I liked Soccer AM; I was aware of the corporate cock-sucking of Lovejoy et al, but forgave it for its knockabout fun. It was no surprise when I was bought Lovejoy’s book for my birthday.
I paraphrase, but Lovejoy thinks football is brilliant. He thinks going to a game is brilliant, playing is brilliant, football on TV is brilliant, football in the pub is brilliant, he thinks the Premiership is brilliant, Wembley is brilliant, the money is brilliant. It’s all brilliant brilliant brilliant.
This is where Lovejoy and I depart because football is not all brilliant and nor should it be. No amount of brillianting will convince me otherwise. Observing Monday’s hyperbole surrounding the closing transfer window filled me with a chill that wasn’t brilliant at all.
The correspondents on SKY were salivating over it all. Without a ball being kicked Manchester City went from jokey bit-part players to Europe’s most financially powerful club. A journey that took Manchester United some 30 years and, perhaps 2000+ games, to achieve.
“We’ve got Robinho” sang the Manchester City fans on SKY Sports News. Actually THEY’VE got Robinho, I thought, you have fuck all. Amongst the grinning and brouhaha no one questioned whether it was actually a good thing or not. Is football just about admiring the playground show-offs and gloating about your vicariously acquired riches? It’s all just entertainment, some will say, but these are people with the power to pull countries in and out of recession. Now they’re at the helm of a constitutionally weak, culturally significant institution. People think I admire this gluttony because I like football and football is about greed. It feels like I’m being implicated in a kind of cultural terrorism.
Well, not in my name.
Football is about hoping, one day, you’ll actually get to the end of a season and feel you’ve got something out of it. It’s about finding out that your new striker actually scores goals. It’s about struggle and torment and worry and joy and never really know what you’re going to get next. My football is grinding out a 2-1 win away from home and basking in the warm glow of sheer fucking relief it gives you.