When children misbehave, most people blame the parents.
And perhaps rightly so.
But if that is the yardstick for judging ill-discipline, maybe the same should be applied to footballers and their managers.
Although it is likely most children are more mature and better behaved than a high percentage of Premier League ‘gaffers’ these days.
And we can hardly fairly criticise the young players when the example is being set from the touchline by red-faced, tonsil-exposed, screeching mad men.
There is not even the excuse of being caught up in the moment as most of their worst behaviour comes away from pitch side.
It was quite a sad state of affairs when a radio interview with Brendan Rodgers following Liverpool’s FA Cup exit to Arsenal last weekend is introduced by a newsreader suggesting he was being gracious in defeat.
Why should it be so unusual an occurrence that a manager saying ‘congratulations to them – they won the game’ requires highlighting.
It was a little disingenuous anyway because Rodgers also used the interview to heavily criticise the referee for a bad penalty decision – which, in fairness, it was – and by saying that the best team lost.
The habit of bosses being unable to speak without descending into name-calling is getting out of hand.
In the last few weeks David Moyes has described the performance of Howard Webb as ‘scandalous’, Manuel Pelligrini has accused an official of being ‘not impartial’ and of having ‘arranged’ the game and as for Jose Mourinho...
The ‘Special One’ obviously has a far greater impression of his own intelligence and importance than anyone else.
The playground-style nonsense he spouts is just embarrassing. He is not, as many claim, good for the game nor does he bring ‘colour’ to the Premier League.
To describe Arsene Wenger as a ‘specialist in failure’ is pathetic name calling and nothing else.
Added to which, does he really think it makes any difference?
Does he expect Wenger to go home and demolish a bottle of vodka while wailing “I’m a failure!” into the mirror?
I appreciate a manager’s lot is not an easy one these days.
The short-termism most chairman show is getting to the stage that if you concede an early goal you might not even be in charge for the second half.
Even relatively successful bosses have been dispatched with nonsensical haste – Steve Clarke and Michael Laudrup for two – so to exert an impression of being in control is necessary.
The revolving door process does them no favours and is harming the game.
I have even had to turn down a wedding invitation for the end of March because that is the week it is my turn to take charge of Fulham.
I might be looking at it from a horribly old-fashioned view.
Yet I would still maintain that keeping your dignity and acting with calmness and decorum is a better way of showing your strength than by belittling your rivals with cheap jibes.
I certainly would not be happy if I ever heard my children acting as badly.