, there should be millions of them because that would make every draw end in high tension. No, no and thrice no. Here’s why in a few ways that spring immediately to mind.
1) Shoot outs are only exciting for neutrals. For those supporters of the clubs involved, they are terrifying, gut-wrenching ordeals that we would not wish on Osama Bin Laden.
2) They are only exciting if there is something to lose. A semi-final is something to lose. Or a final. Here is drama, theatre and terror. Not getting your one point for a draw is not drama. it is barely a shrug of the shoulders.
3) If my team goes out of a cup competition on penalties, I am gutted. I have been there too many times and the hurt never lessens. Similarly if my team wins in such a way, the cascade of relief is one in which I gladly drown. It just about balances the appalling squeeze on my heart that has just preceded it. If, on the other hand, my team is denied a point and therefore stays 12th rather than reaching the heady heights of 11th, there is always next week. If my team is relegated as a result, then I predict a riot…
4) I can never understand this desperation to make something genuinely exciting into something that is not by making it all-pervading. Hang on, let’s have Christmas every day as Roy Wood suggested. Or maybe have a world cup every year (actually, it was once mooted that it should be every two years if I remember rightly). Please, Lord Mawhinney, try to comprehend that anticipation breeds excitement and mundanity kills it.
5) Shoot outs would not increase excitement in any case, merely give another bullet to those poorer sides who reckon they might be able to hang out for 90 minutes and then win on pens.
Next he’ll be wanting to cut out the middleman and ditch the preceding 90 mins entirely. Just think, you could have a whole league season in one afternoon at a big stadium filled with lots of nets, huddles of players and capering goalies. What fun.