107% of statistics are wrong

23 11 2010

Today the latest edition of Four Four Two magazine came into possession of  the Jet Set. It case you have never come across this publication, it’s a glossy magazine of adverts loosely based around football. Needless to say if it wasn’t for the “gift” we wouldn’t own this month’s copy.

When it first appeared in 1994 we briefly flirted with the idea of becoming a reader. We saw on the shelves of WH Smith and we wanted it but who wouldn’t have wanted it, it was glossy and loud. Please don’t be too harsh upon us, you were young once. We started to lose interest when the magazine tried to inculcate the values of the “geezer“; lairy, horny, a blagger, most of all a blagger. These are also the values of the “Lad’s mag” (or as the Jet Set calls that genre; “Porn for Cowards”). We shouldn’t blame Four Four Two for this entirely, in the mid 1990s all magazines became lad mags, even Cosmopolitan.

A blagger has to look good and Four Four Two tried to help him. They’d run articles that furnished a geezer-at-large with just enough information to avoid looking stupid in pointless pub discussions. Consequently geezers were no longer required to make an effort in order to look windswept and interesting. They would appear to be a well-read scholar of the world game for £2.50 a month. As we said we tired of its content, we’d always preferred When Saturday Comes and fanzines anyway.

By the look of this month’s edition, it hasn’t changed much. While some of the articles can be written by writers known to the readers of When Saturdays Comes it still has that lairy tone. The second half of the mag is still full of adverts, only now they’re for football boots that cost upwards of £150.  It also contains a survey, or as they portentously dub it; “2010 Fan Census”. This piece of research is as crap as you’d presume from the title but it’s not without its benefits; it gives you a starting point to find out what is wrong with contemporary football fans.

Firstly 15.1% of the respondents don’t go to matches, silly us but we thought fans went to matches. The survey doesn’t appear especially representative; When the respondents were asked what type of football they preferred to watch, 49% said the premier league, 18% said the Football League, 20% watch the champions league, 5% watch internationals and 5% watch all other types of football in the world. 

Money seem to pre-occupy the survey. 49% want performance related pay, 66% want a salary cap and 72% want a fairer distribution of TV money. When asked how their club treats them only 24.8% said as a valued fan, 57% see them selves as a customer and 12% see themselves as someone to be exploited. Despite this 55% would be happy to still buy tickets even if the price went up by 20%. What kind of fan knows they’re seen as a customer yet are willing to be ripped off? A moron?

The respondents don’t seem to like players much. 86% feel they’re out of touch, 78% believed that footballers should create a good example for the young and 68% felt they had no loyalty to their clubs. Then there’s a weird part. 69% wouldn’t let their daughter marry one but 85.1% would like a footballer for a son, What the does this mean? Are footballers scum or a useful way to get tickets? 

Despite appearing dissatisfied with football and footballers these morons, I think we can quite rightly label the respondents as morons, can’t get enough of footy. 55% are willing to spend more on seeing a football match, 65% of them pay to watch football on TV and 85% don’t think there is too much football on TV. To top it all 79% think that they get value for money from football on TV (including Sky) . They say that the media has a lot of powee and this survey does nothing to disprove this. 56% seemed to think that the Premier League really is the best league in the world, as if a comparison like this matters. The respondents seem to hate the image of footballers and that image is generally a media creation. 

These saps probably haven’t realised that they are the group fuelling the hype filled media-led pantomime that masquerades as elite-level football. They are the people who buy the sky deals and the replica shirts that contemporary football needs to survive. In fact not only do they spend their money, they lap up the coverage of football.

If they think that players are paid too much, who do they think will keep the proceeds of money swishing around football? The owners perhaps? In short they moan about the problems of football but they help to cause those problems, they pay for it all and give the interest groups a justification for using football to make a profit.

Mind you, when you’re dealing with a magazine that finds anodyne interviews with the stars of champions league behemoth F.C. Barcelona more interesting than the Cold War background of football in Berlin you shouldn’t be surprised at the survey results the readers will produce.

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