Falling out of love with football

I’m convinced that in pre-VAR days the lino would have just stuck up his flag for the second Nketiah goal, and we would have only found out during MOTD that the officials got it wrong.

It was almost immediately clear to everyone in the ground that the build-up had to be reviewed by VAR. Those 30 secs or so last night before the goal was confirmed were a truly heart-in-mouth moment, and the celebrations in the stadium immediately after the ref pointed to the centre circle were the loudest and wildest I can remember for a very long time. It added an extra layer of jeopardy to an already exhilarating game, and long may it continue.

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The big competitions and leagues are shite. I developed a random attachment to a yo-yo club in Estonia after a holiday there and, thanks to streamed games, I found I was enjoying cheering them on from afar more than anything in the UK.

I also started paying attention to smaller scale sports - local rugby, shinty, a few others - and found the community aspects of those much nicer than tribal football bullshit.

Saying that, I’ve paid much more attention to Aberdeen this year than I have for about a decade. Still plenty of wanker fans mind you.

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The money aspect has been a big issue for me and have much preferred doing non league games over the last few years although not been to my new local yet as bit out of the way and no one to drag down.

Used to be a big focus and had a half season ticket and season ticket for 16 years running, and the last 5 years of that doing away games (including torturing myself with every game home and away when Alex McLeish was manager…). Eventually realised how much it was costing and how miserable it was (combo of the football and the money in the league), and the only highlight was the drinks with people but even that was souring. Actually not been back down with my dad since 2016 and probably only done a handful of games since.

Unlike his impact for others in this thread my interest came back a little thanks to Dean Smith, aware this is also partly down to owners and promotion. Lockdown helped as basically could watch every game and was something to talk about, but still not enough to drag me back down on a regular basis as know it doesn’t change anything with the imbalances in the league and now it’s even more expensive. Although I’d quite like a trip down for a pint and catch-up down the Aston Social as a throwback and to go to a game under Emery.

Doubt I’ll ever go back to a season ticket, got a membership down the cricket instead where we can take in our own drink and food. The rest I’ll stick to TV or one off trips.

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Oh it’s me…

Used to be heavily invested in football, but since kids ice barely watched anything that isn’t on BBC or ITV. It also helps that I’m a Blackburn fan, so have nothing good to hope out for.

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I’ve definitely fallen out of love with football recently and I can’t even be arsed to detail the reasons why. Short version: I follow Newcastle.

Non-league is good.

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Not sure I’ve ever really been in love in the first place tbh. I love my teams, enjoy going to matches, like talking about it, but I’m not the sort of person who just watches football for the objective love of the game. Find it really difficult to watch games that don’t involve my own teams unless there’s drama, a rivalry or there are really great players in it.

I’ve noticed though that a lot of people do take it a lot more seriously than i do. Been in a fair few situations where I’ve ‘ribbed’ a rival team’s performance at the weekend or something like that, and they’ve got visibly upset and angry at it. Never really been a match going regular, so I’ve got nothing in the game tbh, maybe that’s why I’m a lot more ‘jovial’ about it, but horses for courses innit. Of course I care and am upset about it for a bit if something bad happens to Depor, but find it very easy to switch off from it thankfully, as we’re really shit.

Premiership is an absolute farce obviously, and I fell out of love with Chelsea a while ago. Just here for convenience, the memories and because I can’t do anything about it.

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Oh increasing toxicity in the crowds doesn’t help either. City fans have sung awful stuff vs Liverpool and Chelsea and probably others that I’m sure weren’t sung before the pandemic.

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Bugduv here. Hope you’re all well. On a bit of a break from the old doomscrolling. Forgot about this little one-post alt account i had. Still been browsing, couldn’t resist chipping in here…

I don’t know if I could put my finger on any one specific final straw for me, there have been a few which have chipped away at my conscience over a few years. Century-old clubs going bump has been quite a biggy for me. When Bury went it felt very real. Seeing other local non-league clubs struggle during COVID as well.

I remember someone in the public eye asking something along the lines of “would ASDA bail out a corner shop?” when people were suggesting the biggest Premier League clubs might help Bury, and that really stuck with me, how people, including large elements of Premier League fanbases just don’t give a shite, and how as a society we’ve sort of lost sight of the importance of community and civic institutions.

There was a documentary about it on BT Sport shortly after, think Mike Calvin did it, who I’m not a huge fan of but at least he’s asking the questions few others in the public eye are. There was a guy on it who was a Bury fan, talking about how his whole life had been based around following that club, and it really struck a chord.

Another quite big thing has been the takeover at Newcastle, but specifically how that club’s fanbase have swallowed it wholesale, to the point that they’ll blindly defend some of the world’s worst people. When that was my own club, I couldn’t quite see it, I knew the people involved were bad eggs, but I was so desperate for the personal gain I could sort of separate the two. When I could see it happening elsewhere, I could see it for what it was. I don’t mind admitting to being a bit of a shithouse, but that’s just how it went, it didn’t click until there was a disconnect.

Another big thing was the World Cup in Qatar. There were some good games, some great games even, if you could somehow remove the bad shit you’d probably even say it was legitimately a very entertaining tournament, but there was nothing legitimate about it in my eyes, football sold its soul to the highest bidder and it ended up being the most successful sportswashing operation ever.

Thing is, I think World Cups should be in the Middle East, and the European ownership of the game is a bit dodgy. The administrators can’t simultaneously want the trappings of big foreign markets and not share the sport with the wider world, it’s right that tournaments move around, and we have to accept that people have different cultures and norms, but the airbrushing out of LGBTQI+ people in particular was something I struggled with.

Other things that stand out for me would be the attempted ESL breakway and the realisation when that happened that there would be no real consequences for the clubs because they held all the power and could have just taken their ball back to the Football League, the Mendy and Greenwood cases and in particular how fanbases weaponise these things along club lines, the ongoing dereliction of duty over dementia, the complete sweeping under the carpet at my own club of a massive paedophilia scandal - we could go on and on.

I’ve been trying to knock Premier League football on the head for over a decade. Every summer I try to give it up, but it always drags me back in. When City won the FA Cup in 10/11 I gave up my season ticket. I never really had the same feelings for the new stadium as I did Maine Road. I kept going occasionally for a few years, but it’s too much of an investment emotionally, in terms of time, and on the wallet.

Some of City’s title wins have honestly drove me close to a mental breakdown. I turn into an absolute madman. The amount of money I’ve gambled away over the years is just fucking silly. I get so anxious during the games I get chest pains. The minute they win i just start worrying about the next game. It’s not normal behaviour.

As the World Cup drew to its end i just sort of had a feeling. I watched City v Liverpool the week after, and it was brilliant, and it felt like a nice bookend, so I made the decision to walk away from it at New Year. I watched the Leeds game, listened to the draw with Everton on the radio, and I’ve left it alone since, and I feel better for it. It’s not easy logistically - swerving the papers, radio, podcasts, work banter, but it’s for the best.

I’ve always dipped into the non-leagues. I’ve got three clubs within walking distance of my flat, and there are at least fifty I can travel to within an hour. It’s nice. It’s a different buzz, but it’s closer to what I first loved about going to the football than the big league is now, and it’s cool seeing new grounds, meeting new people, and just clocking off completely at full-time. I’ve bought a membership at Lancs to keep myself busy, even been getting into a bit of ice hockey.

And there’s still plenty of televised football. My first love was Serie A as a kid, so been throwing myself into that, and I like a bit of Scottish, German and Portuguese football, and the Championship’s obviously the best league in the world, so it’s not a huge lifestyle change really.

See you all in a few months hopefully. All the best.

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Great post, take care bd

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I find this sort of thing genuinely bewildering. That you’ve invested so much of yourself in something that you have absolutely no control of, and no say over, and are even actively exploited by, that you can’t stand to hear even a light-hearted joke at their/your expense. To tie a piece of your MH to it.

It can’t be healthy.

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On the other hand, it’s pretty uninteresting if you aren’t fully in and invested. Oh the odd good goal or ding dong match might catch your interest but unless it matters to you there just isn’t that buzz.

Genuinely feel on cloud nine when scotland win and can be low level background grumpy fot a good while depending on how disappointing a result was; it doesn’t dominate my thoughts but it’s like a background niggle that my mind turns to every now and again. My brain sometimes still harks back to that Seaman save in the return fixture of the scotland england playoff in 1999.

Plus folk get upset about all sorts of things when they’re really into it - football, music, games, books, celebrities and so on.

Personally I’ve always thought i lack a bit of passion and kind of hold myself back from getting too invested in things but with Scotland and to a far lesser extent (for a whole variety of reasons - the fans, the songs, the flag shagging and so on…) Rangers, i just can’t help myself.

Yeah this is me. Wish I could detach myself because my MH is fucked anyway.

this is a very good phrasing of a thing I was aware of and could feel, but was entirely unable to explain

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It’s an interesting point, because when you consider it in the context of the attempted ESL it really shows how fucked up football is. Deloitte published figures about a week ago showing that half of the top 20 richest clubs in the world are in the PL, and that there is a pretty clear trajectory that PL clubs will occupy more of that space in the next 5 years. The PL is basically going to financially strangle every domestic European league over the next decade, even more so than it does now. It will completely dominate viewing figures and sponsorship, and its portion of the global “market” will dwarf that of all the other European leagues combined. The consequences for lots of leagues and clubs, up and down domestic pyramids, will likely be dire. From their perspectives, and not without more objective merit, the likes of Barca, Real and Juventus see the ESL as precisely their attempt to sustain longstanding institutions. Obvs themselves more than their domestic pyramids, but still …

It was all fucked once David Dein called all his mates for a meeting in the early 90s, basically.

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