The question of whether footballers taking the knee before games is causing ligament damage has already been raised in the Daily Sceptic by Dr. James Alexander. He wasn’t being serious, obviously, but I think he may have been on to something.
If you have read my Substack newsletter then you will know that I am a fan of Hull City and go to every home game. I have also been to a few away games.
Before the World Cup break, we rarely took the knee and when we did we struggled to put on a decent performance. In fact, we have not won at home since October 5th and taking the knee hasn’t helped. The only places where we picked up three points were at other grounds. This may be because, at those grounds, players aren’t allowed to make this gesture. For example, when we travelled to Rotherham on October 22nd, and were forbidden to take the knee, we were able to put four goals past them. Then we hosted Blackburn the following week, duly took the knee and lost 0-1. It was like I was watching two different teams, but the only difference was we took the knee before the game we lost – it was even the same set of players! After the defeat by Blackburn we have won zero out of six, at home, and won three out of five, on the road. We did take the knee at Wigan; however, it was the substitutions, who did not take the knee, who made the biggest impact.
We were 1-0 up and, just before half time, were forced to make a substitution as a player went down injured. The player we brought on was Tyler Smith, who hadn’t taken he knee. We conceded in the 63rd minute so we brought on Ryan Woods in the 68th minute and Ozan Tufan in the 75th minute, neither of whom had genuflected to the great God of anti-racism. And three minutes after Tufan was brought on we took the lead again. We then made a double substitution in the 83rd minute – more non-knee takers – and after two minutes Tyler Smith, who was the substitute before half time, scored to increase our lead. He then got another goal in the 91st minute. Admittedly, it was the knee-taking Pervis Estupinan, who started the game, who got the second goal. But it was a very poor shot and only ended up in the net after a deflection. So was Oscar’s poor shot due to ligament damage? That is the only thing I can think of because he is our top goal scorer and I have never seen him scruff up a shot in front of goal like that. Overall, It was the substitutes and Oscar’s deflected goal that got us the win. The other players who took the knee did bugger all.
Many other teams in our league have stopped letting the players take the knee – very sensibly, given its impact on players’ performances. It is time for Hull to do the same thing. I have no truck with this gesture, and it’s self-evidently just ineffective virtue-signalling. Even our own fans boo when we do it.
Jack Watson is a 14 year-old Hull City fan. You can subscribe to his Substack newsletter, Ten Foot Tigers, here.