Diving for glory. Is blaming foreigners jingoistic piffle, or sadly spot-on?

Tom Webb
Tom Webb

Salut! Sunderland has been banging on for years about diving, the feigning of injury, unprofessional attempts by players to get opponents booked or sent off and other forms of cheating. The issue is raised with every “Who are You?” interviewee and I can think of only one or two who said too much fuss was made of it.

But should we really accept that British players are largely blameless, or that they were until they caught the nasty habits of Johnny Foreigner?

Read moreDiving for glory. Is blaming foreigners jingoistic piffle, or sadly spot-on?

Save World Cup footballers from serious harm. Act now before it’s too late

Jake: 'Monsieur Salut's on the warpath'
Jake: ‘Monsieur Salut’s on the warpath’

Night after night from Brazil we see it, this alarming threat to footballers’ lives and limbs.

It starts innocuously enough with the flimsiest of contact from an opponent, or perhaps even none at all. But first appearance is so often deceptive. Once this contact, little or non-existent as it may be, has been made, the threat to personal safety is real.

Read moreSave World Cup footballers from serious harm. Act now before it’s too late

Newcastle’s Joey Barton, Arsenal’s Gervinho: a marriage made in heaven

It began as a question in our Who Are You? series of pre-match interviews with the fans of opposing clubs, about diving and other forms of cheating.

Then it became the Eduardo Question, in honour of the Brazilian-born Croatian player’s monumental contribution to the art, and finally the Walcott Question as a sincere tribute to Theo for his candid admission – coupled with an apology – that he had dived in an unsuccessful attempt to con a referee.

Read moreNewcastle’s Joey Barton, Arsenal’s Gervinho: a marriage made in heaven

France, Tunisia and a word in Fifa’s ear

paraguay1There will be a lot of random jottings here during the World Cup, given our declared support for Paraguay – not to the exclusion of a probably Bentless England, but in honour of Cristian Riveros, Paulo da Silva and those red and white stripes – and the haphazard nature of the Salut! Sunderland team of scribblers.

First thing first. In the long queue for the Uffizi museum in Florence, the faces of two Mexican students lit up when talk turned to football, and specifically to Sunderland.

Read moreFrance, Tunisia and a word in Fifa’s ear