These thoughts are not specifically about Manchester United even though by being a major club in the Premier League it plays a part in the overall problems that football is being affected with. It has to be admitted that the world has changed dramatically since this old fart got caught up in football as a child during the mid fifties. The standards and traditions which existed then have long been replaced by vastly different ones which can really be annoying. Some of these turnoffs – in no particular order, may be deemed to be pithy and pedantic nevertheless, see if you agree.
Players seem determined to outdo one another with body art – We’re not talking about a little heart tattooed on the arm here, this is about guys who have nearly their entire torsos, arms and necks covered in ugly looking scribbles which are supposed to have some sort of deep meaning. Many may not mind them, I happen to think that they are simply hideous.
That meaningless pre match huddle – It can only be described as nothing more than a juvenile practice which seems to have crept into the game. What the hell do players hope to achieve by it? The manager had just finished giving an inspired, at times fiery pre match talk yet the captain is determined to have the last word. For all we know he could be telling his troops to forget what their clueless boss had just told them and to follow his orders instead. Does it make any sense?
Running down a contract in order to get a ‘Bosman’ – Players may or may not be entirely at fault here, agents have much to answer for BUT it’s the highly paid millionaires who have the final word. Are they not mature enough to think for themselves? Why must they rely so much on what their smooth talking, Svengali type conmen tell them?
Which bring us to football agents who sometimes appear to be running the game – Is there no one who can control these leeches? Blackpool manager Ian Holloway was absolutely right. When a manager like Sir Alex Ferguson at such a powerful club as Manchester United can be blackmailed by someone like Paul Stretford, something has to change – and fast. A legal way must be found for clubs to regain some control over the highly paid stars that they employ.
Outrageously priced tickets – which are stopping so many Dads from taking the future lifeblood of the game to the various Premier League stadiums just like our fathers did. The day of full pubs and empty stands is not that far away and clubs have only got themselves to blame.
Obscene player wages which force the increase in ticket prices – Does any player really, REALLY deserve to be paid £200,000 a week? Or 100,000 or even 50,000 which is what an 18 year old who is barely legible to vote has been given by his club just last week? A salary cap is not the answer because it can never truly be enforced, it will take a major club to set the lead by drawing a line in the sand and saying enough is enough. What’s even more disgusting is to see some very ordinary players picking up small fortunes each week, while world cup winners like Nobby Stiles are forced to sell their most prized possessions just to survive.
There’s more, many more but that may be enough for now. Old timers like myself who may be reading this must have their own pet hates. No matter how much we may despise the way football has developed however, one thing is absolutely certain. None of us will ever lose the fascination we have for the game.
Tell us what annoys you most about modern football.