Ahhh, football. The beautiful game. Or, as Jimmy Greaves quite rightly (though quite obviously) said on a World of Sport, a game of two halves. Grandiose and almost balletic in its grace and physical dexterity. Perfection on a pitch. Ballet with a ball.
Well, not really. When all’s said and done, football is still one of the most over-rated, uninspiring and pointless games still to relentlessly dominate our time and our screens. Why people continue to get whipped up in to such a crazed, frothy-mouthed frenzy over a group of people who can barely spell their own name is beyond me.
It’s devotion, loyalty and patriotic, they holler from the stands. I’ve supported Bristol City all my life and I’m proud, they declare. I’ve got the T-shirt, badge and scarf, they proffer smugly.
Well, frankly it’s pathetic and I’ve just about had enough of it. You can keep your souvenir programme and season ticket.
Here are three good reasons why football is a game of fools, for fools.
OK, so let’s put this in to context. A nurse’s early salary is about £20,000, a teacher approximately £25,000, and a care worker roughly £16,000. And I think we’d all agree that those occupations are amongst the most difficult and often overlooked and underrated in the country.
So how can it possibly be justified when, for example, Wayne (Shrek) Rooney walks away with £12m or Cristiano Rinaldo pockets a staggering £22.9m. How is this possible and why on Earth is it allowed to continue? We’re not talking about people making groundbreaking medical discoveries, curing life-threatening illnesses or making any kind of useful, positive contribution to the world.
They’re kicking a ball around a big field; nothing more, nothing less. And don’t start griping to me about the hours of dedication is takes or the extraordinary level of skill it requires. Anyone of average weight, size, health and stamina could do exactly the same with little difficulty.
One of the most persistent and depressing facts about the supposed big and beautiful game is that much of the beauty continues to be tarnished by a bunch of lowlife, trouble-making, violent packrats masquerading as supporters. In reality, they’re not fans or supporters. They’re feckless and feral hooligans, using football as a smoke-screen to act out their own violent and criminal proclivities.
True, they’re not all like it and the genuine supporters tend to unfortunately get tarred with the same brush, but it’s an inescapable fact that to many, the word football conjures up an image of aggression, hostility and violence.
And this yob ethos isn’t just limited to the fans. Some of the players are pretty deft at throwing a punch, “accidentally” colliding with the opposition, and spitting racist abuse. It’s not big, it’s not clever, and it’s very often not pretty – on and off the pitch.
When I was young, the people I looked up to and inspired me came from literature, music, and art. I started playing the piano because the unstinting encouragement from my headmistress. My love of language and literature was nurtured by my English teacher.
In other words, my inspiration came from forward-thinking, artistic and creative sources. I wanted to do well, work hard, study, learn and educate myself because the role models of my formative years fostered and encouraged an appropriate platform to do it.
It’s a tragic fact that, along with pop star wannabes, perma-tanned prima donnas, empty-headed Geordie slappers, and mono-browed, grunting fashion icons, footballers are the role model of choice for many people. The money, the glamour, the lifestyle and the cloying desperation to be somebody, anybody takes precedence over personal integrity and hard work. Try? Pah! Don’t make me laugh. I just want to be famous. They want success without effort, celebrity without endeavour.
And though these football facts are enough to make you see red and hit the ceiling, light is always at the end of the tunnel – it’ll just take time, education, and perseverance to make people see sense.
Do you think football represents a lot of what is bad about this country?
- License: Creative Commons image source
Gavin Harvey is a fitness fanatic whose serious case of itchy feet has taken him all over the globe. His passion for football, however, has been dimmed recently with the bad press surrounding the once beautiful game. Here he blogs for Litecraft.