The Beautiful Game

It’s easy to start writing an article when something has pushed your buttons, we all enjoy having a rant about football. Are you a Manchester United fan? Let’s jump all over something that a former Liverpool player has said. Are you an Arsenal fan? Quick, attack Tottenham. In many ways, I suppose, it’s more fun to debate than to stand around agreeing with each other.

This week the football world came together in mourning at the sad passing of Ugo Ehiogu, it’s the same whenever anything like this happens. As I saw the tributes pour in on TV and social media I came to realise that there’s much more that unites us than divides us. We all turn up in droves to watch our beloved teams, it’s an excellent bonding experience for families, we subscribe to satellite TV packages (without even knowing how often our teams are going to feature) and we come together when circumstances dictate. I’m speaking in general terms, you’ll always get the odd moron singing about Hillsborough or Munich but I don’t consider these to be people. This website alone has over 15,000 newsletter subscribers, I’ve only ever met one of them, and the beautiful game has brought us all to this place.

In spite of the togetherness it brings, football gets a bad rap. If a person doesn’t like our sport they immediately criticise the money involved in football – it’s easy to pick a sporting idiot and say if he didn’t have so much money he wouldn’t be a scumbag. To these people I say just have a walk down the road, proportionately you’ll encounter just as many undesirables, their money is irrelevant. I’m pretty sure I’d dislike John Terry if he was penniless, not that I’d have heard of him. Is the amount of money the tops stars get paid obscene? Yes, of course, especially when you compare it to the average person’s wages. My question to you is who should get the money? The boardroom big wigs? The money is there so the people responsible for it should get it. These high earners often receive honours for their charity work, they also pay huge sums in income tax so let’s not be too critical.

Another criticism football gets is the violence that inevitably follows it around like a bad smell, I’ve witnessed it personally. I hope that the less impressionable people in our society can see that these cretins would be causing havoc if football had never been invented. A nightclub with a hundreds of revellers will have the odd person thrown out, it would be interesting to see those statistics and compare them to football.

I mentioned the family day out, I’m sure the readers with children will be screaming at the screen. Yes, it’s expensive at the higher levels, all popular leisure events are – it’s basic supply and demand and it isn’t exclusive to football. I’m a season ticket holder at Old Trafford, perhaps if I have children I’d have to rethink that position. I could decide to attend lower league games, if I do I won’t start moaning about how expensive top level football is, in the same way as I don’t moan about the price of a first class aeroplane ticket. I simply pay as much as I can afford for anything I do.

So, tonight I’ll be keeping my eye on all the games going on. I’ll watch Twitter and Facebook light up with excitement every time something interesting happens – I’ll also be following Ian’s tips and seeing if I can pay for this weekend’s beer with the proceeds.

Here’s to the beautiful game, enjoy.

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