Tuesday, 13 May 2014

In which there's absolutely no escape from the curse of football

Football in Britain isn't so much a national game as a national obsession.  It's about as easy to escape as that other British obsession - the weather (the weather itself, that is. Not just the media coverage of it), and it takes up far more airtime, column inches and collective British headspace than any sport has a right to.

I'm not a fan. I never have been. The closest I come to caring about it is when a result one way or the other might put a dampener on The Writer's afternoon. I don't think it's particularly odd that I'm not bothered about it, just as I wouldn't expect everyone to be endlessly fascinated by three day eventing (although why wouldn't you be? These people perfect three disciplines and then persuade a half ton beast with a mind of its own to join in. That's skill).

But the difference with equestrianism in general is that if you couldn't care less about it, you needn't ever be troubled by it. It's restricted to specialist press - sometimes it doesn't even make the sports pages. It certainly doesn't get anywhere near the air time it should given that the British are currently no 1 in the world rankings in all three disciplines.

But I don't appear to have that luxury as someone who couldn't give a plagued rat's ass about the ins and outs and who's bitten whoms and rumours and speculations and transfers that makes up the endless footballing fodder for the British media.

There is not one mainstream media channel I can turn to safe in the knowledge that it won't shove football down my throat. The Today programme was breathless in its fervour to cover the resignation of Alex Ferguson. ITV shows European football on weeknights on their flagship channel. The Times produce whole pull outs devoted to the bloody industry.

And there's no let up. If it's not the season, there's a transfer window. Or a European championship. Or a World fucking Cup from which none of us can hide and even Radio bloody 4 is using as a hook for its summer programming. Surely it can't be so universally popular as to merit such blanket coverage? 

And yes, I understand that there's an industry behind the sport. But there's an industry behind every sport. And as important a business as football might be to the British economy, so is BAE Systems and we don't have them shoved down our gagging throats at every available opportunity.

All I want is one mainstream outlet where I can go to read or listen to or watch the news and current affairs (you know, the stuff that actually matters) where I won't have football thrust at me. Just one. Failing that, I'll just have to spend the summer watching the Weather Channel.


nuttycow said...

I couldn't agree more! I don't understand the constant obsession with football. If you're going to harp on about a sport, why can't it be one where the players and fans can act as decent role models?

Robert said...

Here is a way to try and explain your dislike to a football lover.

Sam said...

I am also in agreement with the general sentiment. Football brings out something ghastly in people, and I really don't understand the attraction of the whole dull business. Still, we've each got our thing, haven't we.

Zstep said...

Blonde, darling... you are dead to me. That is all.

Anonymous said...

Yes, and thank you for putting that so well. I am fed up of endless football.

Sean Fleming said...

I don't mind football, per se. I have no problem with it as a sport, as a pastime, nor even as a business.

But I can't stand all the paraphernalia ... from the violence I witnessed up close and personal on a regular basis when I lived across the street from Manchester City in the 80s/90s, through to the unwholesome behaviour of Fifa (pressuring the government of Brazil to repeal its no-booze-in-the-stadium laws so that Fifa 'partner' Budweiser can sell its beer during World Cup matches, etc).

Also, I cannot bear tribalism.

I probably will watch some of the World Cup matches, but I doubt I'll watch many, and I'm certain I won't watch any of them all the way through.

Mind you, I felt much the same about all the fuss that was made about 'Four Weddings & A Funeral' .... "OH MY GOD YOU *HAVE TO* GO AND SEE IT, IT'S AMAZING!!"

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