Death of Din

It would be lovely to attend a top rugby match without wincing in pain at the noise assault. Perhaps a club could issue an experimental ban on the horrendous row that afflicts rugby stadiums under the guise of “entertainment”. I refer to screaming announcers who demand that you get behind your team-as if in 150 years of rugby no fan had ever worked out that that was what they were there to do.

Perhaps for a season an enlightened owner could allow the atmosphere in their stadium to grow organically-no ranting or raving,or ear-splitting noise. Crowds react to what is happening on the pitch. You connect with the crowd when it wants to be connected,not, when you order them to be.

And de-corporatise the whole thing.Twickenham may or may not be the worst, but here is one example of what I mean. England have an “official  anthem singer” in Laura Wright, and there she was on duty last week-end at the Ireland game.Laura is a gorgeous girl, she sings beautifully, and she comes out dressed for the summer in the middle of February.I hope she is being paid enough, but why does she have to be called “official anthem singer”? Can’t she just turn up and sing?

When the Barbour brigade’s biggest cheer is for an ex-footballer, things are not going well

A survey of English supermarkets once labelled the standard-issue Waitrose couple as “Rupert and Felicity” and their Lidl counterparts as “Wayne and Leanne”. The average Twickenham crowd at an England game tends to lend itself to the same brutally succinct social profiling. “Twickenham Man” might conveniently be caricatured by his fondness for waxed Barbour, his gently braying mother-country superiority , and his imperviousness to anything so vulgar as myopic tribalism.

But the accusation this autumn is that when it comes to public displays of raw emotion he is just a little sedate. For 40 minutes of England’s match against Australia he observed the disjointed spectacle with lethargy. The drubbing of Argentina seemed,briefly, to leave him more pleasantly soothed.Still the atmosphere was not exactly what you would call febrile. The greatest cheer of a turgid second half was reserved for the sight on the giant screen of David Beckham and his three sons. At least he had the grace to look self-conscious about drawing a lustier reception than England’s players, but there were few on-pitch marvels .

An afternoon at Twickenham for those other than Beckham can be a near-prohibitive expense when even modest seats are priced at £80.but then the Twickenham experience has also become alienatingly corporate in places. Even the message “Great Kick” imparted to Owen Farrell came courtesy of O2.

Somewhere in rugby’s recent revolution the suits have acquired primacy over the true supporters.