Sunday, April 17, 2011

A weekend without football - a happy weekend

Sometimes I can only wonder what a life without football would be like. I despair of the way it seems to transform rational people into ranting idiots at almost every level of life and in whatsoever way it touches people. From the touchlines at kids games, to the terraces at professional games, there is much to dislike. And at the moment, for obvious reasons, I don't feel it is the beautiful game at all. It is the ugly game. Vain, violent, dishonest, exploitative and massively disrespectful of the contribution of the people.

We have really enjoyed a weekend pretty much free of football. Sure, the boys who like it in our house kicked a ball around. And I did listen to the second half of City v United on BBC Radio Manchester and I did keep up to date with another abject Blackburn Rovers performance at Everton.

Do not misunderstand me. This is not because suddenly Rovers are fading. This has been a long time coming. Previous lapses in form by Rovers have edged me closer to more irrational symbolic displays of loyalty. I bought season ticket number 0001 for season 1979-1980 AFTER we were relegated. I went to pretty much every game in season 1983-84 - which was memorable for what, exactly? I had an appointment at a tattooist if we'd gone down in 2003. The disgraceful destruction of the club by the Venky's, Jerome Anderson and Steve Kean should harden my resolve, but it's me that has changed.

It's the contempt for supporters by the football authorities and players which leaves me thinking we are all being taken for mugs. Why were City playing United in a semi-final at Wembley? And why on earth couldn't Stoke and Bolton play somewhere roughly half way - like, er, Manchester? Why is it so expensive? Why is cheating and diving so routinely tolerated and encouraged by the managers and the media. And why has no-one been fingered yet for financial corruption?

No, on Saturday night, oblivious to who squared up to who on the Wembley pitch we sat down to watch Verdi's Otello at the Bridgewater Hall performed by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. Adoration from an audience, a peak performance by people at the very top of their game. Leadership. Passion. Charisma. I can't claim to have followed everything that was going on, but I felt part of something special. And at no point did I think - you lot are taking the piss out of me.

OK, so I'm thinking out loud. But this is a really important turning point in our lives and the lives of our children. There has to come a moment when you say, enough. That time is close. This may have been the first step on a long and slow walk away from football.


Scott Balling said...

If only the business of football was this honest.

Unknown said...

Great post mate. I'm beginning to feel the same myself. I'm sure some of the level of antagonism displayed by "football fans" at every level, can be traced back to the incredibly over the top coverage of football. It really isn't that important.

Anonymous said...

I reached a very similar conclusion in 2007 when the kick off times, glazers. players wages, Sky, automatic cup scheme, treated like cattle etc etc etc all became too much - my 15 minutes of fame: