TSK, tsk, what is the world coming to?
I was shocked - shocked, I tell you - to read in yesterday's Herald that those sensitive souls at BBC Alba felt obliged to delay broadcasting the weekend's Ross County-St Mirren football match in Dingwall until after the watershed because supporters could be heard swearing from the stands. The match, due to be transmitted at 5.30pm on Saturday, was not shown until 10.55pm, owing to a bonspiel of profanities.
This won't do, chaps. The game in Scotland needs all the positive exposure it can get, and even though the number of spectators at this match - 3394 - might well have outnumbered Alba's teatime audience, it is still an opportunity lost.
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Two solutions occur:
1. Alba could switch off their microphones, since hardly anyone listens to their commentary anyway;
2. Supporters could clean up their act when the cameras are around.
Many of the best terracing utterances do not involve expletives, anyway. Who could forget the Tartan Army's classic refrain from a World Cup qualifier against Italy: "Deep fry your pizzas, we're going to deep fry your pizzas..."?
Also on a culinary theme, you have got to love the ditty sung by Chelsea fans when Turkish club Galatasary visited: "You're shish, and you know you are!" There is also the sublime "All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful ... John Hartson ate them all." (You can, of course, substitute the name of any footballer perceived to be carrying an excess pound or two to suit your own purposes.)
If football is to get back to its early evening TV slot, though, fans should think about amending their favourite ripostes. Here, then, is a cut-out-and-keep list of useful translations for some of the most commonplace earthy utterances:
l My, you really are terrible at this ... but then I rather suspect you knew that, didn't you?
l It is difficult to comprehend the extent of your incompetence.
l It would seem, Mr Keegan (insert name of contemporaneous figure as desired) that your sexual activities do not involve the participation of a second party.
l It is common knowledge, Mr Referee, that your mother and father did not go through a formally recognised marriage ceremony.
I have to confess to a vested interest in all this. During my playing days, I couldn't successfully conduct a romantic assignation in a house of ill repute.