I do wish Sir Alex Ferguson exercise more common sense when making his comments, but yet again, it’s another example of the xenophobic belief held by English football and its press and media. Blame the “Dirty Foreigners”.
If diving is a foreign import, then way did was it always said that “Franny Lee always dived”, a footballer plying his trade in the English league in the 60’s and 70’s?
The common held belief that diving came with the foreign influx into the English leagues is fundamentally wrong. The influx of foreign players coincides with the creation of the premier league. With the premier league came more football coverage, more replays, more highlights, more analysis and more opinions. We saw British and foreign players dive, those dives replayed and analysed, and while the foreign player was vilified, the British player was pardoned by British ex-player pundits and press, blaming the foreigners for doing first.
The biggest divers in the league, we all know, are British players. We all know who they are. Diving does not come from “dirty foreigners” doing it first and hence why British players feel like they have to as well. No, diving comes from coaching and players development from an early age. While our foreign counterparts have been developing and coaching their kids to be comfortable with the ball, British coaches have prioritised winning over everything else, and diving or “going down easy” is part of that coaching.
This isn’t helped by the inconsistent refereeing, especially in top flight football, where decisions can cost clubs vast amount of money. Players a penalised for staying on their feet and as such, “going down easy” happens to ensure that you are given what you should get otherwise. When players do go down at the slightest touch, it doesn’t take much for said player to go down when there isn’t much of a touch and to become a dive. Again, it comes from coaching at an early age.