Features

I've loved football for decades. Now I dread the start of the season

Sorry, but the middle-class snobs are right

8 August 2015

9:00 AM

8 August 2015

9:00 AM

What a terrific summer of sport it’s been: a wonderful Wimbledon, a rollicking Royal Ascot, an absorbing Ashes series that still has the best part of two Tests to go. And now along comes football, barging its way on to the back pages, shoving the other sports aside, sniggering all the way to the bank.

Every August, the ‘beautiful game’ reasserts itself as the playground bully. Football is the most popular sport in this country — and the nastiest. It has become a cesspit of greed, debauchery and racism, especially in Britain. It is crude and overbearing and has all the subtlety of a disco at Holy Communion.

I feel bad about this because I love football. It was the only thing at which I was reasonably good at school; a photo of me interviewing Bobby Charlton in the 1980s has pride of place at home and I even wrote a non-bestseller about the 1998 World Cup.

I spent decades defending football from those who thought the players were awful and their fans worse. I put that attitude down to snobbery; disdain for the simple pleasures of the working man.

Now I’ve given up. Football is rotten and there’s no point denying it any more. The penny dropped on seeing the footage of Souleymane Sylla, a black Frenchman on his way home from work in Paris, being pushed off a train by snarling Chelsea fans fuelled by drink and hate. The news played it over and over again after the men’s trial last month; it looked worse with each viewing.


Then Frankfurt and Leeds fans attacked each other on the pitch after what was meant to be a ‘friendly’ between the two sides, just before the Special One, Chelsea manager José Mourinho, called the Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez a fatty and recommended that Mrs Benitez holds off on the sugar in her hubby’s coffee.

Pre-season, they call it, which is another way of admitting that football is pretty much an all-year affair. Long gone are the days when Denis Compton could open for Middlesex and England in the summer and play on the wing for Arsenal in winter.

Most of the big clubs head off for a lucrative tour of America or the Far East in June, a fundraising exercise to help pay the likes of Liverpool’s Mario Balotelli £90,000 a week to sulk on the pitch and discharge his nostrils of phlegm when he leaves it. Or contribute to Raheem Sterling’s £160,000 a week at Manchester City — which should at least keep the 20-year-old nicely supplied with balloons and gas canisters for any future ‘hippy crack’ sessions.

Mind you, Sterling does still seem keen enough to kick a ball around — unlike Shaun Wright-Phillips, who picked up £60,000 a week for doing precisely nothing at QPR after refusing to go out on loan. And we get cross about benefit cheats.

Don’t believe all the guff about how our league is the best in the world. The players are always quick to say that — so would you be if that sort of money was dropping into your pension pot. Last season’s Premiership was a damp squib compared with Spain’s La Liga, and the technical ability of the teams in Germany’s Bundesliga is just as high as ours. Football in England is like the property market in London — inflated and almost entirely dominated by foreigners.

It’s not as if the national side benefits from the migration. At least in the old days we used to exit World Cups on penalties in the quarters (or even the semis in 1990); now the lads are on the plane home after the group stage. ‘Gutted’, of course, as they head off for Dubai and Barbados.

It’s an unedifying spectacle from top to bottom — but mostly at the top, where the big cheese, Sepp Blatter, has been shown a string of red cards but still refuses to leave the field; where Gordon Taylor, the 70-year-old boss of the footballers’ union (whose pay and benefits package is almost £3.4 million a year), calls for a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to gambling among footballers and then chalks up debts of his own of £100,000; and where the Arsenal and Chelsea managers fail to shake hands at the end of Sunday’s Charity Shield, a match ostensibly to raise money for good causes.

Sorry, Gary, but I’m just not feeling the love for the beautiful game any more.

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Show comments
  • ill-liberal

    ‘A cesspit of racism’ ??? You should put this in the New Statesman.

    I play football at amateur level, watch football live and ‘down the boozer’ and I have never once seen an incident of racism. One incident and the press went crazy.

    Completely spoiled an otherwise decent article.

    • mohdanga

      “One incident and the press went crazy.” Of course they did because it’s an excuse to pillory whites as racist. Racist attacks on whites never occur in non-white countries, do they? They never seem to see the racism in their Muslim buddies carrying signs saying “Death to the Jews” in the main streets of London. Just a little ‘cultural enrichment’, that’s all…..

  • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

    High level soccer is a disgrace. The primadonnas paid like renaissance princes give it a bad enough name. However, in the amateur and semi-pro leagues it is still a joy.
    The Premier league and top European leagues are indeed a cesspit, spoiled by money, money, money in a way not even F1, Boxing or Cycling have been debased.
    I weaned myself off the whole sorry spectacle a few years back, by simply ignoring it. I never read the back pages of papers ,looked away during sports sections of the news, refused to enter conversations at work or in the pub in relation to this dreadful waste of my time. That year I read 28 books instead of 10 or so and I felt a great relief at caring not one jot for who played for whom and who was where in the pecking order/ money tree.
    Now I am cured. I follow the tribulations of Torquay Utd, but not with any lavish fervour or devotion. I can recommend this detox method to anyone disillusioned with this corrupt and pointless circus.

    • KingJon

      You clearly don’t follow Torquay Utd very closely and know little about the ‘amateur and semi pro leagues’ in which they compete.

      Football at this level is a mimic of that at the higher level. Eastleigh for instance having come from the depths of non league football to the gates of the football league thanks to the millions of a rich backer. They have thrown silly money on ageing pros looking for one last big contract and hoovered up the best players at that level just because they can pay bigger wages than anyone else, pushing the demands of the average player up in the process. You can only do well at this level if you have the financial backing.

      Forest Green are another, little more than a village side really, bank rolled by that Eco loon you probably love, dale Vince.

      Clubs like Torquay can’t compete and have faced the financial consequences. But then you would know all this if you really were ‘cured’.

      • Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        I know quite a bit. Torquay border on full professional. I am thinking of the six the and seventh tiers of the game. A pal of mine helps run Taunton Town , their FA Vase win about 12 years ago was a proper day out.

    • right1_left1

      I bet you have never been in a pub in your life.
      I bet you were dining out at some overpriced bistro.

      • vieuxceps2

        Inverted snobbery?

        • right1_left1

          How dare you !
          I actually met Yvonne and Stuart at Hi de Hi camp located just outside Skeggy.
          Lovely couple.
          We enoyed a glass or two of Blue Nun then chasseyed back to the chalet to complete the evening’s ballroom fun.

          • Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Go Continental.

          • greencoat

            Barry’s collection of garden gnomes and Yvonne’s array of sequined loo-roll covers are a sight to behold.

      • Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        Badly wrong. I was brought up in a pub. Perhaps that’s why I despise it now. But I love darts.

    • Callan

      Can’t understand your condemnation of High Level football. What is it about shirt pulling, spitting, mobbing the referee, elbows in the face, diving, feigning injury and all in wrestling at corners that is so very reprehensible, in your eyes, about the beautiful game?

  • KingEric

    As I read the article, I nodded in agreement with almost every negative point raised ( with the exception of a “cesspit of racism” comment – there is the occasion it raises it’s head but not enough to warrant it being a cesspit) but still, I am looking forward to the start of the season. I want to see how my team gets on, if the summer signings bed in, still hoping out rivals fail and most of all, still enjoy watching it.
    Unfortunately for the haters, most fans are like me. They moan about the level of transfer fees, players wages, the amount agents take out the game and feel like vomiting when reminded about the amount of money the obnoxious Gordon Taylor extracts for not very much but they are still get excited by the game itself. Until the oldies like myself get to old to go to games or die out, ( the demographic of those attending matches keeps rising as they are theonly ones that afford to keep going) I can’t see it changing much.

    • right1_left1

      As things stand ‘oldies’ like me, sort of intelligent working class and never that well off when employed but the recipent of a decent pension ( relative to working class incomes ) are the only peeps who can afford to do anything.
      Keeping on topic that doesnt include watching football.

      Can I say; I cant stand hearing/watching the theatrical luvvies either
      If I had to choose between watching a footballer spitting, chewing gum surrepticiously trying to damage an opponents legs
      or
      listening to Helen Mirren Julie Walters and male types whose names I forget I would be faced with a difficult dilemma.

  • Jim

    As a working class person (with a job) I must say I can’t bear football. The game itself is ok in principle but there is far too much shouting, spitting and swearing. And whilst a private company may pay its employees whatever it likes, I don’t want to hear about it since they don’t deserve to be so handsomely rewarded for their efforts, it makes me envious, so as a right-winger I choose to avoid it wherever possible.
    Not sure football is a ‘cesspit of racism’ though. Run by people who act like children, racism is exaggerated wildly, and someone must regularly be sacrificed for the cause of anti-racism.

    • Fried Ch’i

      You’ve not told us yet what is actually wrong with any of that, lass.

      • Jim

        If you address me properly without doing a poor impersonation of the viceroy I may answer you. And do try to avoid upvoting you own posts, It is a poor show.

        • Fried Ch’i

          I addressed you properly, lass.
          It is I who asked the question.
          Now tell us what is f e * k i n wrong with any of that.
          Take your time. When you avoid other distractions you might manage to cobble together a worthwhile response.

          • Jim

            Fail.

          • Fried Ch’i

            You see, this is precisely why you do.

          • blandings

            You forgot to upvote your own post Abdul.
            You’re getting senile.

  • Nuahs87

    I like football. Yes, the premier league is over-hyped and yes footballers are paid at a level that is unsustainable if people crack down on the foreign billionaires money laundering. However, it is still a cracking day out for people of all ages, male or female and there is a lot of good work done by the clubs in the community.

    As for racism, the number of incidents is not really higher than in general society if you take into account how many people actually attend games over the course of a weekend. It isn’t perfect, but it isn’t awful either.

  • njt55

    It’s Cricket and Rugby for me. They keep me happy all year round and I have no need or desire to turn my attention to Football. I’d have to look up who won the Football Premiership last season.

    • Kennybhoy

      Footbal. Rugby. Cricket. Rowing. All Good! 🙂

    • Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      Rugby is football. Soccer is not.

      • Wessex Man

        You have too much time on your hands.

        • Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          What would you have me do instead?

          • Wessex Man

            nothing would be nice.

  • right1_left1

    I dont watch much football.
    I did watch the woman playing in their championship recently.
    Oddly the americans were very good.
    Big strong gals. hehehehehhe
    Female sprinters poised on the starting blocks are worth watching too.

    I have to say that one day watching a match brought home to me what a nasty person I am.
    A substitute was preparing to go on the pitch for England .
    I looked up.
    He was black.
    My instinctive response was: i dont want any UK national sporting team to be black.
    Sorry but thats my opinion.

    adding: watching the the combatants hugging and almost kissing does nothing to improve my indigestion.

  • Fraser Bailey

    Well, yes, but we have known this for years. Even as a football obsessive and former season ticket holder etc I have more or less refused to put money directly into the game since 1996. The two exceptions were tickets for St Pauli and Ajax. But it is great to be able to watch the games that matter for the price of the cheapest available drink in the pub.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Sad loser.

  • right1_left1

    Why the author thinks only middle class snobs dont like football escapes me.

    Where I live if say the cup final is ‘on’ any pub that doesnt show it is packed with philosophers thinkers deviants and scoundrals…and Im there to keep an eye on things.

  • DennisMcScumbag

    What is the point in having a national team if so many of them are black Africans. It is as vacuous as your local club, owned by foreigners and staffed by foreigners. At least when you watch Japan etc play you are actually watching Japan etc play.

    • Callan

      Ah yes, Japan. But the Japanese have not allowed their country to become a wonderful vibrant, multi cultural, diverse midden, erm I mean country. .

      • Fried Ch’i

        And the English cannot comprehend that approach to life which is why e v e r y t h i n g Japanese is alien to them.

        • Jackthesmilingblack

          You’ve just hit the nail between the eyes.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Experimenting with irony, Cal?
        Jack, Japan Alps, the only Brit in the village.

    • Faulkner Orkney

      Please name the ‘black Africans’ playing for England…I’m aware of lots of black Englishmen which, I hope, you fully support.

      • right1_left1

        i dont !!!
        I posted as much on this thread but I was ‘sent off.
        aka ‘sense ored.’

      • Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        Nobody mentioned England. Black Africans would not qualify to play for England.

      • Partner

        oh come off it.

      • Hagen vanTronje

        You cannot have a Black Englishman, the best you can hope for is a black skinned holder of a British Passport.

        • Jackthesmilingblack

          That you Jock? Or some other narrow-minded, xenophobic racist bigot?

          • Hagen vanTronje

            No Sambo, it is another Racist Bigot than the ones that you are used to.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Shot yourself in the foot, didn’t you!

          • Hagen vanTronje

            Shoot you in the foot more like, but not at night though because blacks are a difficult target during nighttime except if they open their eyes then, Blam !.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Meet Hagen, the xenophobic racist bigot.
            I only intimate I’m Black to make myself more popular.

        • mohdanga

          Exactly right. If my parents were living in China when I was born would that make me Chinese? Or a white with a Chinese passport? Even if I adopted Chinese habits of eating dim sum, respecting no personal space, and spitting in the streets would that make me ‘Chinese’?

          • Hagen vanTronje

            You could never be Chinese, you would be a white with a Chinese Passport.

        • Jackthesmilingblack

          Not another racist bigot.

    • Kennybhoy

      Just. Fuck. Off…

      • right1_left1

        Why dont you stop swearing and learn that opinions with which you disagree may be still expressed.

        How much longer that freedom will last im not sure.
        The rot has set in even on this site.

        The only site I know where anything can be said is Utoob.
        Not surprisingly many of your low calibre post there !

        • Wessex Man

          Hah hah hah…………………………

      • Kennybhoy

        It is my considered opinion that the utterly vile, racist, Jew hating wee fucker should just. fuck. off! And so should you!

        • right1_left1

          you great big tit.
          It looks as though you hit the wrong reply button.
          That’s made my day that has !

          • Kennybhoy

            It is my considered opinion that the utterly vile, racist, Jew hating wee fucker should just. fuck. off! And so should you!!

            “That’s made my day that has !”

            Easily pleased. Why am I not surprised…?

          • Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            I quite like him, but then I am fond of great big tits.

          • right1_left1

            Barry, everybody knows what you like and it’s not big titts.
            Ornithological or anatomical.

            No wonder Yvonne is so uptight the poor dear.

        • Jackthesmilingblack

          Hitting the juice again, Kenny?

    • Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      Italy was the only team at the World cup with 23 players all from their own domestic league.

      • Labour_is_bunk

        Look where it got them….

        • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

          The Final and a World Ranking of third with four World Cup wins. Yes, clearly the wrong route.

        • Labour_is_bunk

          Ah whoops… I had the last World Cup in mind. Apologies.

          (Ain’t too proud to wipe egg off face).

    • Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      I would imagine the Ivory Coast and Nigeria can easily see the point of a national team of Black Africans.

    • Rajpdxusa

      You’re confusing “national” with “racist”

      Probably just a bit thick.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Talking of thick, are players in European/South American teams rather better educated than the players in English teams?

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Interesting comment, Dennis.
      A mystery to me how nationalistic English football fans can be so patriotic with such a large percentage of non-British players in the teams.

    • mohdanga

      Yup, exactly right. I wonder if Nigeria has any white players, imported for the sole reason of playing for the national squad?

  • Callan

    Wright Phillips picking up 60,000 pounds for not playing reminds me of an ex Liverpool footballer Michael Robinson who was transferred to a Spanish club, the name of which escapes me. He was badly injured and was told his playing days were over. He still had 2 years remaining on what was at that time, a lucrative contract. He told his club that in all honesty he could not draw a salary for two years for doing nothing. He cancelled his contract. Integrity, as rare as hens teeth in todays Premier League.
    As an aside, someone told me recently these obscene wages for Premier League footballers, as quoted here, are paid “after tax”. Can this be true?

    • Mystified Man

      No, the wages quoted are before tax.

    • Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      Very little tax gets paid.

      • ManOfKent

        If the likes of Wayne Rooney paying £560,000 a month in tax and NI is ‘very little’ then I suppose you are right!

        • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

          Rooney has been at the forefront of at least three major tax avoidance schemes since 2011. One reduced his tax bill to just 2%. While the Ingenious Media scheme was designed to avoid over £340 million by pretending to make movies.
          Rooney is a major tax dodger like most very rich people.

  • EnosBurrows

    Football “the nastiest”? You really ought to try croquet for serious nastiness. Bridge is up there as well.

    • Standish79

      One must admit that not much is reported about croquet fans on the rampage through our towns, smashing up shops and pubs with their mallets and pinning the police to lawns with spare hoops. If it happens then it’s very much a niche form of hooliganism, practised only by the likes of the Bullingdon Club. As for bridge, I’m in complete agreement about what a vicious game it is but its stars are mostly too frail to cause a real fracas.

    • Jolyon Wagg

      Try flower arranging.

  • Mark

    This a disgrace just because working class people which the majority of footballers are they can’t be rich who do you think t BT and sky pay so much money to watch the players not the clubs how much money do you think Wayne Rooney makes for united a lot and you snobs want the rich lawyers and chief execs and owners to keep you people are a disgrace stick to your sports no one cares about

    • vieuxceps2

      Any danger of a translation please?

      • Mark

        Sorry haha basically why should the rich people behind the club make all the money the players are making the club look how much ronaldo makes r Madrid if anything footballers should earn more we pay to watch them its all because they are poor kids who have a chance to be rich I’m not the best explainer

        • vieuxceps2

          Thank you ,Mark.

          • Mark

            Did that make sense cos I’m tying my best ha

          • davidofkent

            It helps if you use some punctuation. English is not an inflected language, so punctuation and syntax is essential.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Think I get the flavour. Problem is that so many thick adolecent males think there’s no need for them to study, academic results don’t matter, because they are going to be a well-remunerated professional footballer.
      Dream on, kid. The ratio that make the grade must be less than one in a hundred.

  • Yiannis

    Worst part of football is the Oik worship as mentioned once by Peter Hitchens. Women drool over these thickos as if they are gods when they can find this kind of calibre male in any run down pub/club on a Friday/Sat night. Tells you a lot about todays society. Well classy innit

    • Wessex Man

      You poor jealous boy.

      • Yiannis

        I’m afraid not you poor loser – get a life or a bird atleast to keep you occupied ..another male doesn’t count even though it may be up your street..

  • Faulkner Orkney

    I no longer care about football because the players don’t care…as the meerkat would say, simples.

  • jim

    “….a cesspit of greed, debauchery and racism…”

    So it’s not all bad then?

    • Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      No it is worse than that. Tribal, superficial, all consuming, trivial,offering false hope, football is a shameful pantomime of oafs and bores.

      • jim

        True enough…but people who don’t like football are prissy sanctimonious,gender bending effete twinks.

    • mohdanga

      Don’t forget ‘sexist’ and ‘Islamophobic’!!

  • Commenthead

    Great article. I used to love it too. Now it’s a festival of utter charmlessness.

  • Matthew Stevens

    If it makes you feel any better, I read ‘Lost in France’ and thought it was actually quite good!

    • Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      The Bonnie Tyler epic?

  • Bob Hutton

    Football is a yobs game, played by yobs, watched by yobs.

    • davidofkent

      Football is as good a game as any other. Professional football is another matter completely. It is certainly played by grossly overpaid yobs and managed by people who appear to have a very limited intelligence, if their TV appearances are anything to go by. The problem with professional football is quite simple – money.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Local football is also thoroughly unpleasant. As an ex-ref i can tell you that there are no longer any games that are a pleasure to take part in.

        • Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          I used to hate the pushy, gobby dads on the touchline at my son’s under 11s games. Labouring under an illusion their own boy was the next Beckham and treating every kick about as if it really mattered.

      • ManOfKent

        And how many corporate sponsors of professional football have you boycotted in the last 5 years?

        Personally I think it is those who froth about the failings of professional football (in similar terms to the writer of this piece) who then likely unknowingly and unthinkingly facilitate the problem by putting money in the coffers of the sports corporate sponsors that are the ones with the ‘very limited intelligence’.

        Now you don’t happen to subscribe to Sky or BT by any chance do you? Bought any Pepsi or Coca-Cola products lately?

    • right1_left1

      Eric Cantona said: where the seagulls fly one will often find fish.
      Is that intelligent enough for you ?

      In case you dont know Cantona is an intellectual footballer who is not afraid when they deserve it to kick somebody’s ‘ed in
      He would make a good Minister for Justice.

    • Kennybhoy

      Aye weel that’s me sorted then! lol 🙂

      • Wessex Man

        Amazing isn’t it? Mr Hutton has probably never set foot in a Football Club but can offer up such devastating views, I will be happy to walk into my Club and although in the fourth tier know they, the players will give it all they have got to get a result for us.

        I will be sure to tell all the old female supporters that have been there supporting the Club since I was boy that they are such “yobs.”

        Closed minds and all of that much like my closed mind when it comes to the players of another ball sport when drunk having a little person throwing competition or swimming naked in habours or like in another ball sport urinating in the gardens of 10 Downing Street!

        • Kennybhoy

          Wholeheartedly agree. This appalling prejudice among the population at large, incidentally, is the true root of the Hillsborough catastrophe… 🙁

        • Jackthesmilingblack

          “Mr Hutton has probably never set foot in a Football Club…”
          That’s a Brit for you. Making assumptions (usually negative) about a person they know nothing about.

    • ManOfKent

      And given the prices charged by many top clubs these days extremely well paid yobs they are too. Certainly too well paid to be considered working class anyway.

    • wince

      It may be perceived to have become so. The players of the past were gentlemen to a man such as the brothers Charlton, or Moore, Mathews, etc. There is no values left in the game. It has become a violent clash of egos and bad hairstyle (and lifestyle) choices and is much more akin to cage fighting, with a football and goalposts being involved somewhere along the way. The objective of getting the ball past the posts remains but the means of achieving that with skillful elegance or any concept of sportsmanship, has been lost.

      I suspect if cross-examined, most would-be footballers would admit that the reason for wishing to be professionals was so they could own a fleet of luxury cars and to have sex and drugs parties on yachts; whereas once it might have been to win the championship for Rovers, or perhaps, the World Cup for England/Scotland/Ireland.

    • Labour_is_bunk

      In cricket and rugby, you get “a better class of yobbo”.

  • Fraziel

    I discovered recently that Liverpool football club doesnt even pay many of its non footballing staff the living wage. Minimum wage is whats paid. Now i understand some small business struggling to pay the living wage of £7.80 an hour but Liverpool football club? Awash with money and representing a city known for its socialist support past and present.

    I wonder just what Liverpudlians would think about that if they knew. The ones who dont have any interest in football would be outraged i imagine but the football fans would shrug and go to the games as normal. Its an obscenity that footballers get the wages they get and some big clubs wont even pay the living wage. I now no longer watch EPL football for a variety of reasons but thats one that really stood out.

  • mully1999

    Setting aside all the peripheral negative aspects of salary, behaviour etc etc the modern game in the UK is just plain boring. There are many more interesting sports out there than soccer, with few exceptions the matches are like watching paint dry and most of the players look like they are just putting in time, souless and passionless I would call the premier league. A haven for stats nerds to regurgitate facts and figures about a sport which currently seems devoid of beauty or art.

  • davidshort10

    Whoever wrote the headline is an idiot. The writer is saying there is no ‘season’, for Christ’s sake. This is why I hate football more than ever I did. It is so dominating. Money talks and it talks loud. In every bloody pub.

  • Dominic Stockford

    I’m with you, Mark. I was a player for years, then become a ref, up to early rounds of the FA Cup, so not bad at it. A frozen sholder took me out of it and looking back I simply cannot understand what I saw in it. At local level, at national level, it is simply unpleasant now.

    • justejudexultionis

      The same is true of so much in our culture, ruined by Thatcherite principles of wealth at all cost. As the ties of shared history, religion and culture are lost, to be replaced by the cash nexus, our country descends into a vulgar capitalist free-for-all in which justice is trumped by greed.

      • mohdanga

        “As the ties of shared history, religion and culture are lost, to be replaced by the cash nexus…”. I would say football is not responsible for this but rather the unlimited immigration that is changing the face and culture of Britain.

  • Sean L

    Racism? Presumably you’re alluding to the fact that non-whites are proportionally over represented in English football, since in any sphere where they are considered to be under-represented it is automatically attributed to racism. What else?

  • Blindsideflanker

    The start of the foot ball season around here is marked by the exchange of a ripple of applause or the occasional How’s that? to an unending steam of verbal abuse being shouted at each other , and the inevitable shouts of , ‘on the ‘ead mate on the ‘ead’ , and when the ball isn’t delivered ‘on the ‘ead’ the whole neighbour hood gets treated to a load of profanity as the football player who was deprived of getting one ‘on the ‘ead’ gives vent to his limited vocabulary.

    Football I have decided isn’t an exercise of the legs, but one to exercise the vocal cords and limited vocabulary . They do not seem to be able to play football with out giving everybody a running commentary of their activity, whether the neighbourhood wants it or not.

  • Chingford Man

    Thankfully it’s nearly time for the Rugby World Cup.

    • Observer1951

      And England’s exit from the qualifying group!

      • Chingford Man

        The news of the England’s football team defeat in some match was brought to the dying Donald Dewar. In his funeral homily, it was noted that he “bore the news bravely”.

  • tenbelly

    I agree with this piece but I still quite like football and watch it in the pub or when it’s on for free at home.
    But I wouldn’t give the drippings off my …. to Murdoch or any other football media outlet or pay a red cent to actually go to a ground and watch a game live.
    I feel better that I don’t contribute anything to the obscene amount of money that goes into the game.
    If more did the same the game would change, hopefully for the better.

  • Ambientereal

    I have a question, where does fanaticism begins? because all bad things about football (as many other sports) begin with fanaticism. People no longer enjoy the game but enjoy victory. After a defeat they are so worried about what to say the next day to the friends who will make unpleasant jokes. Sports where supposed to replace the wars, but the games are actually turning into battles. Money or not, people plagued by sport fanaticism become violent and unpleasant, and stop enjoying it.

  • marymduncan

    2/3+3/1 < I'm money over $8k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people telling me how much earning they can Get online so I decided to look in-to it. welldone' it was a all true and has completely changed my life.How This work

  • lakelander

    Fully agree with all the above. The best thing intelligent people can do is to disown football and any interest in it whatsoever. Its excesses mock those who follow the game.

    To hell with it all.

  • Observer1951

    The author should check out racism in football in other countries eg Russia. So top footballers get paid a fortune so what they are exceptional at what they do and it’s a free market. Would you turn down 100 grand a week if offered. Of course not. The author should get off his high horse and enjoy a bit of footy

  • ManOfKent

    Yet more sneery urban liberal elitist bollocks written about football by an idiot who seems to be suffering from a kind of alzheimer’s in reverse (they have no recall of the medium to distant past).

    Has he seriously forgotten the violence and racism that occurred so frequently in English football from the 1960’s onward for thirty plus years that journalists barely reported it but that got English football banned from Europe for 6 years (remember Heysel?). Have they forgotten the alcohol bans, the pitch battles outside football grounds and city centres every weekend, the fencing and the plethora of racist chants sung up and down the country in grounds big and small? Have they forgotten the drunken antics of Best and Gazza and a host of other footballers (much of which was covered up by the media) because being celebrities they were allowed to get away with things that the rest of us never were allowed to? Of course no mention of the antics of players of others sports either (like the rugby player married to a Royal for example) or the doping scandals in Athletics and Cycling or match fixing in Cricket.

    In so many ways English football has largely sorted its act out. Today it is largely safe to go to football and indeed it is comfortable. Long gone are the days of freezing ones nuts off in uncovered terraces for most professional club supporters. Today the racism is only a miniscule proportion of what it once used to be. Today English clubs and the national team play across the world without the repeated reports of disturbances (whether caused by English fans or not). Football has gone a long way in this country to cleaning up its act even if there is still work to do. That is more than can be said for other areas both inside and outside sport such as the media.

    Of course it is the media such as Sky and ESPN and belatedly BT and their counterparts across the globe that are largely guilty of the new problem in football. It is they who are squandering billions of pounds on a sport which never needed such riches. Yet is there a mention of them in this article or of the Sugar Daddy globalist billionaires from abroad who have bought up many of our top clubs only to squander yet more billions on a sport that was healthy enough in its support anyway? Furthermore is there a mention of the global corporate sponsors of Football that have barely said a dickie-bird in the light of the FIFA revelations yet they still sponsor the sport across the globe? Is there even a hint of criticism for the corruption that Globalism has brought with it to our national sport?

    No of course not. Rather than write an intelligent balanced piece about the failings of Globalism and globalisation and how it is corrupting the world’s most popular sport(s) despite the advances that football has made in this country (you should see what goes on in South America) what we have is yet another piece of gratuitous misrepresentative uninformed bigoted football baiting based on some long since past utopian delusion that seems purely motivated by the writers perverse politics of envy.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Face it, football’s the major component of UK Trash Culture. In fact, one could make the case that football is the junior league of patriotism. Which is why its negative elements are so tolerated by UK Authority.

    • ManOfKent

      Yes it was so tolerated that it is the only sport to have suffered an alcohol ban, had its fixture list rearranged by the police and had fencing imposed upon it. It was also banned from European competition for several years.

      That the alcohol bans have been lifted, the fences have come down and English teams now play once again every year in Europe demonstrates how far football has come from its lowest point. Its ‘tolerated’ because firstly it has largely cleaned up its act and secondly it probably generates more income for the state in this country than the rest of sport put together.

      But hey lets not miss the opportunity to talk of it in terms of ‘trash culture’ and that great evil of contemporary internationalism called ‘patriotism’. Why be realistic about something when you have the opportunity to sneer at it?

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Alcohol ban! Gimme a break.

    • Wessex Man

      How long ago did Trash Culture start in the UK then Jack? did it start not long after it started in America or the Far East? or was it many decades after as I think.

      I guess all our Football Leagues so trashy that all the countries in the world across the Globe followed suit?

      Have you ever attended an English League match in your life? or do you base your observations on the Italians, Dutch, Russian or Turkish fans all of whom regularly kill at matches?

      You want trash Jack, go visit any of the take-aways that litter our high streets or go visit a Kentucky Fried or MacDonalds and try some of their wonderful fare which resembles regurgitated waste from real English food outlets.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        McDonald’s … Suspect you’ve just shot our argument in the foot.
        And expression like “the Far East”. Like the world begins at Greenwich. Cultural imperialism writ large.

    • colchar

      What is wrong with being patriotic?

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        “What is wrong with being patriotic?”
        It’s so last season. And how can you be patriotic about a country that stands accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, involvement in torture, supplying chemical and biological weapons to unstable regimes … ? As well as wall-to-wall paedophilia at the highest levels of government, opinion leaders, celebrities …
        Hate it and leave it.
        Jack, the Japan Alps Brit. Open to nationality switch offers.

        • mohdanga

          “And how can you be patriotic about a country that stands accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, involvement in torture, supplying chemical and biological weapons to unstable regimes…” Sounds like Japan during and after WWII, crimes for which it grudgingly acknowledges.

      • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

        A heck of a lot. But being nationalistic is usually worse.

  • Hagen vanTronje

    I stopped going to games when the regular chant became, our ni@@ers are better than your ni@@ers

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Our German scientists are …
      OK, as you were.

  • colchar

    A game played by pansies and watched by morons. Want a good laugh? Google “soccer player bites teammate’s manhood”, “Outrageous faul faker (Football)”
    (incorrect spelling is theirs, not mine), and “WORST FOOTBALL (Soccer) DIVERS and CHEATERS” as those videos video pretty much sum up the sport for the garbage that it is.

    • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

      Correct. Dull garbage.

  • Partner

    we all know that football fans, players and mangers are all as thick as two short planks and twice as uninteresting. Just it’s no longer PC to say it.

    • Observer1951

      I’m a fan and not thick as two short planks being, I suspect, rather better qualified than you are.

      • Partner

        Better qualified in what respect? If you spend your time watching football you are by definition thick and uninteresting. It’s black and white. And most people like me think “oh oh thicko” when we meet people like you.

        Though obviously you can read which I will grant puts you one up on most players.

        • Observer1951

          I have a PhD in chemistry, am a first author on published papers in international journals. I have been a senior member of research teams which discovered novel new drugs for the treatment of cancers, HIV and CNS disorders. I have worked in international Pharma companies including AstraZeneca, GSK and a number of biotech startups. Most recently I was the lead manager/scientist in the the most expensive biotech licensing deal in Germany worth an estimated 400 million euro. So what have you done, oh wise one?

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            How do you feel about organised religion?

          • Observer1951

            Not sure why your interested in my views on organised religion but for what it’s worth I am as near as can be an atheist. That is to say I can see no arguments or information that suggests to me the existence of some ‘higher being’ for lack of a better term who had any interest in mankind. Modern science and particularly comparative evolutionary genomics provides sound evidence for the development of species via evolution. Modern cosmology provides a good rational for the evolution of the universe from the earliest moments. The argument from design is easily demolished by science and I won’t waste time rehashing it here. I do suspect their are elements of the universe we can never know about but that’s another story. The vast majority of scientists are atheists or as near as can be, so I guess we are either very smart or very silly. I don’t try try to convince others to my point of view it’s an individual choice. Still think all football fans are thick?
            Sent from my iPad

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Christian scientist or scientist that is a Christian? But either way, an indicator of gullibility.

          • Observer1951

            I was speaking about religion and the concept of God not particularly the Christian perspective. My view is Christian Scientists are fools. When scientists talk about understanding the mind of God ie Einstein and Hawking they are expressing amazement at the wonder of nature and the universe we inhabit. This statement is much understood by the lay public who think it means a believe in God, it doesn’t. We seem to have moved on from football although all football fans have to have believe especially if you support my team!
            Sent from my iPad

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            So not taking refuge in the majority, then.

          • Observer1951

            Not bothered what the majority think on anything. I make my own mind up. As I said most scientists hold views similar to my own
            Sent from my iPad

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Some decades ago (back in the late 1970s), when I made the mild comment. “I have no interest in football”, I was told, “You can’t be British”. And this was from a Brit here in Japan. At long last football appears to be losing its shine.

          • Observer1951

            You may not like football, fair enough. However if you check out the statistics on attendance for all four professional leagues in England you will find attendances have never been higher. Football isn’t losing its shine it’s never been more popular. Should Say I have worked with the Japanese and they never say what they mean. A cultural workshop on Japan, it’s culture and how they work is very interesting.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Topic 1. Football
            Topic 2. Japanese culture
            Even I would have difficulty linking them, especially without any form of transition.
            Jack, the Japan Alps Brit

          • Partner

            I was formerly a hedge fund manager educated at Milfield and Insead, until I blew all my money on spread betting, mostly on Arsenal results. I now live on the streets, unfortunately.

          • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

            But when you drone on about soccer ball, most recent folk will indeed think, thicko.

          • Observer1951

            I haven’t droned on about football merely said you don’t have to be thick to enjoy it. I assume you read my background? Never realised so many PhDs were thick, there you go
            Sent from my iPad

          • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

            You have not droned on on here. I am alluding to the inevitable occasions when you’ll be tempted to pontificate about whether the red team or the blue team have a better chance and who should be playing left back. I am saying folk will assume you are a thicko. Whether or not you are good at chemistry. Perhaps wear a badge with Mr PhD on it.

  • Partner

    Mind you like drug dealing, estate agency, female journalism and rapping it provides great opportunities for the otherwise terminally pointless.

  • Observer1951

    Well I think I’m reasonably intelligent, certainly in terms of qualifications, and I enjoy football.

  • justejudexultionis

    Football, a game played by stupid bigots for stupid bigots to watch.

    • IvanDmitrich

      So which is your team, then?

    • mohdanga

      Then the black players must also be bigots. Wait a minute, we all know that only whitey is racist.

  • SeanLM

    Soccer (yes soccer, not “futbol”) is boring and everyone flops around whenever they are touched. 0-0 is the most common score. FIFA is a septic tank of corruption and everyone knows it. If you still want to watch team sports, NBA Basketball and American football are superior in every way. The stands aren’t filled with crazy neo-fascists either.

    • Observer1951

      Thanks for this considered and well argued opinion. Basketball a game played by giants with ludicrously high scores. American football a sport which is being sued by hundreds of ex pros over brain damage. Care to tell me when was the last time their was a riot in the stands of an English football ground? Ground and date please. Crazy neo-fascists, what are you a tea party member?

      • mohdanga

        Wouldn’t watch a basketball game if you paid me, a league full of gang bangers with their stupid entourages. There will be lawsuits similar to those in the NFL coming for rugby.

      • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

        Blackpool fans last season occupied the pitch to protest relegation.

        • Observer1951

          Nah, I said football Blackpool haven’t had a football team for years. They have been a cash cow for the appalling owners though

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “The over emphasis assigned to football in UK popular culture and the MSM.”
    Worthy of a top 10 ranking on your, “Emigrate, Reasons to” list.
    Have you noticed how politicians will feint an interest in football and in a particular team simply to curry popularity with voters at the lower stratum of society?
    Jack, the Japan Alps Brit

  • Toby Maxtone-Smith

    What an abysmal, snobbish, badly structured, cliché-ridden load of tripe. How long did it take you to write that? 10 minutes?

  • mohdanga

    It’s so ‘racist’ in the EPL that dozens of blacks and other minority players are forced to play there and collect multi million pound salaries. Much better that they stay in their utopian homelands.

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