Well over half a century ago I used to enjoy playing all the sports I could get my hands on and it was always a toss-up between football and cricket as to which one I enjoyed the most. In those days, the dividing line between the end of the cricket season and the start of football was very clear - I would have my last cricket game one Saturday and start the football season the next.
But in either sport I was - how shall I say? - undistinguished but in those days each game seemed, by and large, to be played in a kind of unspoken Corinthian spirit, where offence was rarely given or taken. And the memories of those rare occasions when I was guilty of sporting offence still trouble me to this day. And one incident in particular still refuses to go away.
Thanks to various transfer windows, the football teams I played for were reasonable enough and I spent the last few years of my dwindling `career` playing for the formidable Maidstone Dolphins in Division 3B (really Division 7) of the Maidstone and District Unsponsored Saturday League. One Saturday afternoon on the unhallowed turf of Mangravet Recreation Ground we played a team one of whose players had only one arm.
As a box-to-box midfield dynamo with a good engine and an eye for a pass, I came up against this player and in a brief fit of competitiveness I accidentally knocked him off the ball and he fell to the ground. The referee blew for a foul - the first and only time I can recall having committed such an offence - and I immediately apologised not only to my opponent but also to the referee. I genuinely felt awful about it and the incident affected me for the rest of the game. It`s not the sort of thing you forget and here I am over 50 years later going on about it.
God only knows how Sean Abbott must feel.