By Andy Jones
It’s quite hard to decide what winds me up the most….half and half scarves, homemade placards with cringeworthy messages or fans filming the game on their mobile phone rather than actually watching the game.
With all the money being ploughed into the game, its become a huge business, with a large majority of fans turning up and expecting to be entertained for 90 minutes.
It’s a million miles away from the football experience of the late 80’s and 90’s, when the only thing that mattered was the result on the pitch.
Football Clubs Are All About Business
These days the main aim of the football club is to extract as much money as possible from the match going fan, through merchandise and corporate hospitality.
Manchester City are set to launch “The Tunnel Club” giving VIP’s the chance to get close to the stars in what is described as one of the “most innovative and immersive experiences in sports hospitality”, god only knows how much that will cost per season, and why any normal fan would be even remotely interested in something so gimmicky and detached from reality.
That’s the problem, modern football is so far detached from reality that it’s in danger of spiralling out of reach of the average fan.
If I wanted to take my two lads to a home game, I’m looking at around £90 just for the tickets, then there is travel, drinks, snacks, the inevitable bit of Manutd.com tat they’d pester me into buying at the ground.
As a comparison, in 1999, my ticket for the European Cup final cost £13, just a shame that the direct return flight to Barcelona cost £360!
Players, even bang average ones, can become multi millionaires by their early twenties. But you can’t blame them, why would they turn down the huge sums of money on offer.
Perhaps its just my age, a grumpy 40 year old, but when you see players doing embarrassing celebrations, yes Jesse Lingard, I’m talking about you, you wonder what they are thinking.
But in hindsight, is that any worse than the “Sharpey Shuffle”, or the Giggs and Ince stuff.
Are They Footballers Or Actors?
One thing that does need addressing is the play acting, or as the people involved the game call “professional gamesmanship”, or as I see it, cheating! Alexis Sanchez dropping to the floor as if he’d just been on the end of an Anthony Joshua right hander, when a throw in from Fuchs hit him on the shoulder.
Quite rightly, he was castigated in many quarters, including by players from other sports. Last night, Aguero dropping to the floor In similar fashion, after he touched heads with Fellaini.
Stupid on the part of the Belgian, but imagine if that was to happen on a park pitch on a Sunday morning, you’d be laughed out of the car park.
The argument is that there is so much at stake in the modern game, that players will try anything to gain an advantage, which in turn puts referees under immense pressure. Whether the introduction of Video referees will make a significant difference remains to be seen.
Despite all of this, I’m still glued to sky sports every week, like millions of fans around the world, and I’d probably watch any match from any league as nothing can provide the buzz of a football match.
There is no other sport where a single moment that can change a game in an instant, unless of course it’s West Brom v Stoke, nobody should have to suffer that!