When did it stop being just a game?

In the job that I’m in it is amazing to see the way supporters see the beautiful game, with many clearly believing that football only started the moment Sky Sports got its mucky paws on it and created this monster that is now the Premier League. The game did exist before and in my view was far better.

Sky certainly gave LIVE coverage the kiss of life it needed, after years of watching the likes of Elton Welsby and Jim Rosenthal attempting (and failing) to add excitement to the proceedings, however somewhere in the next 20yrs they proceeded to destroy the game I love, largely down to the obscene millions that has been pumped into it. It has brought with it greed and ruthlessness within football that has slowly killed the romance and competitiveness for everyone. My biggest gripe however is reserved for the way they have single handily moved the goal posts in football reporting, which has subsequently rubbed off on the whole of the media industry.

The whole Evra/Suarez race row highlighted for me the real change in attitude towards football. All Sky was interested in was a stupid handshake between the players than arguably the biggest domestic game in this country, which seemingly paled into all significance. Kenny Dalglish rightly turned on the grotesque Geoff Shreeves and although the Scot should have reserved his anger for his player, who only fuelled the incident, he made a valid point about the Sky coverage and how it played a huge part in the circus that the incident became throughout the weeks. Let’s be honest Sky now turn a mistimed tackle into a two day event and get referees and ex-players in the studio to discuss it. The scrutiny they show for even the most minor of incidents is obscene and their sensationalism has had a domino affect all round.

While many of you may think I am little old fashioned and think that I should move with the times, I ask the question as to when football stopped being just a game? I use to enjoy the reading of Sunday papers after a game, looking at match reports and the detailed analysis of some of Fleet Street’s finest, but all you find now is column inches responding to incidents that have been highlighted and fuelled by Sky the previous day. When did journalists stop practicing their art and jump on this sensationalist bandwagon that is destroying the game? Every weekend we are being subjected to this intense negativity, where the game appears to be an afterthought throughout their coverage.

Unfortunately for me the horse has now well and truly bolted and I am fully aware that the game will not change and we will continue to live in this hyperbolic bubble of Sky’s making. For me it is interesting talking to football supporters who appear to have fallen out of love with the game, who now keep an eye on their team from afar. I was talking to an Arsenal fan who gave up his season ticket for 30years because he was sick and tired of the modern day supporters who fail to see the wood from the trees and buy into the media hype around his football club. A single defeat has suddenly become a media-induced crisis that has spilled over into the stands and unfortunately into the boardrooms of many football clubs, who will perhaps go against their own principles and sack a manager as long as it keeps supporters happy. Many a true word there and a true reflection of the utter circus the once Beautiful Game has become.