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Bacon's Bites: Football's emotions make it king of sport

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino celebrates winning the UEFA Champions League semi-final over Ajax on Wednesday night Photo: PA

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino celebrates winning the UEFA Champions League semi-final over Ajax on Wednesday night Photo: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Mike Bacon looks back at an extraordinary footballing week

Hat-trick hero Lucas Moura celebrates after the final whistle in Amsterdam Photo: PAHat-trick hero Lucas Moura celebrates after the final whistle in Amsterdam Photo: PA

I'm not just a lover of football.

You know, the type of guy who can't see any further than their own blue/red/green or whatever colour their team plays in, tinted glasses.

A shrug of the shoulders if you mention rugby, a wave of the hand at tennis and a roll of the eyes at the mere mention of horse racing.

Sport is sport and we all have our favourites.

For me and my colleagues working in the sports department, although individually we major on certain sports, we have a general interest in many others.

But there is no getting away from it and as much as those who don't love it will moan about the saturation coverage - football is simply king.

I know straightaway some of you reading this will shake your heads. But come on.

Liverpool celebrate after the UEFA Champions League semi-final, second leg match at Anfield. Photo: PALiverpool celebrate after the UEFA Champions League semi-final, second leg match at Anfield. Photo: PA

What we have witnessed this week in the Champions' League and Europa League is not just extraordinary sport but extraordinary... Full stop!

And for once it is not just fans of the clubs involved who have been so entertained. But fans of football. Fans of all sport. Even people who have little interest in football have taken notice.

I am still at a loss to understand why football can have such an emotional hold over people. But it does.

When I was a youth coach at Woodbridge, I used to love watching my team play well, develop their football and ultimately go on to win games.

We loved playing as a team, we didn't care too much for losing. We loved winning.

It was a bond. We were a group.

I was never a youth coach who had to win at all costs. Goodness me I had more relegations in my nine years at the helm, than I ever had cup final wins or league title triumphs.

Leiston celebrate winning the Suffolk Premier Cup final on the same night Spurs were beating Ajax Picture: ROSS HALLSLeiston celebrate winning the Suffolk Premier Cup final on the same night Spurs were beating Ajax Picture: ROSS HALLS

But I cared not because the good days (of which there were plenty), always outdid the bad ones (of which there were more).

Suffolk FA are currently staging their county finals, many of them at Portman Road. For the winners it's more raw emotion, more celebration, more happiness.

Yes, I know you can get it in other sports, but football just seems to, I don't know - just have it.

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And of course the thing about football is that you don't have to be a good player to enjoy the emotion. Indeed fans get as much out of the game, if not more than players.

The Spurs and Liverpool games even made the national news headlines! That's how big football can be - and is.

Two Champions League semi-finals making national news headlines because of the drama in which they held us all captive.

As I said, luckily I enjoy other sports - give me a good speedway meeting any day of the week and I'm buzzing.

But I'm a realist.

And while speedway, cricket, darts, rugby and many other sports all have their thrilling moments, great dramas and fantastic memories, in the grand scheme of sport nothing can touch Planet Football.

Like it or not, it's king of the sports.

If you are a current or former youth football coach, then you will understand my next point.

How many foul throws have I got to witness in the upper echelons of professional football?

Ipswich Town Women celebrate their fifth successive Suffolk FA Women’s Cup at Portman Road this week. Picture: ROSS HALLSIpswich Town Women celebrate their fifth successive Suffolk FA Women’s Cup at Portman Road this week. Picture: ROSS HALLS

The Champions League, The Premier League, La Liga, players simply don't seem to know, or don't care, how to take a throw in - And worst of all, referees do nothing about it.

Yet incredibly up and down the country at a weekend, 12 and 13-year-olds (among others) will be hauled over the coals by refs for foul throws.

I remember it well.

Indeed I remember having a 'goal' chalked off in a game where we had come back from 0-3 down to make it 2-3, only to see our equaliser disallowed because one of our 13-year-olds committed a 'foul throw' in the build up! And yes we did flippin' well lose 2-3!

Hey, I've got nothing wrong with that.

If it's a foul throw, it's a foul throw.

But for goodenss sake refs start calling foul of professionals who continue to just drop the ball out of their hands, or overstep the white line while taking a throw. IT'S A FOUL THROW!

Why should they be immune from prosecution?

Too big time?

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