Someone once described my articles on this site as ‘cultured’. Well, not today.
If you’re not comfortable with swearing and the less refined side of human nature, look away now.
Still with me, eh? Very good. Some of today’s thoughts were prompted by a new set of guidelines issued by the broadcasting regulator Ofcom, in particular around the use of swear words.
After careful consideration and long discussion, no doubt – which must have been interesting for the assistants bringing occasional tea and coffee into the meeting – they’ve divided swear words and phrases into four levels of offensiveness.
The first category comprises mild words such as ‘bloody’ and ‘bugger’ (interestingly, ‘ginger’ also falls into that group). I had a momentary thought whether Craig Revel Horwood might be involved in the process when I saw ‘Balls’ in the second category; ‘bollocks’ is (are?) also there.
The third and fourth categories are stronger, of course. Respecting the delicate sensibilities of MFW readers, I won’t spell them out; you can imagine.
Now, I’m not a habitual swearer. Not that I disapprove – I just subscribe to the old school view that it loses its effect if you do it all the time. But the Ofcom list made me aware that I use most of the words at some point, and that I reserve different categories for different situations.
The first two levels are probably more common in my speech than I appreciate. Regular events such as forgetting the milk that’s been on the doorstep all day, or receiving one of those notes that a package couldn’t be delivered – yes, clearly Category 1 or 2.
Category 3 is mainly reserved for DIY, the golf course and listening to Canarycall.
As for Level 4, that’s strictly for Liverpool (h) or Newcastle (a).
Speaking of Newcastle – it was our 10th league game, the earliest point at which I said it would be legitimate to make judgements on the 2016-17 Canaries. So where – apart from the obvious of being in the top two – do we stand?
Not for the first time, the most pertinent comments have probably come from Alex Neil.
On opening day he said we’d cause opponents a lot of problems. The constant question from fans during the transfer window – “where will the goals come from?” – has been emphatically answered with 21 in the first 11 games.
Of course, everyone’s nerves would be less frayed if we stopped causing problems for ourselves too. In part, that’s the flipside of our positive approach and players. Ivo Pinto is wonderful going forward, but Wolves’ equalizer served to remind us that he’s not a perfect defender.
Having said that, a priority for the training ground will surely be to tighten up our organisation at the back. We’ve conceded too many for comfort, and our ambitions for automatic promotion will be tough to realize unless we reduce the current rate of goals against.
Much as I admire the quality of writers on this site (present company excepted, of course), one of the best summaries came in a recent comment from a reader. ‘ncfcpaul‘ said: “Last year we looked like a very good Championship side. This year we still do”.
We undoubtedly have a strong squad for this division, in some areas very strong indeed. Anyone who can rest Jonny Howson and keep Alex Pritchard in reserve has rather impressive midfield options. For me, the revelation of the past month has been the obviously committed and excellent Graham Dorrans.
Regular readers will know that I’m a (mostly retired) pollster. Without drifting into the murky waters of politics this time, I always look with interest at online polls of football fans.
If you want to predict how they’ll turn out, I have a hint. Whenever fans are asked to nominate the greatest or most calamitous things in their clubs’ history, they’ll tend to pick something current or recent. The ‘greatest ever’ Man U team will include Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney rather than Bobby Charlton and Denis Law.
It didn’t surprise me, therefore, to see the defeat at Newcastle identified by City fans as worse than the home loss to Liverpool last season.
I’d contend there’s little logic to that choice. Liverpool was at the end of January, with every point precious and home games starting to run out; losing from 3-1 up was a disaster. Newcastle was certainly a Level 4 swearing occasion, but it was the 10th match of a 46-game season with every chance to bounce back (as indeed we did at Wolves).
On a serious note, it has to be said that there’s an exception to the ‘something current’ rule. For one or two clubs, the present compares so unfavourably with the past that their fans can only hark back to old glories. Very sad.
Aston Villa and Ipswich spring to mind. Those are the two big examples, I think.
But I wouldn’t swear to it.