So you’ve had my list of footballing pleasures, but what do I really hate about the beautiful game?
Really, why is this happening? Once upon a time football was a good honest sport, and players would only go down under the strongest of challenges. Nowadays we see footballers throwing themselves down at the slightest touch, and sometimes even without having any contact with an opposing player. It’s cheating, it’s wrong, and it’s pathetic.
2- Long ball game
It can be effective (see Wimbledon’s fairytale rise of the 1980s), but long ball football is dull and ugly. I’d much prefer to see a team play with intricate passing and flowing movement, than hoofing it up to a big target man who heads it on to a team-mate. You can’t argue with results, but it’s called the beautiful game for a reason!
3- Bore draws
Speaking of dull… 0-0 draws. There’s an inescapable feel of disappointment and unfulfillment that comes when the final whistle sounds on a goalless match. Usually these games are boring (though there are some exceptions), and when you look back at the end of the game you think “what was the point?” Both teams in exactly the same state as they were 90 minutes ago. Pointless and frustrating.
4- England being rubbish
England usually qualify for the major tournaments in comfortable fashion (for argument’s sake let’s not discuss Steve McClaren’s Euro 2008 debacle). Yet when they arrive on the big stage, the Three Lions always flatter to deceive. Usually a lively start followed by a wobble, a dreadful goalkeeping error, a prat of a referee, too much media pressure, a reluctance to change tactics when it’s going wrong. The list goes on. England have a squad of world class players, yet they always falter. The wait for a major trophy could go on for quite some time yet.
5- Last minute defeats
As a Scunthorpe United supporter, I’ve suffered this on many an occasion. Just when you think your team might hold out for a valuable point, and they fail to deal with a ball into the box and the opposition score. One of the worst feelings in football. Total deflation, anger, sorrow. Makes me sad just thinking about it.
6- Bad tackling
Tackling seems to have become an ancient relic of times gone by. In modern day football you seldom see a player skidding across the turf and cleanly hooking the ball from an advancing striker. Instead, we are now seeing a plethora of ill-timed and wild lunges. Nigel de Jong, I’m looking at you. The Manchester City midfielder is one of the best defensive players in the world, and really he has no need to be leaving his boot in or going in too hard. It endangers the safety of fellow professionals, and is a blight on the sport.
7- Plastic supporters
Plastic as in not real. Fake. I’m of the old school theory that you should support your local team. As previously stated, I support Scunthorpe United. People may laugh, but I’m proud. The best ones are those that sneer at the idea of supporting a struggling Championship side who have never been in the top flight and have never won any major trophy, and then announce that they support Manchester United. Interestingly, they’re probably from Essex or Berkshire, have never been to Manchester, and have no idea what the Stretford End is. Idiots.
8- Inept referees
Everybody makes mistakes. But if say, a journalist continuously defames celebrities in their articles, or persistently churns out copy laden with grammatical errors and typos, they’ll get sacked. So why are referees allowed to swan around football pitches of the globe making pathetic errors, and often playing up to the cameras. Supporters come to watch the football, not the ref. Of course, the situation would be made so much easier if FIFA moved with the times and introduced video technology to aid the officials. But Sepp Blatter won’t entertain the idea, he just wants female footballers to wear tighter shorts. Or something.