sport news MARTIN SAMUEL: Arise, Sir Gareth? Why do a stupid thing like that!

sport news MARTIN SAMUEL: Arise, Sir Gareth? Why do a stupid thing like that!
sport news MARTIN SAMUEL: Arise, Sir Gareth? Why do a stupid thing like that!

Tone deaf to the end, it is now being suggested this Government will make Gareth Southgate a knight for leading England to their first major final in 55 years.

Arise, Sir Gareth.

Now why would they want to do a stupid thing like that? We can guess, of course. It's the populist call. Boris Johnson was denied his photo-op with the team following the final defeat, so this would be the next best thing.

And, if offered, no doubt Southgate would accept because he's a patriotic soul, would feel genuinely honoured and because he would be aware of the fuss and backlash it would cause if he turned it down. 

Suggestions of Gareth Southgate receiving a knighthood are tone deaf and vainglorious

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Suggestions of Gareth Southgate receiving a knighthood are tone deaf and vainglorious

Yet would Southgate feel comfortable with this? Would he hell. Would he use it? Not a chance. Should it happen? Absolutely not.

There is a time for sporting knighthoods and it is not mid-career, where Southgate is now. Alf Ramsey won the World Cup in 1966 and was knighted in 1967. It was England's first major trophy, so the immediacy was forgivable.

The same happened to Sir Alex Ferguson in 1999 when he became the first manager to land the treble of Champions League, domestic title and FA Cup.

Southgate, by contrast, has not won a trophy. He has reached a semi-final and final, which is very good, but the journey is incomplete. He must hope his greatest achievement lies ahead.

He will be England's manager at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and maybe after that. If he is knighted now, what happens if he actually wins something? Why is there such clamour for instant gratification?

England manager Gareth Southgate kept his medal on in the aftermath of the ceremony

England manager Gareth Southgate kept his medal on in the aftermath of the ceremony

It does not come from the proposed recipient, we can be sure of that. Sir Andrew Murray did not want that title when he won at Wimbledon in 2013. He thought it was too early and would be an unnecessary burden as a competing athlete.

'Sir Andrew Murray to serve. . . Sir Andrew Murray is challenging the call.' It could be just another weight. Maybe he also suspected it could serve as motivation for his opponents. What better scalp at Wimbledon, after all, than Sir Andrew Murray, anointed by Her Majesty the Queen?

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And Murray deserved a knighthood given what he has done for British tennis. He was always going to accept, but said privately that he preferred to wait until his career had finished.

The honours system does not work like that, apparently. Turn one down, even for the most rational, sincere reasons, and there is no guarantee the offer ever comes again. And with politicians so anxious to attach sporting success to themselves and the public mood, that is why nobody has the patience to let a career end anymore. 

Sir Stirling Moss retired from racing in 1962 and was knighted 38 years later, yet nobody even waited to see if Sir Lewis Hamilton broke Michael Schumacher's record of seven drivers' championships before bestowing the same honour.

As for Murray, his official website suggests his opinions haven't changed greatly since 2013. Visitors to www.andymurray.com will not even find the title awarded in 2016 used on his profile page.

'Andy Murray is the 2012 US Open Champion, 2012 and 2016 reigning Olympic Singles Champion, the 2013 and 2016 Wimbledon Champion and was a member of the victorious Great Britain Davis Cup squad in 2015,' it begins. The profile is 286 words long. Nowhere does it mention his knighthood.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray receives his knighthood for services to tennis

Two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray receives his knighthood for services to tennis

Back to Southgate, who probably wonders if anyone in Government has listened to a word he has ever said, if this is up for discussion. The whole ethos of his regime is around team spirit and the collective. He takes the responsibility of being the leader, as he did immediately after the penalty shootout defeat. How does that square with Sir Gareth, England manager?

And having spent so long shedding an erroneous image as a Football Association 'Yes' man, why would he wish to be shackled again to the establishment?

There have been some fine words said about the national team and their manager. It would mean a lot more, however, if those in high places started thinking beyond the headlines and reflected glory, and considered what it was that made this team special. Vainglorious stunts have no place in Southgate's England. 

Egomaniac fans ruining it for the rest of us 

Most will have forgotten, given the many twists and turns that followed, but England were actually gaining a little momentum when a self-indulgent reality show boyband wannabe called Adam Harison ran on to the pitch on Sunday and held up play. It gave Italy time to regroup and recover. He must be so proud.

This year's Tour de France was placed in jeopardy and riders injured by a shallow egomaniac, holding up a facile sign and mugging for the cameras. Modern media have wrongly encouraged these clowns who only see events through the prism of self-projection and have no talent beyond a craven need for fame.

Beware the offside malgorithm  

Private Eye, the satirical magazine, runs a regular item called malgorithms, about misadventures in online advertising.

Algorithms linked to key words often decide what ads you see, leading to awkward juxtapositions.

For instance, a news story about a woman claiming to have given birth to 10 children in South Africa — she was later found to be lying and admitted into psychiatric care — triggered an ad for Durex condoms available on Amazon. So Arsene Wenger's pledge that FIFA will have automated offsides ready for the World Cup in 2022 doesn't entirely inspire confidence.

The artificial intelligence-based system uses automated ball detection, limb-tracking and algorithms to produce three-dimensional models of players' positions. Wenger believes this will reduce decision times greatly. And again we ask: what could possibly go wrong?

Arsene Wenger has pledged FIFA will have automated offsides ready for the World Cup in 2022

Arsene Wenger has pledged FIFA will have automated offsides ready for the World Cup in 2022

It'll be so hard for Kat to climb on the podium 

Katarina Johnson-Thompson has revealed her injury absence was due to a ruptured achilles tendon.

She says she is now fully fit and ready to contend for a medal in Tokyo. Finishing eighth of nine in a long jump event at Gateshead

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