Football is gone, and it’s never coming back

Football, as we knew it, is gone.

Our understanding of the game has changed beyond recognition, and as much as we long for a return to a bygone age; that will sadly forever remain a pipedream.

Our long wish to see terraces return at football matches won’t happen, or if it does it will be way beyond the time when anybody who remembers them actually cares about standing anymore.

Ticket prices will never drop down to an affordable level; and will just keep on rising. Your club stopped caring about you a long time ago, and if you aren’t going to pay it, then they’ll just charge more for your mate to go to cover the cost.

Player’s wages will never fall in line with reality, and it won’t be long until even the most average performers are on at least a hundred thousand pounds a week. In fact that’s already happening.

Managers will not be given time; they’ll continue to be sacked after a few defeats. We simply must stop being surprised by this news.

Your favourite player will leave the club you support. They won’t stay because you tweeted him to say you love him; he won’t come back because you tweeted him to say he’s a dick.

Fans will not become more rational. In fact they’ll probably just get more furiously myopic; and demand more for their money. They are less fans now, more customers, and the customer wants their money’s worth. Failure will not be tolerated quietly.

TV companies will continue to buy every scrap of football; and offer you the chance to pay a lot of money to watch it. Before too long the FA Cup will be via subscription only; and even the World and European Cups will be on BT vision.

Hull City will soon be Hull Tigers, and Cardiff City already plays in red. Your team will probably change their name to the Budweiser Angels or The Bay City Rollers, depending on the whims of a rich chairman. MK Dons won’t be the only team to up sticks and move to an area that is more profitable. Expect to see Portsmouth playing in Bridlington sometime soon.

Football became a business a long time ago, and long since past the point of no return. All that is still recognisable is twenty two men, kicking a ball about, on grass. As long as you still want to see that; then the rest probably doesn’t matter all that much.

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A Twitter free Saturday

I’m a twitter addict; and I really cannot deny that. Like many addictions though, you don’t always enjoy it, you do it because it’s become a habit.

So, with that in mind I decided this week to go “cold turkey” and so I deactivated my account, and deleted the app from my phone.

This isn’t intended as an attention seeking stunt, or a social experiment, I just needed a rest.

The downside to this form of social media is that you can be talking to hundreds of people you’ve never met everyday, but be ignoring those closest to you.

For my part, I feel that I’ve put so many limitations on my tweeting that I’m not just writing freely; I’m tailoring them to an audience.

It’s like a tweet written and checked by a committee. It’s lost any notion of what it would’ve been, that it’s now absolutely worthless,uber safe, drivel. “Don’t want to upset the 18-25 market with this tweet”

So, what impact would a twitter free Saturday have? Well, here are the facts: Huddersfield were on tv, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to watch live. So, I’d have to ignore the result all day.

Now with twitter this would be impossible. As I’m fully addicted I can’t resist checking, and it only takes a second to see “Town goal” or more often than not a page of “oh for fucks sake Gerrard” tweets.

Amazingly I managed to avoid the result with ease, and I was able to just sit and watch the game. I enjoyed it, and I didn’t bore anyone with my always inaccurate tactical analysis.

Another bonus, later in the day, was being able to watch Match of the Day without knowing a single result. Perhaps better still I didn’t know which goals to look out for, or which moments I needed to see.

Even more refreshing than a pint of water after a day in the sauna, was not having a long list of “Hansen been drinking” tweets, or the utter disbelief from some that the purposefully Everyman analysis isn’t up to the standards of a Jonathan Wilson book.

I like Match of the Day, and have no desire to see it become a tactical feast in which boring journalists in bad knitwear chin stroke & eulogise about the benefits of a back three. “And next: 25 minutes on the significance of passing stats”

And so, without the outpouring of fury that always occurs when football meets twitter, I definitely enjoyed my Saturday without social media.

I love the interaction on twitter, but a weekend without it was a breath of fresh air, and it made me question whether I really need to go back to it. Perhaps I just need to turn it off when the football is on.

Twitter, I love you, but maybe it’s time we saw other people. Do you have the number of Friends reunited?

Running before we can walk

I’ve spent most of the last few evenings watching Masterchef: the Professionals, and other than Greg Wallace’s big stupid face, one thing has stood out: that these chefs often aren’t much good. Now they’re supposed to be professionals; so why can’t they do things properly?

Now the main reason seems to be that these people seem to have bypassed a lot of training to just become a head chef. “I’m 14 & I’m good at cooking cheese on toast, and I’m now head chef at a gastro pub”

The standard from these young protégées is:
“Can you boil this egg for me?” “Boil is the one in the oven right, can I just make a sulphuric spittle looking foam instead?”

So, what’s my point? I probably don’t have one, but this appears to be a problem throughout football too. Players are promoted way beyond their capabilities way too soon.

How is it possible that players with a single trick can get by for a while, and even earn England caps before it dawns on anybody that they might be really good at step overs but they can’t pass? Surely actually developing players properly before giving them responsibility wouldn’t be a bad plan.

This isn’t a question of age, it’s purely a case of making sure that footballers actually have the skills they need to actually progress beyond being a flash in the pan.

Patience is not a bad thing, and actually making people work to a high standard before you promote them should be commended.

We are all looking to progress to greatness too quickly, and maybe slowing down to learn to do things properly will pay off in the long run.

Blogging: it still matters

I realised about a year ago that I wouldn’t be a journalist, and overtime I’ve become increasingly comfortable about that decision.

At the time I came to that quite painful realisation, I thought it was also time to give up writing altogether. Writing blogs, if it didn’t ultimately lead to journalism was to me like buying shopping and then throwing it in the bin: a worthless waste of time.

Now I see things differently, and actually think I’m pretty lucky. I’m not tied to deadlines, what I write isn’t edited, and nobody can accuse me of “lazy journalism” although the lazy part would certainly be apt.

My failure to get a nomination for a football blogging award did smart, but unlike many others I cannot claim to feel legitimately hard done to. I didn’t deserve to win, and I won’t, which is justice served. I’ll leave winning stuff to the genuinely talented or popular.

However, much as I thought it might, it didn’t kill my passion for blogging.

The freedom to write something uncensored and original is a source of great pleasure to me, and getting positive feedback from my small audience is still richly rewarding.

I might be bitter about not getting any readers anymore (I could post naked pictures of myself and be confident that nobody would see them, such is my shortage of readers), and I often lose faith in myself, but I very much think blogging is greatly needed.

Good bloggers are able to tell us stories others won’t touch and introduce concepts that are still hot and fresh.

It’s a great way for people who want to write to find a medium to express their voice, and for those skilled or lucky enough it offers a potential route into journalism.

It’s my intention now to promote good blogs, and more significantly good writers through a top 25 bloggers post. I’ll promote their blog and hopefully introduce readers to the best writers outside the mainstream.

As for me, I’ll write occasionally, I’ll throw hissy fits when nobody reads my posts, but I’ll do it for nothing more than love of writing