Thursday, 25 January 2007

Football - Is It The End Of A Love Affair ?

"What has happened to football?"
Or maybe I should be asking
"What has happened to me?"

Since I was a small boy I have loved going to football. So why, now, can I simply not be arsed any more? It's something that I never thought would happen the game seems to have lost it's appeal.

Admittedly high ticket prices have an effect but it's more than that, I think I'd feel the same if they were giving the tickets away.

I was brought up watching the Southampton FA Cup winning side, and the non-stop entertainment under McMenemy and Nichol. In a time when we seemed to win (or lose) 3-2 or 4-3 more often then 1-0 games were exciting. But more to the point games were important. It was a time when almost every fan of a top flight team could start the season dreaming of winning the league. Whilst an unexpected winner was rare, not only my own Southampton, but the likes of Ipswich, Watford, QPR and Swansea all made strong challenges for the title, ending runners up. Nowadays the top 4 of the Premiership are the top 4 till eternity unless rules on football finances change. So what is there to get excited about if you support any other team?

Lets take for example Blackburn v Middlesbrough (it could be 2 of probably a dozen teams). You sit through 90 minutes in the hope of some entertainment. But even if you win the game, so what?. Not likely to go down, not likely to win the league or even break into the top 4, so what difference does that result make? Nothing to get excited about. They wonder why many grounds (including those of the 2 mentioned teams) lack atmosphere these days. Many blame all-seater stadia - I blame total lack of interest and enthusiasm of a good proportion of fans who turn up for no other reason than habit.

At the moment at least Saints have the "excitement" of a promotion battle for the rest of this season. But even if they succeed, so what? the only excitement next season will be managing to avoid relegation again.

Maybe it is just me - after all there are still thousands who turn up week in week out. But I would put money on it that the majority of those who were watching 15 years ago or more enjoyed "the old days" a lot more than they are enjoying it now, no matter who they support.

And for any of my "football friends" reading this, whilst I have no enthusiasm for games at the moment, I really miss the social side. Maybe I should go to the pub at noon and meet up before the game, have a good old chat and a few pints, stay there for a couple more pints whilst everyone else goes off to the match at 2.30pm, and still be there happily awaiting their return (not to mention around £20 a match better off) just after 5pm.

Now that sounds like a plan !

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