Concerns that the positive sporting messages promoted by the London 2012 Olympics could adversely affect Premier League football were proved to be unfounded at the weekend as Chelsea and Manchester City played out a joyfully bad-tempered game in the traditional season opener.
The fans contributed hugely to the hostile atmosphere with their wonderfully abusive chanting, thereby setting the scene for the marvellously foul-strewn match which featured some glorious berating of the officials by both sets of players. Eight bookings and one sending-off provide an indication of the happy lack of sportsmanship on display.
Premier League spokesman Mike Lowe expressed his delight that football was back. ‘We’ve all been seriously worried about the friendliness and camaraderie amongst spectators, competitors and volunteers at the Olympics,’ he said. ‘But we were relieved to see prima-donna millionaires scythed down for being too flash, others feigning injury, a referee struggling to control the game and lots of controversy, all within an unpleasant, threatening environment. The Olympics just can’t compete with the beautiful game.’