Many things grind my gears about football. Most of them are completely inane. Some of them don’t bother anyone else and I seem like a complete mad person for getting so worked up by them, but some things are universally baffling. These are but a few of them.
1. Automatic bookings for stripping off – The passion, excitement and euphoria of football can often come to a head in the event of scoring a goal. Such is the feeling – that even school yard players know – that it can, on occasion, encourage footballers to take their clothes off before they’ve even gotten to China White. The passion is the greatest thing about the sport. Those who don’t understand it lament it’s ability to churn out suicidaly dull 0-0 draws at Bolton on a breezy February afternoon, but they fail to grasp that the waiting is just the thing that makes it. We can sit in rain and sleet and snow and watch the most appalling rubbish, transfixed in anticipation, knowing that at any moment, a goal may be scored to light up our experience. The very lack of constant scoring is what makes the act of scoring so emotional, and when said emotion explodes it’s a joyous and wonderful thing. So if a player gets so worked up by it that he finds the act of keeping his clothes on impossible to abide by, then at no point should that ever – ever – be punishable by anything. Except maybe cold nipples.
2. Three Minutes of Injury time – I can’t pin point the exact moment 3 minutes of injury time became compulsory, but I’m going to take a complete guess and say it was around 1997. No match ends earlier than the 93rd minute anymore, so we might as well just play 93 minutes. Even a suicidally dull 0-0 draw at Bolton on a breezy February afternoon gets 3 minutes. Why? When you add up the amount of time the ball is actually not in play it comes to about 20 minutes, but we don’t play 20 minutes injury time because that would be absolutely ridiculous – unless one of the big four are losing of course (only joking big four fans!…sort of) – So lets just play 93 minutes. And if you want to add 4, just add 1 instead. Simples.
3. The Idea you need a few naughties to get a top atmosphere/it’s just part of football – No you don’t/ No it isn’t. I eff and blind as much as the next bloke at a match, but in a vague and non-specific way. The odd expletive repeated 20 times in a row isn’t going to hurt anyone – probably – but you don’t need to add a racial or homophobic slur to the end of it. You really don’t. Nor do you need to throw a coin, or a bottle (or in one Liverpool fan’s case – your phone) on to the pitch to “improve the atmosphere”. That isn’t part of football, that’s just part of being a mong.
4. Diving – Get up you expletive expletive + homophobic insult
5. Autobiographies by players who are still playing – Surely the point of an autobiography is to reflect on your life’s work with the wisdom you’ve gained over the course of it? It should be an opus, not a serial. Writing an autobiography at 25 isn’t writing an autobiography, it’s writing a diary. Furthermore, if you’re not even going to write it at all, merely talk to some other bloke about it for a bit and let him write it down, then why make it a book? You aren’t going to read it anyway are you? Why don’t you just release it on tape or something? “Things I’ve thought of so far by Wayne Rooney”, for example. I wouldn’t buy it, but someone would. At no point does anyone still playing the game need to write an Autobiography, or have a biography written for them. And you don’t need more than one either, it’s supposed to be about your life. You only get one of those.
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6. Sepp Blatter – I have no idea why Sepp Blatter still exists in football.
7. The “new George Best” – Or the new Zinedine Zidane, or the new anyone. No, they aren’t that. Stop it. And being fast and mixed race doesn’t automatically make anyone comparable to Thierry Henry.
8. Shot sleeves and gloves – Beanie and a vest? Pants and duffle coat? No.
9. Wearing a suit to pundit on television – Why do you need to wear a suit to talk about football on television exactly? Are you going to get booked if you take it off?
10. Anyone who says there’s no romance in the FA Cup anymore – Didn’t Portsmouth win it 2008? Didn’t Cardiff get to the final? Didn’t Millwall get to the final a few years back? Didn’t Leeds knock out Man Utd away this year? Didn’t Barnsley knock out Liverpool at Anfield two years ago? Didn’t a million other things happen or weren’t you watching? This goes equally for anyone who says “football’s rubbish now, it was better in my day” – which it probably wasn’t, but you were certainly less of a tool – and “The English League is the least competitive” – when in fact only 9 teams have ever won La Liga in it’s entire history, and only 5 during the PL era or more than twice. Only 8 have ever won Seria A more than twice and only 5 since the PL era too. 19 English clubs have won the top tier more than twice however, so even if the PL era has only seen 4 winners, it’s still all rubbish, and actually more in line with the rest of Europe than it ever was.