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.