Thursday, 9 February 2012

Football, the national game.

I need to make sure that you understand I don't hate football. Football (if you want to play it) is a healthy sport that builds muscle and apparently builds character.

Nothing against football. I was a handy goal keeper in my school days (to about the age of 10); so what happened at the age of 10 to lead me to write this angry blog.

At the age of 10 I realised that what I thought was just a jolly game was far more than that to the other boys. It seemed important to them, and when I said that it was just a game they got cross with me. It was like I'd said to the Pope 'It's just a lot of singing and mumbling this Christianity stuff isn't it.'

From that day I lost all interest.

So why am I so angry?

There are many reasons, today it is Fabio Capello and the arrogance of those that like football.

It was announced that Fabio Capello had resigned as the England manager; not as many people seem to think the manager of the country of England, but the manager of the England Association Football Team. At a time of international uncertainty and near civil war in Syria that may destabilise the increasingly fragile relationship between the UN Russia and the rest of the world, the news that a man had resigned from managing a sports team was the lead item in all of the bulletins and all of the rolling news coverage.

I can forgive rolling news, they have so little to report most of the time that snow sends them into paroxysms of delight; so the resignation of a sports team manager made them reach a shuddering sporty climax.

But the rest of you journalists. Shame on you.

Did you know, and this fact comes under the official secrets act in this country, that lots and lots of people don't like football; and some others don't care either way. Did you know that? I know amazing, and your heard it here first.

The Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 took a measured view. They know their audience. The England Team news was in the sports news, the 3rd item in the headlines and the discussion at 08.55 when most of their listeners have got into their office and turned the radio off.

However, there was the terrifying assertion from one of their guests that 55 Million people in the country have a view on who should take over the job as 'England Manager'. 55 Million. This is the out of date but often taught number of people that live in the UK. The assertion is that everybody likes foot ball.

This is why I'm pink with anger.

This is what I hate about football.

I hate the rock solid arrogance of the people who like football. Please understand, just because you like it doesn't mean everyone else does. Out of that quoted 55 Million 29 Million are Female (adjusting for the lack of old men) and even if some of those females like football many of the rest are under 5 and some JUST DON'T CARE ABOUT THE ****ING FOOTBALL!!!!

Ehem, sorry about that. There is never any other view put forward to balance the idea that people like football. The figures speak for themselves. More people watch soap operas in a week than watch football. Why isn't the latest plot twist from 'Coronation Street' on the news?

For many years news rooms around the country were run and staffed by men. There is a feeling that having testicles makes you like football. Sports news became news because the people who liked it were in charge. The big football clubs then gave some splendid treatment to those broadcasting it so the journalists started to get used to it, and since then no one has ever questioned its value. (apart from me)

Here's the stupid thing. The broadcasters PAY the CLUBS to broadcast games. They PAY a massive entertainment industry that charges £40 a ticket to ADVERTISE their company. THEY PAY THEM. So, let's get this straight. If I asked a national broadcaster to feature my business all afternoon and then to pay me for the privilege what reaction would I get?

In short (yes I know it's too late for that) Football is an entertainment industry supported by the men who set up the papers and the radio stations. It's as relevant as reporting on what Justin Bieber is going to wear on his next tour; and when you go into Manchester on a Saturday afternoon and the 2 big teams Manchester United and Manchester City are both playing games at home... have you noticed how the shops are empty?

Yeh, right.

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