Talking Point: Time to ditch the handshakes
Co-editor chrisgwfc kicks off a brand new feature today here on Vital Watford, taking a look at a current issue surrounding the wider footballing world. Today he examines the ongoing farce of the pre-match handshake.After the events of the weekend with the 'will they, wont they` handshake taking place at Loftus Road between Anton Ferdinand and John Terry, I felt this would be the ideal place to start our series of general football discussions here on Vital Watford.
The pre-match handshake between teams was brought into to English football as part of a rule coming across Europe designed for the players to show a mark of respect to each other before as well as after the game.
Since it was brought in there have been a few high profile cases of players not shaking hands and 'breaking` the pre match code. Most notable Wayne Bridge snubbed John Terry in 2010 after Terry had slept with Bridge`s wife, Terry and Ferdinand have had issues since the race issue that took place last October at Loftus Road, and Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra also didn`t shake hands after their issue regarding race which took place at Anfield last October.
The question in my book, is whether a few incidents of high profile snubbing by some players should mean scrapping a handshake that thousands have respected since it was brought in, despite probably not liking some of the people they have shaken hands with!
Like most people, I`m not a massive fan of the pre-match handshake. I feel as though you lose the momentum of a game when players just walk out and line-up before shaking hands.
Previously it would get the adrenaline pumping as a fan and I`m sure between the players to see your team run out of the tunnel straight onto the pitch. Where once the teams coming onto the pitch gave supporters a 'buzz` for the coming ninety minutes, now it only provides an opportunity for hostility.
Despite the thousands of handshakes between players over the years it has become in the last year especially, an opportunity for players to show their dislike for each other rather than a grand gesture of sportsmanship. As long as the players in question refuse to shake hands before or after a game the incidents in which they were associated will never be resolved. In fact fans' response to the players will simply become ever more hostile and tribal as the issue continues to remain unresolved.
Despite this though, I was still undecided on whether I wanted the handshake scrapped or not. The question is whether a few people`s snubbing of each other during the pre-match handshake overshadow everyone else who has respected what it was brought in for. Surely, if the media didn`t want to talk about players not shaking hands then they don`t have to. An example being Colin Murray on Match of the Day 2 last Sunday claiming "Nobody wants to talk about this, I`m sure everyone is fed up of it," before launching into a conversation about it.
If the media and newspaper writers made a concerted effort not to make such a deal out of the handshake and instead focus on the game surely the issue would be significantly less dramatic than it appears right now.
There is however, one example that stands out for me as the tipping point regarding whether the handshake still has a place before a match of Premier League football.
This coming weekend sees Manchester Utd travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool. In the wake of the shocking Hillsborough report which came out last week there has been a big push by both clubs to stamp out the sick chants between supporters over each clubs tragic history. And whilst the game and pre-match should focus on commemorating those who perished at Hillsborough and creating a fitting tribute similar to the one seen at Goodison Park on Monday night, what the pre-match will actually focus on is whether Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra will shake hands.
For me, there is no better contrast of events for showing a reason why the handshake should be scrapped, than it taking the focus on Sunday off a tribute for fans who died in the Hillsborough tragedy. Agree/disagree? What point does the handshake actually serve? Let us know by commenting below!