Monday, 13 August 2012

Football through Olympics-tinted glasses.

Before the curtain fell upon the world's greatest sporting event, some eyes had turned towards Birmingham. Inside Villa Park we saw Chelsea, a team of vastly overpaid footballers, face Manchester City, another set of individuals on an equally sickening amount of money. All this was watched by the billionaires that fund it. Once again, individuals like Carlos Tevez (who refused to play after getting into a strop), John Terry (charged with racially aggravated behaviour) and Ashley Cole (....) pranced about for 90 minutes thinking of little more than the £100k+ that will be deposited into their bank accounts each week.

Let me start by saying; I'm a huge football man: Played my whole life, Newcastle United supporter, go to as many games as I can afford, watch any broadcast game, check religiously for even the slightest news, spend far too much time tweaking my fantasy football side (with very little end product) and have contributed many an hour to football manager (certainly not wasted..). After the heroism we viewed almost every single day for two weeks, I felt strange for becoming excited for the football season but I can't help it. The tribalism, the drama, the weekly entertainment followed by detailed analysis with back and forward jibes makes football enthralling.

This post may sound anti-football (and in a way it is) but its just me being honest about the state of football and how it deeply contrasted with the magic we have witnessed over the past two weeks.

It's difficult to explain how I felt on Sunday morning. I felt real guilt because of my excitement for the Community Shield. After being excited to watch real role models; Mo Farah, Chris Hoy and the Brownlee Brothers amongst many more, I found myself experiencing, albeit a different excitement, at watching the pre-season curtain raiser. What was ensuing was the start of the farcically dramatic Premier League season. A 9-month tournament which displays no consideration for supporters, where player agents are king and where grown men throw themselves to the floor without a second thought to dignity or blatent cheating. It's a culture that is accepted, and more scandalously, encouraged.
But for the first time in my memory, the stadium was not sold out, the crowd jointly booed when Edin Hazard attempted his first dive. Are others feeling a bit like me? There were certainly commentary mentions throughout the Olympics, even from the likes of Gary Lineker, drawing comparisons with footballers and Olympians. Did hosting the Olympic Games make others stop and think what we are supporting, and what we are encouraging?

The Olympics allows athletes who love their sport, dedicate their lives to a goal and often receive very little financial remuneration, a stage to display that hard work. We watched men and women leave every bit of their bodies on the track, run with broken legs and play with broken jaws. This is what football should be. Instead we return to a scene where abusive behaviour is accepted and sportsmanship does not exist. What a far-cry from the Olympic spirit the country has adopted and reveled in over the last two weeks.

That being said, I cannot wait!

As always, all comments welcomed and encouraged.


  1. People will fall off the Olympic bandwagon, most probably can't already name the guy who won the pistol shooting or all 4 of the rowers. I agree with you on the points you made towards how football should change but they have been relevant for years and not just after the Olympics. There is money in football because people pay to see it. Olympians would be paid the same amount of footballers if there was a genuine all year round attention to Dressage or Judo, but there simply isn't. 2 weeks in 4 years isn't enough.I also highly doubt rio 2016 will achieve as much coverage and interest over here as London 2012 did! Even the biggest events such as the 100m couldn't garner an interest as big as football does. Footballers receive an incredible amount of media attention and abuse as a result of issues which really aren't any of our business, no matter how much they earn. Had a footballer taken 3 swedish girls back to his hotel room during a world cup like Bolt did the night he had won the 100m they would be slaughtered. No one seems to care about the obscene amount of money the musicians we listen to make? And they have the biggest ego's of all! The achievement's made by team Gb this summer were outstanding, but to act as if footballers were born into a lifestyle of money and fast cars without any graft and commitment is obsurd. ( my reply on bartons post and applies to yours to :)

    1. Hi Ryan, thanks for the comment and for reading my blog.

      Whilst I agree with most of what you're saying, I think that much of your post applies more towards what Joey Barton was saying.
      My point is that the Olympics, being in London, made these issues more apparent to me, and many others. There is a global, and continued interest in football because of the way it is and the way it is run. My blog doesn't question that, I am simply stating that it is wrong that such attention is given over to non-role models over real role-models. As much as the Olympic sports cannot replicate football in their global appeal and audience, football needs to take what is good out of the Olympics.