IN a brand new column, we give Tommy Farr (@gingerzola) the floor each Monday to air and vent his thoughts on the week that’s been in football. Here, Tom urges us to embrace the wall-to-wall coverage of the Premier League.
Quit the cliches and embrace modern football
Friday night saw the return of the erroneously-proclaimed “best league in the world” to our TV screens, as Arsenal and Leicester served up a seven-goal thriller, which owed as much to a defensive horror show as it did to anything resembling actual quality.
The frailties of the recent Arsene Wenger-era were, unsurprisingly, all too visible once more, as a patched up defence struggled to cope with the early delivery of the likes of Christian Fuchs, Riyah Mahrez and in particularly, Marc Albrighton.
Petr Cech behind them too appears to be a shadow of his prime self and the groans from a weary Emirates crowd were only stifled by the impact of substitutes Aaron Ramsey and the eternally under-appreciated Olivier Giroud. They remain, however, bubbling away below a cracked surface.
Also simmering away are the ever-present murmurings of discontent about the dictatorial role which TV bosses play in our national sport, resulting in matches such as these being beamed to us over a pint in the pub or the comfort of our armchair on a Friday night, or any other time of the week, to suit their own agenda.
We want it all
Many supporters are waiting patiently for the day when football finally implodes, as they insist it must, owing to the spiralling costs that enable clubs to buy and sell the average at extortionate rates. It is, after all, the supporters who pay – be that in pure monetary terms, or by way of the upheaval they face as fixtures are altered little more than a month in advance, to satisfy the demands of….well, people like me.
Long ago, I accepted the obvious consequences of sport and TV being the closest of bedfellows, and it amazes me that we still see so much resistance from fans who want televised matches to be picked using the power of hindsight, so as not to con us with a dull “Super Sunday” or have us moaning about the bus being parked, therefore ruining Monday Night Football.
We want to get to the pub in time to see the early Saturday kick-off – the starter to our own team’s main course, before getting back just in time to enjoy the footballing dessert of the tea-time kick-off. We want it all, but we still want to moan about it as and when it suits.
In today’s society, we saturate absolutely everything, with 10 copycat shows springing up on the back of any semi-successful venture, yet it seems that only sport – and overwhelmingly football – draw such vehement opposition to its “success”.
The game’s gone
Social media is littered with cliche’d phrases like “The game’s gone” and the ever-irritating and tiresome “Against Modern Football”. Why not simply ‘against modern life’ at a time when people don’t flinch when paying staggering prices for a pint of beer – even moreso if the barman serves craft beer and has a twizzly moustache and a man-bun – yet can’t wait for football to eat itself?
The aftermath of any bubble-bursting will be felt all the way down the footballing pyramid, with the traditionally rich clubs the best-prepared to absorb the blow, emerging in much better shape than those clubs further down the food chain who people feel should be the eventual beneficiaries.
Twenty-somethings get misty-eyed when speaking of a time that they never even knew, but one which was supposedly infinitely better than the present day. When the average fan actually meant something to the club they support and the players they cheered for.
It is nothing but rose-tinted nonsense! The truth of it is that you need to be of a ripe old age to recall anything even remotely resembling that which people long for.
Understand your relationship with your club
“Detached” is a word which gets thrown at clubs left, right and centre by people insisting that they once felt as though they ‘belonged’ and were a valued part of the club they love, which again, is simply rubbish.
I’ve been a match-going supporter for over 30 years and today, the club I love contact me as and when they have something to sell, or at times that it is to their benefit. Not once have I ever been considered a family member and neither do I expect to be.
It isn’t that type of relationship and it won’t be at any club which is any more than a group of mates having what is not much more than an organised kickaround about a dozen steps down the pyramid.
The choice is yours
I’m as much to blame as anyone else who chooses to watch whichever match the TV bosses have hand-picked for the resulting swapped shifts and annual leave being taken in order to keep up our obligation as supporters. In my case at least, I enjoy watching football, and feel slightly lost on the rare night that there isn’t anything other than 700 channels of utter bilge to flick through.
We all have a choice of how much we watch and how much we ignore, yet to listen to some people, you’d think that Rupert Murdoch himself was strapping them into a strait-jacket before forcing them to watch every second of the wall-to-wall coverage that, like it or not, people like me demand.
If you can’t set and maintain your own filters on life and what you cram into it, you’re going to be unhappy somewhere along the line.
Embrace modern football
Against Modern Football or not, the game certainly hasn’t gone and it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon either in my opinion – and even if there was to be a footballing apocalypse, the landscape thereafter would still see the traditional “haves” rise up far above the rest of the “have nots” on what would still be nothing like a level playing field.
It isn’t the best league in the world at all, but it is certainly the best at self-promotion, so get yourself comfortable, because the games are about to come at you thick and fast.
Oh, and be sure to keep a couple of days holiday up your sleeve for when the inevitable happens, because like it or not, we just can’t seem to say no.