This guest editorial opens the current issue (#7) of The Football Pink magazine, available HERE
BY GREG THEOHARIS
I don’t know when it happened exactly but it’s definitely happened. I’ve fallen out of love with football. To try and pinpoint what specifically has led me to such a realisation would be as futile as lopping off the head of the hydra, that many-headed beast of mythology. Get rid of one image of Shearer, only to have it replaced by Lawro.
Is it the rampant commercialism that has gradually turned the act of supporting into a consuming? Maybe it’s the failure of anybody to stand up to the obvious corruption that slithers its way across the corridors of FIFA whilst another week’s ‘bringing the game into disrepute’ media orgy turns its salacious spotlight onto a doddery old Thatcherite football chairman with a worldview firmly centred in the Farage camp of caricature? It’s highly likely that the continuing presence of Robbie Savage on my screen was the catalyst for this sorrowful state of affairs. Maybe not. Either way, my life is a little more hollow because of football’s absence from it but there’s nothing really I can do about it. So I’m told.
I’m just really tired of being so angry all the time. Complaining about whatever it is that needs to be complained about this week. After four years of writing a weekly post on my blog Dispatches From A Football Sofa, I just stopped. It just wasn’t proving to be fun anymore and there’s only so much abuse and vitriol one can take from oversensitive Liverpool/West Ham/Chelsea fans before you realise the misplacement of anger runs deep in football, as in life. Yes, football’s a tribal game but conversely, I’ve always viewed it as a tool for uniting people of disparate backgrounds and building friendships where other more socially sanctioned pursuits fail. It’s just easier to pillory John Terry rather than scrutinise Stubhub for allowing fans to fleece other fans by ratcheting up ticket prices to ridiculously overblown sums, isn’t it? Just as it’s easier to wail and gnash at the historic crimes of moribund gropers from out of the Seventies rather than hold to account the illegal piss-taking going on in our financial centres.
Is football really meant to make you happy though? We’re a miserable bunch for the most part, us supporters. You can celebrate demolishing Chelsea as much as you like but you instinctively know that the feeling is something fleeting, transitory, ephemeral. How many players have you heard lament this reality when recalling the achievement of Cup Final glory? Have you ever seen Steven Gerrard smile? Actually turn his mouth upwards and flash the enamel. If the furrowing of brows is the natural state of football supporters, that’s fine with me.
I hate not loving football but at the same time I’m not prepared to turn a blind eye to what’s bringing the game into my own version of disrepute. So with that, I’ve decided to try and remember what it is that made me fall in love with the game all those years ago. Italia ’90, inflatable bananas, Matt Le Tissier and that free deck of cards you got as a giveaway from 90 Minutes magazine. This is more than just a whimsical journey into nostalgia though. I want to know why football is still so important and why it matters or more importantly, why it doesn’t have to matter to matter. I’m giving myself six months to let football save my soul and I need you to help me. You can do so by getting in touch with me via Twitter, Email or through these esteemed pages. Tell me something magical or joyful. Tell me something honest. Because the alternative is weekends dodging the credit zombies at Bluewater and to be honest, I haven’t yet finalised my survival plan.
Football really is worth it, right? Right? Hello. Is anybody out there?