We all get annoyed about certain things in football, from the myopia of the linesman to the tight-fisted penny-pinching of the chairman, there’s always something that grinds our gears. For all the joy the game can provide, there is at least as much vexatious rubbish to create an internal rage, thus balancing our pleasure and restoring an unsettlingly mediocre equilibrium.
As such, it’s time to take a moment and consider the tedious, annoying, tiresome, infuriating, aggravating and troublesome aspects of the world’s favourite sport. The list below is but 5 tedious things/people/objects long, but it could of course have easily been a top 100 annoying things in football, be they irrational or understandable, we all have our numerous pet hates, so, without any further to do, here are my top 5 things that grind my gears about modern day football.
1. Sepp Blatter
Qatar 2012. No use of technology. Abolishing draws. Widening goals. World Cups every two years. The list of Blatter’s unwelcome and downright stupid ideas could go on. An extremely dubious, venal, bureaucrat with a tendency to insult people in a Prince Philip style (women wearing skimpy shorts, gay people shouldn’t be worried about Qatar’s laws forbidding homosexuality), Blatter is one of the few figures in world football who stirs up the same feelings in fans everywhere – frustration and annoyance.
If we have this self-aggrandising Machiavelli in charge of our game how can we progress? He has cleverly positioned himself at the very top of football governance in such a way that he is above criticism; he instructs his acolytes to investigate any accusation of wrong-doing and surprise, surprise, he is always exonerated of any blame. Unfortunately, the 74-year-old has announced his intention to stand for the FIFA presidency again in 2011, and as he’s surrounded himself with his cronies,we may well have to put up with him for a while yet.
2. Boring Bowl Stadia
As great as it as that fans at the Emirates have more leg room than was available in the royal box at the old Wembley, it doesn’t change the fact that Arsenal’s relatively new stadium, for all its easy access, electronic tickets systems and vast capacity, is desperately lacking in atmosphere. The club have tried to make the Emirates more homely than the anonymous bowl it started as, with an ‘Arsenalization’ process that has included installing a large clock at one of the ground, aping the famous Clock End at Highbury.
It’s nice to try, but the truth is these identikit, vast bowl designs have taken away a lot of what made each football ground unique. Manchester City’s Eastlands, Leicester’s Walker’s Bowl, sorry, Stadium, Derby’s Pride Park, Coventry’s Ricoh, all of these stadia are nice and new(ish), with unobstructed views and some lovely corporate boxes, but the atmosphere is lacking.
The likes of Spurs and Liverpool have gradually updated their older stadia, and have maintained the character, individuality and atmosphere of their traditional homes; sadly both clubs are looking to move into new stadia soon. But Spurs at least have an interesting way of bucking the trend: one of their end stands in a proposed new stadium will be one giant tier, to break up the bowl and leave a home for the hardcore support.
While the bowl is understandable from an accountant’s point of view, bowl = higher capacity = more fans = more money, it’s homogeneous design is a blight on the landscape of British football.
This inconspicuous set of bones in the foot have become the bane of footballers’ and fans’ lives since the dawn of the new millennium. Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Scott Parker, Ashley Cole, Danny Murphy and Michael Owen have all spent time out with metatarsal injuries, and it seems we must not drink enough milk in England’s pleasant land, as our footballers seem to have a particular susceptibility to this kind of injury.
Cue desperate dashes to make World Cups and making the cut, only to play at a standard nowhere near their best for the whole tournament, or indeed just missing the tournament altogether. Still, I suppose it has at least given us yet more excuses as to why we didn’t win the World Cup through desperate bad luck, so… every cloud.
Last year, Lord Sugar, previously Sir Alan Sugar, previously that bloke from Amstrad, released his autobiography. Lord Sugar is 63 years old, he has quite some story to tell – 45 years working, from the back of a van in Hackney, to the creation of Amstrad, to becoming a millionaire, working on The Apprentice and become a peer, Alan Sugar has a real story to tell.
Ashley Cole, by contrast, released his autobiography aged 25 in 2006; the only story he had to tell was a pathetically self-indulgent one about how poorly he’d been treated by Arsenal. Trite and very put-downable, Cole’s ‘My Defence’, sold a measly 4,000 copies in the first six weeks of sale – telling you everything you need to know about modern footballers penchant for early book-form discussions of themselves.
I’m not saying football autobiographies are a bad thing in themselves, there are some excellent ones out there such as Brian Clough’s ‘Cloughie: Walking on Water’ and Niall Quinn’s excellent effort, but players should wait till the end of their career before they fill us in on the highs and lows of their footballing lives.
5. Goal Celebration Music
My favourite noise following my team scoring a goal, is the roar of the crowd – that euphoric feeling that rushes through the veins when your team scores is released in a shared primal scream of unbridled joy by thousands of people; the fist-pumping, heart-racing expression of ‘COME ON!’ and the unstoppable jumping up and down like a child high on E numbers all adds to the clamour.
My least favourite noise when my team scores is the screeching tones of Tina Turner bellowing out, ‘SIMPLY THE BEST!’, or the unrealistically optimistic words of James Browne ‘I FEEL GOOD, I KNEW THAT I WOULD’, or even the laddish, knockabout indie dross of Chelsea Dagger. It’s not a sing-a-long, mass choir version of karaoke, it’s football – let the fans do the screaming and shouting.