Friday, 20 June 2014

The footie...

Let me start by saying that I’m not a football fan. I’ve never followed a team in my life and, apart from brief forays into the beautiful game when nationalistic pride demands it, I’m never going to. I do however watch a few big games, particularly when England are playing.

Some might say that I know nothing about football, and indeed some do and have. I think this is unfair. I fully understand the rules of football (yes, even the offside rule) and have watched enough footie in my lifetime to know a foul from a fair tackle, a good from a bad decision, and a great performance from a poor one. I think I have every right to comment on the ref, the player’s performance, and the goals they score without needing to know which teams they play for, the leagues they play in, their goal averages, or even their bloody names.

I’ll continue to watch England’s World Cup performance until the end. I think that they’ve played pretty well; Sturridge and Sterling have been impressive, Hart has been solid, Rooney has been flat despite setting up our goal in the Italy game and scoring last night, and our defence has at times been scrappy. I’d like to blame the referees, but in all honesty they’ve played it straight down the middle and most of their decisions have been good ones. On another day Rooney would have scored from the wild shots he’s taken and Suarez (damn him to hell) would have missed. We just haven’t had the luck.

But then I watch football for the wrong reasons. To me football is just another form of entertainment like a play or a movie, and, as with any form of entertainment, I don’t need to know every actor’s name or their entire acting CV to appreciate a television programme or movie that they’re appearing in. Yes, a football game for me is just that word I’ve been using rather a lot – a performance.

So, why are football devotees so dismissive of people like me? People, who don’t follow the sport, but watch the odd game here and there for fun. Listen, I know an awful lot more about art history than most people. When I look at a painting I can tell its influences, where it fits in the development of art, and more often than not who painted it and when it was painted, I can probably even tell you a little bit about the artist. Of course, I don’t stand around in the pub arguing about the finer points of Pre-Raphaelite painting or if Braque influenced Klee, neither would I tell anybody, that didn’t know much about art, that they were wrong to like a painting simply because they didn’t understand its pedigree and context.

They have as much right to comment on what they see and think as I have, and they don’t need the background knowledge I posses to know what they are seeing. Their opinion is as valid as mine and I believe they have the right to speak out about it.

Not so football fanatics I’m afraid. It seems that anyone who doesn’t live, eat, and breath the sport has no right to comment, and to be honest what’s to understand? It may be a cliché, but at the end of the day it’s just 22 obscenely overpaid men trying to kick a ball into the back of a net to a set of rules and standards. There really is nothing more to know.


  1. Martin A W Holmes on FB
    Play video
    That Mitchell and Webb Look - Football
    Sketch where Ray and Colin argue over football and the use of the word 'we' when discussing it. Season 2 Episode 6 of That Mitchell and Webb Look

  2. Glynne T Kirkham on FB
    I agree with you to a point. I don't think football fans dismiss just people who only dip in and out of football. It goes a lot deeper than that. Football is such a random game at times that any and all opinions can be questioned and usually are.
    Most pundits on the TV talk absolute rubbish. I moan at the Oldham manager for making the wrong subs. Sometimes he's proved right most of the time I'm proved right

    The bit I think you're spot on with is your link to art. It's subjective. You might know the history but I would just look at the painting and say if I liked it or not. My opinion isn't any less valid than yours but I don't have your knowledge of the history side of it.

    I've said to you before that you don't know what your talking about, when you talk about football. But I'd also put you in the same category as Gary Liniker, Garth Crookes, Alan Hansen, Mark Lawrenson, Paul Eddison, Mike Octigan, Neil Fishwick, Mario Ballotelli, Roy Keane, Robbie Savage, Cilla Black, The Chuckle Brothers (I really hate Rotherham) and my next door neighbours. I could go in, but you're not the only one whose opinion on football I question.

  3. Paul Eddison in FB
    Alan Shearer said Costa Rica would be the group whipping boys just two weeks ago!

  4. Andrew Height
    I have no problem with that Glynne, most people question opinions that they don't agree with. I know that I do. For me watching football is just fun. For others it rules their lives. I watch half a dozen matches a year, more than that would drive me cray. I guess supporting a team is a tribal thing.

  5. Andrew Height
    For what it's worth I am sick as a parrot that we are out.

  6. Glynne T Kirkham on FB
    I've not got a season ticket for the first time in 33 years. Football isn't football anymore. It makes me angry more times than it makes me happy. It's corrupt to the core. It's been a business not a sport for a while, but the money is going from the pockets of fans via sky and the clubs into the pockets of idiots like Blatter, Platini and spoilt brats like Rooney. This World Cup has been the first England games I've watched in years. It's made me realise I've made the right decision. Football isn't worth it any more.

  7. Glynne T Kirkham on FB
    I couldn't give a monkeys Andy. Just like the players and management.

  8. Andrew Height
    Even art is about business Glynne, always was. Don't give up on football because of it. It's just entertainment.

  9. Lynda Henderson on FB
    As you know, in the US, we aren't as keen on football (or as we call it soccer.) However in 1994, I went to the World Cup game in Orlando, Florida to see Netherlands v. Morocco. I will never forget it! The crowd was electrifying. In Epcot Center we spent the evening at the British Pub drinking beer with the Dutch! So while I know little about the soccer/football, I think it is a great example of sport bringing people together!

  10. Andrew Height
    Well said Lynda. It can be.

  11. Richard Shore on FB
    I have been watching football for 40 years and, except for 3 games, I have found it about as entertaining as an ITV sit com.

  12. Mel Mackuin on FB
    All very interesting to read -Andrew Height Lynda Henderson and Glynne Kirkham. I agree with all or your comments - seriously!

  13. Andrew Height
    Perhaps nobody knows anything about football.

  14. Laura Keegan on FB
    Spot on

  15. Steve Bishop on FB
    Andrew... agree with you wholeheartedly. I have been going to footy matches since 1966 and still find it an absorbing experience (although in more recent times I have occasionally been bored). I try not to watch the pre-match or post-match "expert" opinions because they trot out the same cliches, I think that most of what they say is banal rubbish which often leaves me bored. I think your analysis of the England performances is SPOT-ON and puts expert opinions to shame. After 50 years of watching footy at schoolboy, youth and club level, you are right... LUCK has a huge impact on each and every game. Peoples opinions" are formed by results (by that I mean that a performance may be identical but a 2-0 loss will result in people stating that the team played awful and need to change, whereas a 2-0 win will have people in raptures and the team are world-beaters. EVERYONE is entitled to an opinion.

  16. Andrew Height on FB
    I watched France last night. They were good, but so were the Swiss at the end.

  17. Steve Bishop on FB
    .... as for the money side of modern day football, DON@T get me started !!!!!!!!!!!!