For years now the most popular placard held up at a sporting venue has been the one that says, ‘Hello, Mum’. In every stadium, rest assured someone is waiting to hold it up for the cameras. Parent-pleasing is a spectator sport around the world.

Man’s desire to greet his mother from stadiums where football, tennis, cricket or hockey are being played seems to be as fundamental to him as many other natural urges. On one occasion, I saw the sign, ‘Hello, cameraman’s mother,’ a ploy to ensure the cameraman would pick it out.

But placards and banners are becoming passé. At the cricket World Cup in Australia, one spectator’s ‘Hello, Mum’ was flashed on his phone. It was one of those wide-screen affairs, the words were flashing in red all-caps and there was no bad spelling or dodgy handwriting. We have seen enough ‘Halo, mams’ to know that it is not always easy to get it right.

Doubtless this young man’s mother texted him back, ‘Hello, Son (hope you have clean underwear)’. Unfortunately this moving message was not picked up by a camera because she was in her kitchen planning dinner.

There is something pure about that ‘Hello, Mum’. It’s so different from ‘Hello, Dad’, for instance. The latter is usually followed by a request for money. When dads say ‘Hello, Son’, that is usually followed by a detail of a match in Wimbledon or at Lord’s, which he hopes his son didn’t miss. Mothers are more keen on ensuring that their child has no problem with the laundry. Or that they have eaten in the past few hours.

A recent decision by an anti-corruption official might, however, spell the death knell for the mother-son communication. Domestic cricketers in India are being barred from signing autographs at matches because this might lead to match-fixers getting their messages across to players. Doubtless, these worthies will soon decode messages in ‘Hello, Mum’. Of course, just because you are paranoid, doesn’t mean they are not after you. Different colours and different font sizes, even different kinds of wrong spellings might mean different things to different people.

The simple joy of ‘Hello, Mum’ is being tainted. I suspect many spectators go to matches just so they can say hello to their mums, and any ban on this might drastically reduce the numbers who actually pay to watch a game. Mums might protest, especially those for whom the ‘Hollow, Mom’ posters are the only messages they receive from their children.

Sport is incomplete without a ‘Hello, Mum’ – the least-analysed ingredient of sporting success.