Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The Olympic legacy could be the death of football.

Before the Olympics started I have to say that I wasn't really caught up in all the hype and expectations that surrounded the games. However as the days went by and Team GB's medal haul began to grow it was difficult not to get swept along with the tide of good feeling that spread across the nation. What particularly struck me was how well spoken and gracious both in victory and defeat all the athletes were. However when the closing ceremony ended I didn't really think I'd miss the Games. I wouldn't lose sleep over not being able to see people doing sports that I know little or nothing about, would I? Well not until the football season kicked off.

Suddenly the sporting perfection, sportsmanship, camaraderie and humbleness that was seen in London was put into true perspective by the (mostly) sub human scum who jog around professional football pitches every weekend. In the 1st week alone of major European domestic league action; Newcastle's manager had pushed a linesman, Juventus' title winning manager was banned for match fixing, Robin Van Persie joined Arsenal's rivals Man Utd all for a few extra bob a week, and Rangers were relegated because they were formerly owned by a crook.

Yes it really hit home. Was I really going to have to go back to watching cheating, moaning, overpaid, thankless, yobs after having been treated to one of the best sporting highlights that I have ever seen? Well I know one thing for sure, however difficult it may be to not get drawn into the Premier League saga in England I will try my damnedest not to!

Hopefully a few people within football's governing bodies will have been affected in the same have, and if they weren't then they should have been. I don't think I'm alone with being disillusioned by football in its current state. Our national side is barely followed outside of major tournaments and England fans were hardly rushing to travel to Poland and the Ukraine for the Euros, the Olympic football team fell flat on their faces but no one cared, and I believe it will only be a matter of time before interest in the Premier League begins to wane as well.

How can any fan possibly feel an allegiance to, or bond with any of today's football clubs. My team for example, Hull City, have become nothing but a feeder club for Premier League teams, so every six months the team sheet dramatically changes as loan players are switched back and forth just as fans were beginning to learn about their players. A ticket to watch these hastenly assembled misfits can cost as much as £30. I guarantee that you could go and watch an athletics meeting, a cycling race, an amateur boxing event, and any other Olympic featured sport for less than that.

Football fans need to wake up! They are being fleeced and yet they happily go back time and again just to show their 'loyalty'. What they must now ask themselves is whether these teams and their players are actually worth any sort of loyalty let alone hard earned cash.

This isn't the only thing that fans should be asking themselves. The Olympics also brought home to me that sport is something that's there to be done not just watched. Many people round the country will no doubt be riding a new bike and growing Wiggins-esque side burns this autumn, a lot of folk will be dusting off their running shoes and pounding some pavements. However because the Premier League doesn't promote the true values of 11 a side football 11 a side teams are actually dwindling in number across the country. Let me tell you now when you have the option to play a game for real or to watch it you should always play. Don't listen to Sky Sports telling to you to catch every game of the season, don't listen to the clubs trying to steal half your weekly wage for gate receipts, take a step back and think what else could I be doing with my time. Do I really want my kids to grow up with Suarez, Rooney, and Barton as their idols?

For me the London Olympics' true legacy will have been that people saw for just two weeks how sports should be contested. There must be alot of people doing some soul searching in football grounds up and down the land, as they're faced with a league that sold its soul and whose legacy could well be the beginning of the end for the beautiful game.    

1 comment:

  1. Bout time you came back. I've had to resort to reading the papers this last year. Hmmmm, might be a little bit of home grown gold fever there Nick. Did you feel the same way after the last olympics? You think you'll feel the same after the next in Rio?
    Amatuer sports are looked on as noble because it harks back to a time when these guys were basically indentured servants. The labels "amatuer" and "professioinal" represent different things in the national pysche and in the games. If you look at the Olympics we "expect" the professionals like Wiggans, Murray etc to win while if the amatuers do their best this is more than enough. If we began to pay olympic athletes and started to say that it is there "job" to go out there and win every time (which is always expected of professional football teams regardless of their strength {evident when say Wiggan does actually lose to Man U and the fans are disapointed})there would be much less acceptance of losing. Also the pressure of those who compete at the olympics compared to that which professional footballers suffer is much less due to the nature of the games. Athletes rarley get universily slagged off if they make mistakes or do their best and lose which is exactly what happens to footballers. Either way - keep the good articles flowing - Walsh