Nostalgia bias, also known as rosy retrospection is a social phenomenon that academics have been trying to get to grips with for years.
The general idea is that people romanticise things from their youth and remember them for being better than they actually are, whether that be films, foods or their favourite holiday destinations, and it seems that football isn’t exempt from this bias either.
It seems that every other day we’re seeing highlight clips of average players who ‘the streets won’t forget’, with many fawning over former Premier League players who don’t deserve such adulation.
Streets won’t forget – Premier League edition pic.twitter.com/WAMgd1HLvW
— ™️ (@D20048) March 28, 2020
The above tweet has over 41,000 likes and almost 15,000 retweets, and it features such players as Bryan Ruiz and Adel Taarabt, and as someone who has had the misfortune of watching both players turn out for my club, I can tell you that ‘the streets’ are remembering them both wrongly.
Ruiz arrived as a £10m signing on deadline day in 2011 after banging in 35 league goals in 65 games for FC Twente in the Eredivisie, but his first Premier League season saw him score just twice, with both efforts being rather fantastic chips against both Everton and Bolton.
In the end, he would score just 11 goals in 97 league appearances for the Whites, including just four in 29 in the Championship, having to go down as quite a massive flop, considering he was the club’s biggest signing that summer.
Taarabt was a similar story, the Moroccan was undoubtedly one of the Championship’s best players during QPR’s promotion season, netting 19 in 44 from midfield, but once he got into the big leagues, he faltered, netting just seven times in 77 Premier League appearances for both the R’s and Fulham.
— James Nalton (@JDNalton) May 7, 2020
The former Tottenham man did have a trick or two up his sleeve, and his nutmegs and stepovers do make for good montage videos that can be shared on social media, but when you’re seeing people lament him as if he was the West London’s answer to a prime Ronaldinho, you can’t help but wonder if anyone remembers actually watching him for a full 90 minutes.
Is QPR edition Adel Taarabt the ultimate “streets will never forget” player? pic.twitter.com/kwycupGhOo
— Tom Scholes (@_TomScholes) April 9, 2020
No harm is being done in enjoying these clips, and there is plenty of skill on show here, but it’s leading to a generation of fans glorifying an average bunch of players from an era where there are plenty of footballers worth remembering.