Sporting Schadenfreude

by Steve

Sunday was a good day for me.

Not because my team had won. They weren’t even playing, and probably wouldn’t have won even if they had been.

No, Sunday was a good day as Manchester United were knocked out of the FA Cup, 1-0 to Leeds United. This was a result to savour. Manchester United losing, not only to a team two divisions beneath them, but to one of their great historical and geographical rivals too. Wonderful.

Petty? Maybe, but then isn’t most sport pretty petty anyway?

This form of sporting Schadenfreude is not unusual. I’m sure many of us delight in the sporting misfortune of others. I have known football supporters who cannot just revel in their own team’s victory – for it to be a perfect day, all their rivals need to have lost too. Bizarrely, perhaps, there can be just as much joy in seeing another team’s failure as there is in seeing your own team’s success.

As a Liverpool supporter enduring a torrid season, I’m not proud, I’ll take what enjoyment I can get. As trophy after trophy slips away, I end up focusing more on hoping certain teams, such as the aforementioned Manchester United, will start to struggle too. As this season has seen all the ‘bigger’ sides be pretty inconsistent there has been more opportunities than normal for some Schadenfreude. Last season the top four sides lost 17 games in total between them. This season those same teams have already lost 19, with half a season still to go.

Sunday’s result saw yet another Alex Ferguson gripe about injury time, with him labelling the five minutes given as an ‘insult’. I’d suggest that was insulting itself, to the referee and to Leeds United. The arrogance is beyond belief, to essentially suggest that if one or two more minutes had been played Manchester United would have probably equalised. Ferguson should really look closer to home for the reason behind the defeat. His team lost because he picked the wrong side, not because the referee didn’t play a game of ‘next goal wins’. Yet, no sanctions will follow. Respect campaign? What Respect campaign?

Still, Ferguson’s rants do have one upside. Each time he complains about a lack of injury time, or indeed benefits from injury time given, more people visit here, and my post from earlier this year. So, thank you Alex, and thank you Google, for bringing me those people googling “fergusons injury time bitching” and “ferguson complains about injury time”. Much appreciated!