The fine art of simulation

It seems the football world is getting rather hot under the collar with the current spate of players indulging in a bit of simulation, in other words diving. Now you cannot fail to have seen the footage of the Eduardo penalty incident for Arsenal against Celtic last week, this has sparked the usual backpage controversy as pundits from all aspects of the media try to have their say without upsetting anyone from within the game, did he dive? Do we care? Or to be honest, would we care if our player dived for us?

Of course for all Merthyr fans of a certain generation this is a moot point because we have seen the greatest proponent of the fine art of simulation in the shape of Chris "The Legend" Williams. The Legend joined us from Bridgend Town I think and was an instant hit with the Penydarren Park faithful, a decent goalscorer who pitched in with a dozen or so goals a season but it was for the dark arts that he was most admired. And let no-one tell you different, it was an art form for Chrissie.

There's many a tale of a desperate Merthyr piling on the pressure for that late winner or equaliser but to no avail, the crowd are frantic, nothing seems to work, just think back to this weekend's match against Bedford as an example, but then a stoppage in play and a substitution, a roar from the crowd as Chrissie's perma-tanned shape sprints on to the pitch, the rest is in the hands of the match officials as at some point he will hit the deck in the area, it's a certainty, as certain as night follows day that we will have a penalty appeal and we'd usually get the verdict as he was surely the master at his dark craft, a little nudge past the defender and a twist and down he'd go, a whistle, the man in black pointing to the spot (or where it should be for the Theatre End) and celebrations amongst the Merthyr support and did we ever think it was wrong? Was there ever any guilt? You know the answer already, if its for your team its acceptable but if its the other team?

I was once at Portsmouth watching the Wolves lose again when Steve Claridge crashed to the ground with minimal contact and as the packed away end rose collectively to its feet to roar its disapproval I was the only left sitting in those damp seats with a wry smile as I remember back to Chrissie Williams. The fine art of simulation will never die but there's some who are craftsmen and some like Eduardo who are not.

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