It’s been a while since the pages of MFW were graced with a guest blog, but they’re back and back with a bang!
City fan and MFW reader Trev ‘Demo’ has let forth on his view of the modern game.
All yours, Trev…
This article has been at the back of my mind for a while.
I can’t tell you whether it was the crassest ‘deadline day’ during a cost-of-living crisis that flipped me, or whether it was watching Norwich being totally outclassed by a team not yet in the Prem.
Equally, it might have been while reading about another potential takeover somewhere, or some Hollywood owners in the Conference or even Leeds sacking a guy charged with keeping them up, who kept them up, for only looking like he’d maybe keep them up.
The 20 clubs in the Premier League would do well to realise that three will have to be relegated no matter what they’ve spent. And in the Championship, only six can either make the playoffs or go up automatically.
Talking of which… did Martin Samuel not realise that had we spent all of our parachute money and more to ‘have a go’, as he described it, we would still have gone down and would probably now be in a bigger muddle than we already are?
But there’s more, so…
Reasons to be sick of football (at the higher levels):
- Squad sizes – 25 as a minimum? Some players are never likely to play (Jordan Hugill for example) let alone the third-choice keepers.
- Throw-ins – Most are clearly foul throws these days but are never called.
- The songs – Most are dull. I know this will come across as heresy but the monotone ’17th of June…1902…’ is dire (in my opinion).
- The time spent watching players laying on the deck after the slightest contact.
- The over-tacticalisation of it all. Remember when offices and board rooms in business went all “blue-sky thinking” “proactive” etc. Well, watching a drab game of football and then reading about the ‘press’ the ‘counter-press’ the ‘half-spaces’ etc is mind-numbingly painful. ‘Playing through the thirds’ used to be called passing, by the way.
- The money involved – Head coaches are fired after a bad month, such is the desperate life-or-death musical chairs of the Premier League. The Championship, in trying to get there, is every bit as bad. The money involved is surely why managers aren’t given time and academy players aren’t given a chance. Last week’s deadline day saw relegation-threatened teams sign players for north of £20m. I like the idea/ideal of our model, but whether it is doable is a separate article for a separate day.
- Gratuitous Transfers – I miss the days of knowing that your squad was your squad and that if you signed a dud on a four-year deal, you better learn to love him. Squad sizes are capped at 25, yet Nottingham Forest have signed 29 players this season.
- Sideways passing – I know I’ll come across as a dinosaur but there are times in a game when goalkeeper to centre-back to centre-back and repeat is not good enough.
- Politics – Why such a dirty industry is so keen to signal its virtue is beyond me. I agree that there is no place for racism and discrimination, but you have to question why an industry that has a workforce that is half-black has just three per cent of non-white managers and head coaches.
- Fans on phones – Can you not put them away for 45 minutes? Do you need to film yourself celebrating a goal? Can we not all check the scores at half-time, and cheer if Ipswich are behind like we used to? Snap-a-gram, Insta-face, and You-need-a-life-Tube can surely wait.
- Substitutes – Currently, teams change half the outfield players during a game. It doesn’t take 30 outfield players to contest a game of football. There’s more that don’t even get on, and even more for games in Europe. If we ever get back into European competition, the City Stand will need to be renamed ‘the bench’.
- Goal kicks – My first goal, as an eight-year-old, was from an opposition goal kick. Attacking players lined up like predators before feeding time at the zoo knowing the poor mite in goal couldn’t clear his box. Now opposition strikers look the same as Tim Krul and two centre-backs do some weird trooping of the guard-type display, before giving it away anyway.
- VAR – It’s cleared up less than a campus doctor in freshers’ week. Meanwhile, spontaneously celebrating a goal is often futile.
- Statistics – xG? Defensive actions? Running metrics. I feel like the Emperor in his new clothes, except I know I’m naked and everyone is saying ‘no, it’s for the best’.
- The Catch-22 situation – The Premier League is like a space capsule about to leave Earth in the event of an apocalypse, and inside are the worst people that ever lived, plus just enough space for your family. Want to be in as it will guarantee survival? Or hold onto your principles, whither and probably die?
These are just some of the thoughts of a grumpy man on a Tuesday morning. Feel free to contest or add.
It is, as they say, still a game of opinions.
So, there you have it. Trev has unleashed. Anything you’d like to get off your chest? The floor is yours…
Dan Rear says
Welcome to the GOM Club, Trev.! I’m with you on all of the above.
martin penney says
Hi Trev – don’t you hold back, say what you think 🙂
One point you make that I heartily agree with is the sanctification of the brave new world of tactical terminology. I feel as if a new language has been constructed around me and personal pride dictates that I should get to grips with it, which I think I’ve done quite successfully.
The only trouble is that having assimilated the *newspeak* I have subconsciously rejected great swathes of it. It reminds me of the rise of gaming, where people in footy-style team shirts attempt to make playing Ludo or Snap seem exciting by creating an ideology around their favourite platform game in order to give it a sprinkling of fake glamour.
In extreme cases some people develop this into the ridiculous concept of cosplay, where the devotee spends absurd amounts of time and money dressing up as their favourite computer generated *character*.
I once did a Pink Un podcast with Michael Bailey and a local cosplay pioneer who let his ideology down a bit by discussing Norwich City as if he were a good guy who knew his football rather than a blue and yellow hedgehog thingy which looked more Splat than Sonic.
We now have writers masquerading as tactical experts who probably think a dugout is a primitive Polynesian canoe. If an ex-player or manager writes such an article I tend to drink it all in with a will to learn something new and I am rarely disappointed.
Neeyul was great at this on Radio Norfolk back in the day and the Marks Walton and Rivers continue to offer great insight whenever they are on air and I employ the tactic of vision from Sky with sound from Chris G and guest.
Just spare me from the pseuds. There are far too many around and they seem to start ’em young!
Ta for an interesting read.
Nice one ole partner, I‘m not sick of football, I just ignore all the gubbins that goes with it. I hit a time warp wall a few years back and very little gets through to me apart from physical old age. I‘m stuck with being a Canary supporter, probably my mum and dads fault, and very little surprises me now. Apart from the Binners I‘m not too bothered about what happens elsewhere in football, the sun will shine on Carrow Rud again not afore too long and that‘s what matters, I care not if you don‘t like the song, OTBC and keep a troshin.
Thanks for having me Gary/MFW.
Feeling a bit more cheery today, so perhaps I should list things about modern football I like. Such as this forum, Paddy Davit, away games on telly sometimes, Emi Buendia and more.
Thanks again. A cathartic process, I’m grateful.
XG is nonsense and don’t get me started on “game state”.
Don Harold says
50/50 scarfs. Put them in the bin.
Throw-Ins are an irritation for me too Trevor. But not for the fact that most “foul throws”, or even that they are usually eventually taken (after several false starts moving along the touchline) 5 metres or more from where the ball went out of play. No. I am on the side of the throwing team. Winning a throw in should be an advantage, but see how many times the opposition end up in possession soon after the throw is taken. The rule needs changing. Either make it a kick in, or have the opposition be 10 metres away for the throw – though that would mean a lot more foul throws!
Tim Ball says
I too harken back to the days of my youth Trev.
None of this ” we have got a massive game versus….Whoever.. in our attempt to finish 17th in the EPL this season on Saturday, so we will field a weakened side for our up and coming Cup Semi-final tomorrow”
What a load of old 💩
When every game meant something, like two great battles with Man U in the semi-final of the League Cup. Or whatever it was called then. Probably just The League Cup.
Okay the grounds were (see above emoji) and if you looked even slightly wrongly at an opposing fan expect some abuse… or even worse.
But you could pay on that day with cash at the turnstiles. It didn’t matter if it was cup or league, no quarter given, well except 15th January 1972. FA Cup Norwich 0 Hull 3, But we will let that pass, just this once. It was in a very good cause 😂
I agree with nearly all of your thoughts, especially your analogy for promotion this year, it would be like winning a million pound but can’t have it until you are aged 85.
I agree that the subject of can self-funding work is a debate for another day, I am definitely in the NO camp.
Some of the fouls ( “falls”) by players are so bad that I start looking for the sniper in the crowd. And watch Graeme Souness face when his fellow pundits talk about “passing through the lines” lets say he isn’t amused.
Many years ago my wife said to me that now Manchester City are owned by a country how are they going to get around the FFP rules, easy I said just sponsor every home game at a billion pound a time. Looks like that may not have worked.
I hate the inequality in football but unlike Delia I prefer to live in the real world, and as we all have to and just live with it.
Gone are the days where she can look into a mirror and say “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the wealthiest owner in the Football League ?” I’m afraid it will take more than a juicy red apple to get rid of your competition these days.
And as for the transfer madness lets hope none of Chelsea’s latest recruits who are on 8 year contracts are anything like one Winston Bogarde who played 9 times in four years at Chelsea and refused to go anywhere else in that time. He was reported as saying ” that money was mine as soon as I signed for the club”
What would The Great Duncan Forbes think of that ?😱😱😱
The game is losing its identity as it becomes Americanised with buzzwords and useless statistics. The most ridiculous is the assist -if you create a chance you shouldn’t be judged on the result, managers should watch the game to make judgement. Basic rules are being changed to suit VAR which has become an excuse for the officials to give whatever decision they want,usually to the side with the most money. Football “experts” are greedy ex players,not good enough to be coaches who can only fawn over the more established players. The World Cup was a disgrace, we have just lost Pele and now we see Messi and co gloating in the opposition’s faces over penalty wins- sportsmanship is dead.
Massive transfer fees are being written off, hundreds of millions when there is so much poverty in the world. It used to be the people’s game.
But if we get promoted….
Our game has become a business…more and more faceless and sterile with a diminishing emotional attachment.
Oh , come on it’s MOG .aka ………
Football is dying.