Following the theme of last Monday’s blog, “10 Things I Love About Football”, I thought it would make sense to do a follow up post about the things I do not love about football, or more precisely, the things I hate.
There are many frustrating aspects of the game often carrying with them excruciating pain, extreme pessimism and unnecessary rage. It’s not “only a game” – it is way, way more than that, and anyone who begs to differ ought to stop reading this right about now.
Without sounding sickeningly clichéd, football is a way of life. There are no two ways about it. When you’re a football fan, whether you like it or not, the game pretty much rules your life. When you’re awake you’re watching it, complaining about a decision, reminiscing a goal from three seasons ago, or analysing the tactics used last weekend. When you’re not awake, you’re likely dreaming about it.
Sometimes, the overarching rule of football on life is actually pretty rubbish. It makes you miserable, and erm, miserable.
So here are ten of my misery provoking things in football.
1. Dodgy Owners.
I’m a Blackburn Rovers fan, so this was inevitably going to crop up. Dodgy owners in football are possibly the most frustrating thing known to fans. Why? Because there’s nothing you can do about it. Yes, you can boycott, but who really wants to boycott their team? Practically, I could quite easily have boycotted Rovers as protestation to the owners as I live over two hours away. Emotionally though, there was no way I could. So I had to get on with it and endure the misery. Ronaldinho, they said. Champions League, they said. Top Ten, they said. In Venkateshwara Hatcheries language this translates as Danny Murphy, being knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Carlisle on penalties, and narrowly avoiding relegation to League One. Great job.
Oligarchs, corporates, lucrative sponsorship deals – all things which epitomise modern day football. It’s funny because it’s all I've ever known. I've never experienced standing on a terrace, or life without Sky Sports. Nevertheless, it’s frustrating to see the game so many of us love become exploited for the goldmines of cold, hard cash that we inject into it. The timing of last season’s FA Cup Final, BT Sport and their Champions League, fans being priced out of the game. Truth be told, it’s an absolute joke. Then again so is AMF, so there’s not a fat lot we can do about that issue either.
3. Bad refereeing decisions.
Before I get lynched by a mob of young, ambitious, and admittedly hard working referees – can we please just accept the recent evidence? Allowing a goal despite the ball being taken when it was in the keeper’s possession. Wes Brown’s red card against Stoke City. Mirallas and Rooney walking scot free despite their reckless tackles. Of course, officiating a football match is ridiculously difficult, nobody proclaims otherwise, but bad refereeing decisions are occurring more and more frequently and it needs to stop.
My first season of having a season ticket at Ewood park, we beat Arsenal 4-3, Swansea 4-2, (All scored by the mighty Yak) and then we got relegated. Prior to that we lost at home 3-2 to Liverpool. I wasn’t there; I watched it on the TV. Two goals from Maxi. A Doni sending off. A saved penalty. A Yak header. A scored penalty to equalise. Then an Andy Carroll winner in the 90th minute. I cried. A couple of weeks later we got relegated by Wigan Athletic. A chicken was released on the pitch too. It was horrendous. I felt empty. I cried then as well. I actually cried once more that season; we beat Sunderland at home and it was our first back to back win and clean sheet of the season which says it all really. Seriously though, relegation is possibly the most upsetting thing that can happen to a football fan.
Self-explanatory. Nothing good, ever, ever comes from losing. 7-1 at the Emirates. Pederson scored a beauty of a free kick. Did it matter? I got absolutely shredded for weeks about that score line. Actually, there is one thing worse than losing, and that is, having a two and a half hour car journey home with a ranting Dad after you lose.
6. Disappointing yet expensive players.
It’s not necessarily a players fault for carrying a glittering price tag, but it is their fault when they don’t perform. When we signed Danny Murphy and Leon Best before last season I was quite excited at the prospect of two well respected players, who could add a bit of experience, and a bit of oomph into a lacklustre team. Boy did I get it wrong. Turned out Leon Best acquired a cruciate injury in a pre-season friendly and has since struggled to impress. I don’t even want to discuss Danny Murphy. But even the Venky’s knew one season was enough to warrant a termination of his contract, and that’s saying something.
7. When games are postponed.
I really hate this, especially when you only hear the announcement when you’re already half way up the M6. It’s highly disappointing. It’s even more disappointing when come the postponed match David Goodwillie ends up giving a penalty allowing Brighton to equalise in the 97th minute. Still wondering where those seven minutes even came from.
8. The lack of democracy.
One thing that I would love to change within the football industry is to provide fans with a voice. For example, before a football club hires a new director of football, giving the fans a chance to vote for who they think would be most suitable for the role, rather than ending up with Joe Kinnear who believes one of NUFC’s players is called Kebab. I really think that fan ownership would be one of the most beneficial changes football could make. To read why I think this in more detail click here.
30k a week is ludicrous. Preposterous. Abhorrent. Repugnant. Sickening. Unjustifiable. The most infuriating thing about indefensibly high wage packets is that for the majority of the time, they are undeserved. Fans invest a hell of a lot of money into their football club in tickets, merchandise and support – and it is shameful that many of them are repaid by certain players who are more than happy to pick up such a high wage packet, despite giving a less than mediocre performance on the pitch.
10. The inability to detach.
As I mentioned in the first paragraph of this post, it is a universally acknowledged truth that football is more than a game. You can’t forget about it. When you win, your week is brilliant. When you lose, every minute of the week is filled with sadness. Football has power over your moods, your tempers, and your wallet. It is extraordinarily difficult to remove oneself from the game.
Although maybe, in a sense, that’s one thing we love about it.
That’s that. 10 Things I Hate About Football. Feel free to rant about your pet hates in the comment section below.