I know it’s a kind of masculine heresy, but football is starting to bore me. More than that, sport in general has lost its appeal. It could be that football, rugby, cricket, tennis - played in empty stadia can be a tad soulless, but no matter how exciting the commentator tells me the game/match that I’m watching is; I still find myself listlessly flicking channels. The new football season has just got underway and games are coming at me left-right and centre, but I can barely be bothered to stir myself to concentrate and watch any game in its entirety. If truth be known, I would much rather be watching Come Dine With Me or Big Bang Theory than the footer. It isn’t because the game is particularly bad, or the fact that I’ve heard Jamie Carragher’s familiar cliches once too often before, it’s probably because I just don’t care anymore. Everything is so predictable, so formulaic and so obvious. I could write the trite exchanges between the so-called experts in the studio myself without breaking sweat, or ever reverting to anything approximating a hackneyed phrase, or dull metaphor that they seem to specialise in. The fact is, football is so over-exposed nowadays it is impossible to be anything other than enveloped in a warm duvet of indifference. Earlier today, on Sky Sports News the bloke behind the desk was working himself into a fine old frenzy about some exciting “breaking news stories” about the buying and selling of certain players before the transfer ‘window’ - and by his almost hysterical tone you could have been forgiven in thinking that the news he was breaking - was actually news at all, because the lantern jawed Gareth Bale has been supposed to be moving back to the English Premier League from Real Madrid for at least three years…and counting! By the way - how come that it is only in football that a players “wages” are measured by the “week” as if young Mr Bale worked in a supermarket and was earning £350,000 a week? Very strange indeed!
Anyway, if you think that I’m bored most of the players look to be positively comatose. Sometimes I think I only watch the football to annoy her. As I creep into bed approaching midnight, she will often murmur - “Was it a good game love?” and I don’t have the brass-neck to tell her I stopped watching the game hours ago and spent the rest of my time watching Embarrassing Bodies. Then there is the whole issue of footballers themselves. I sometimes wonder if they are all so graceless and unappealing as they seem. As an ordinary sort of chap, I yearn to actually like any of them. On occasions I will fix on a player who appears talented and modest and for a few short weeks will cheer him on and talk him up to my friends, wax lyrical about his undoubted skill; until, that is, I spot him rolling around as if he’d been shot when nobody had touched him, or waving his hand in such a fashion so as to get a fellow professional sent-off for a foul that they clearly hadn’t committed. In all other fields of human endeavour this would be seen to be despicable; not in football I’m afraid, most of the time it is actively encouraged. It has also struck me that the poor much maligned referee, who if you watch a match closely, is being constantly abused for much a game and then totally ‘shredded’ in the press the next day. More than a little unfair, as he is the only person on the field of play who is not actually trying to cheat - and that’s the truth.
Because your average modern, professional footballer, is about as interesting as a bucket of cold spit; those whose job it is in the media to keep us interested in the game have to resort to persecuting team managers and coaches to enliven the dull days between dull matches. The ever- so-slightly camp Jose Mourinho, at Tottenham Hotspur, is joined on the back pages by Jurgen Klopp, a surprisingly pleasant German chap who manages Liverpool - and at Chelsea, local boy made good i.e. Frank Lampard, is in charge until the day comes when he will be unceremoniously sacked by the clubs Russian oligarch owner at some unspecified time in the future. These men make football interesting - not the players; god help us, not them. Come on, who could find anything even faintly interesting about your average Premiership footballer? An orange flavoured girlfriend with the IQ of a tin of baked beans, a top of the range Bentley, interesting tattoos and a twenty word vocabulary - that’s it, full stop. Believe me or not, I used to really like football, but because of over-exposure, I doubt if I would wander across the road to the field opposite to watch Real Madrid and Barcelona players pretend to die horribly if an opponent should brush against them - it really is so unmanly isn’t it? Hold the back page, as I write this, the hysterical bloke with the microphone and a cruel glasses has just proclaimed that he is watching the most fantastic game of football that he has watched since - er, yesterday.
Next week: Why International Rugby Union is mind-numbingly tedious - with basically two sets of fat lads bashing into each other endlessly and for no obvious reason whatsoever (why don’t they try to run around each other?)and why a regular ten minutes is wasted when yet another pointless scrum is set. Not forgetting a video referee who takes about 20 minutes to deliver a verdict on a disputed try after everyone is past caring. And I thought football was bad. Yawn - yawn - yawn. In two weeks time - The reasons why cricket is the only sport worth watching on the television, or better still, listening to it on the wireless.