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.