On being tired of football
I’ve found it hard to write this editorial, and I think it’s ultimately because I’m so tired.
I’m physically tired because, as I write this sentence, it’s 1:40am Wednesday morning and this isn’t even the last thing I have to do for the fanzine before sending it to the printers, only after which can I go to bed. Ready to get up for work at 7am.
But I think I’m also tired of football. Maybe, and hopefully, not the actual game, but I’m tired of so many aspects of it.
I’m tired of football’s increasing omnipresence; why do Manchester United need an official tyre partner in Indonesia? Why do Liverpool need an official skincare partner, when surely a decent centre half would be of more use to them?
I’m tired of leagues spending so much time rebranding themselves; as if it was the name of the competition stopping the people of Essex turning up in their hordes for Braintree Town against Gateshead. I’m tired of the Premier League’s rebrand and it only happened yesterday. I’m tired of marketing bollocks like this; ‘The identity is a huge tonal shift from buttoned up, shirt and tie, formal, reserved… to warm, human, approachable and informal.’ for what is just a f***ing logo for a football league, not a politician’s futile image makeover.
I’m tired of football’s inflated sense of self-importance and finances that have now long moved beyond the realms of anything vaguely sane. I’m tired of people celebrating how much has been spent in a transfer window rather than what it has been spent on. I’m tired of the transfer window, and the indulgence of it all; something deftly summarised by Frankie Boyle’s Deadline Day tweet ‘Your club has bought some journeyman midfielder sexcase for the price of a hospital’. I’m tired of knowing that for most clubs he’ll largely be right.
I’m tired of the arguments over ticket prices, particularly in the Premier League, that suggest only now have ticket prices become too expensive. I’m tired of fans complaining of ticket prices at their own club, whilst mocking empty seats at another. I’m tired of being charged £24 and upwards for third tier football, whilst the FSF puts its efforts into capping away ticket prices in the Premier League at a figure less than that. I’m tired of the way I still hand over my cash anyway, despite how tired I am of the ridiculous sums I’m being asked for. I’m tired of clubs attempts to justify these prices by telling me their tickets are cheaper than another club that I had no interest in watching. I’m tired of having to pay more on the day to watch a League match, despite it being a much less labour intensive transaction for all involved.
I’m tired of the fury and rage that greets every announcement as if it is a personal affront; sometimes football matches are postponed, sometimes football matches are lost, sometimes players are sold. I’m tired of the constant search for a scapegoat. I’m tired of the childish dismissals of anything a past player or manager ever did for the club as being ‘shit’. I’m tired of the twisting of the past to suit current arguments. Paul Dickov may not have been the right manager for the club, but he handed more youth team graduates debuts than any other Rovers manager since at least 1998; I’m tired of that being overlooked.
I’m tired of being asked if I support a bigger club. I’m tired of the Liverpool, or Chelsea, or Manchester United fans who ask me this getting all put out when I subsequently ask them if they do.
I’m tired of grown adults play-acting. I’m tired of how long a team that’s one nil up takes over a throw-in. I’m tired of goalkeepers pretending to berate their defenders, and pretending to not hear the referee soak up ten more seconds before a goal-kick. I’m tired of players who trot over to the far side of the pitch when they know they’re about to be substituted, so they can eat up as much time as possible walking to the bench. I’m tired of paying £24 or more to watch these same routines over and over again, every f***ing week.
I’m tired of the banter. I’m tired of tekkers. I’m tired of the language and the slang. I’m tired of Paddy Power and the f***ing Lad Bible.
I’m tired of engagement stats over information. I’m tired of retweeting praise and pretending the negatives never happen. I’m tired of new kits every year. I’m tired of people dicking about with hoops, and treating an away kit as a blank canvas.
I’m tired of lazily nicking other clubs’ songs. I’m tired of pyro. I’m tired of parties.
I’m tired of all this. None of it is football. None of it needs to happen.
Just give me the game. And my bed.
by Glen Wilson
This piece is the editorial for issue 80 of popular STAND fanzine; a football fanzine for the likes of Doncaster. A small number of copies of this issue are still available for a minimum £1 plus postage. If you would like a copy, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org