Good is winning!!!!!! Good is winning!!!!!!

23 10 2013

Regular readers, I know there’s at least two of you, may have felt concern at the direction this blog appears to have taken over the last few months, I’m sure a few casual readers have had a few misgivings as well.

Without putting too fine a point on this matter let’s just say that this blog may have appeared to be overly concerned with ranting about the bad parts of football. By the way I’m up to part 13 in my quest to highlight football’s lowlights, and if you click on the “Why ATMF?” page above this post you will see that I have noticed that there are at least 51 things wrong with “That Modern Football” so far.

Hopefully both of the regular readers have also noticed the tension around my dislike of football; there is a “Football is Ace” page next to the “Why ATMF?” page . As the title of the page hopefully suggests, this page is an attempt to show the lovely qualities that football possesses. If you clicked on this page you would notice that I have described 23 lovely things about football so far.

From these opening paragraphs you could deduce that I have gone off football; there are 23 things that I like about football and 51 things that I don’t like about football. This would be an understandable deduction, especially as football seems to be evolving in a less than pleasing direction. However this assumption would be wrong. I still love football. I can see past the irritating details.

Let me illustrate this with a couple of examples. Firstly consider the picture that Homes of Football posted on twitter;

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The obvious reaction to this would be to despair at the asinine behaviour on display. Now consider a message on the Bluebirds Unite facebook page that attempts to justify continued attendance at Cardiff matches;

“I think he’d be happy if we never went in to the ground,so he wouldn’t have to look at are blue shirts.And there’s plenty of bodies that would take the places.The more blue inside the ground the better it shows were not going anywhere.AMF”

The obvious reaction to this would be to point out that rows of empty seats would represent a more eloquent statement to Vincent Tan or to point out that continuing to attend Cardiff matches merely because you’ve waited so so long for premier league football is a spineless and morally bankrupt cop out.

While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with either of these reasonable reactions it pays to remember that idiotic incidents are not the only events and actions in the sport of football, or that it would be idiotic to judge the whole of football on events of this nature. For example there are plenty of football fans in England that aren’t swept up by the carnival of buffoonery and there are plenty of Cardiff fans that haven’t submitted to corporate football. I may find a lot of things I don’t like the look of but I know that these things can be dealt with by knowledge and perspective.

Continually noticing the bad aspects of football culture merely because you’re awake seems akin to Chinese water torture, it’s not each individual incident that breaks you, it’s their cumulative effect. When you start to notice the bad thing it’s as though everything is part of a bigger process, a process that’s slowly crushing the vitality and soul out of football. However with a little knowledge and perspective you would realize that these twats can destroy the soul of that type of football all they like because another football world is possible.

Every problem has an antidote; Irritating commentators can be silenced with a remote control, gobshite fans can be avoided by giving the pub a swerve or going in a different part of the ground next time, corporate football can be filtered out, fans of “The Banter” can be blocked on twitter and you don’t need to buy the shoddy merchandise.

Every bad thing on the “Why ATMF?” page is eclipsed by the good things on the “Football is Ace” page. A well written fanzine will always beat corporate bullshit, the memory of better times will always outweigh momentary discomfort. Moaning in a pub will never be better than travelling to away matches. proving a petty point in a message board argument will never be more enjoyable than looking at old football photos, enjoying “The Banter” on twitter just isn’t in the same universe as that first sight of the green, green grass from the steps of an away end. Celebrating “your” club’s 20th league title with mocking comments in pub 70 miles from the club’s home ground just isn’t the same as owning your own club. The sight of a curled shot in to the top corner is just about the most fantastic football image there is.

Let me finish with an illustration, the examples of XXX XXX XXXXXX and Bangor City from in September 2013.

From several angles XXX XXX XXXXXX look brilliant; perpetual trophies, European qualification, a thriving academy and Welsh futsal champions. They offer a professional outlook and a professional approach that UEFA and the FAW seem to like so they appear to be a model club with an image to be proud of, and they were near top of the league again.

Bangor City, on the other hand, were still feeling the effects of  slipping up and losing everything in their last four matches of last season. The pre-season was god-awful, the lack of European money led to summer-long worries about departing players and the really bad results led people to mention relegation. Then Bangor lost two of the first three league games, then Bangor went to XXX XXX XXXXXX without hope or expectation and lost without hope or expectation.

In the last five minutes of the September match between the two sides one Bangor fan asked another; “Yeah, but would you rather be us or them?” This simple question put everything in sharp focus. XXX XXX XXXXXX may have all the money and win all of the glittering prizes but football isn’t restricted to these base matters. Why would anyone choose not to be associated with a vibrant institution that has firm roots in the community?

I started, and will probably continue, with the list of bad things because I was incredulous about people seeming to enjoy being taken for a ride by vested interests. Thankfully I also know there is still a place for hope in football, I know these irritating details are mere bluebottles, mere passing irritants.

 

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