My daughter the footballer

After an almost impossible first night in a hotel with our three-month-old daughter I reassure my wife ‘we’ll get through this. We’re a team’. This analogy only goes so far, however, as one of the team members has no idea she’s part of a squad of players sharing a common objective. For one thing, she doesn’t respond to hand signals and whistles from the touchline and doesn’t even seem able to identify or even see the other players. She also, rather like certain actual footballers, responds to any potential slight, no matter how minor, as though she’s being tortured, and is in the unfortunate habit of screaming to the point of losing her voice when decisions don’t go her way. Also, unlike most professional sports people with a couple of unfortunate exceptions, she appears to exercise no control whatsoever over her bowel functions and will quite happily play on as though she did not have excrement visibly trickling down her legs. Then there’s the fact that at the end of the match she simply refuses to leave the pitch, insisting on staying in the centre circle proudly surveying the increasingly frustrated crowd despite how appallingly she’s perfomed. When she is finally persuaded to go to the changing room she embarrasses herself even more with her appetite for endless amounts of seemingly intoxicating liquid. She also has her equivalents of Jimmy ‘Five Bellies’ Gardner, although in her case the badboy mates who egg her on to even greater heights of excitability and subsequent disgrace go by the names of Mr Gweenewy and Comfy Wabbit. If you add in the fact that, as we’ve now discovered, her behaviour in hotels would shame even a Sheffield United striker, it’s pretty clear that although she may in some ways always be a valuable member of the squad, it’s certainly not her team-playing abilities that make her so. The whole thing makes me feel the deepest sympathy for David Moyes. At least given that she lives in Rome and has a British passport, we might be able to get a few quid for her out of Lazio. She could yet turn out to be the female equivalent of Ravel Morrison.

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