Excited Or Cynical? Brace Youself, Football Is Coming Back…

By on August 17, 2012

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Guest post by: Jack Heaney.

From the lavish opening ceremony, Usain Bolt’s ludicrously powerful defence of his medal, to Mo Farah’s stunningly swift double gold medal haul. Cynicism plagued the idea of a London Olympics for the seven years between its announcement and arrival, yet it dissolved so quickly. Never have words been eaten by the unfaithful – and I admit I was one of them – so happily and so hungrily. The London Olympics were exciting; dignified; elegant; a moral superior, some would say, to football’s ugly scowl and greedy eyes. Fast-paced and near-perfect, the comparisons between two weeks of ‘proper’ sport as some like to describe it – as opposed to the morally decadent circus of football – have been rife.

For every Mo Farah, football seems to have a Carlos Tevez. For every Paula Radcliffe who so desperately wanted to be involved yet succumbed to injury shortly after the Olympics began, football has a smirking Emmanuel Adebayor who would rather collect wages on the bench of a club who have no need for him rather than join an exciting and new-blooded Tottenham side.

Football is flawed and so it should be frowned upon; the Olympics smooth as Danni Minogue’s forehead and close to perfection and so should be clapped and cheered. So the notion goes, anyway. For as the Community Shield, like last’s years one, set an immediate tone for the rest of the Premier League season, I couldn’t help but smile.

Imperfection is apparent in football; bitter arguments play out in front of all to see and arrogant managers like Jose Mourinho embarrassingly poke the eyes of their rivals. Imperfect football; immoral football, as some seem to label it, was back. I, like most other sports fans, loved the glory of the Olympics yet I also love the imperfections of football. It’s like an enemy I couldn’t live without.

Believe me, I find football’s deep coffers and sections of loutish fans annoying as much as the next fan. But perhaps I find the morally righteous, tedious criticism of the sport even more so. Perhaps even on some days, I embrace football’s imperfections. They represent a twisted entertainment I feel not-so-ashamed at being addicted to. They represent controversy. Debate and heat. An extra helping of spice on what is an already tasty looking salsa dip. Perhaps cynicism is at an all-time high, yet do we forget how football made us feel on the final day of last term? It would be folly to forget the positives of football.

Many journalists and fans fail to see that, while football is murky, other sports can be just as brooding. For every Ryan Giggs, there is a Tiger Woods. For every football scandal in Italy, a memory of the 1919 Black Sox team who were banned for life. Ben Johnson; Tonya Harding; Dora Ratjen. My point is that while football does appear to be consistently scandalous, it is not exclusive in its moral abjection. Yet many seem to claim it is.

The absurd scandal surrounding Craig Bellamy and co.’s refusal to sing God Save The Queen was juxtaposed to a much smaller level of outrage when the brilliant Sir Chris Hoy did not clutch two tennis racket sized hands to his heart and crack wine glasses with his singing on the podium. Why? Is this how cynical we have become? Sure, there is a time and place to criticise football; but not in such a myopic way. The debate reaches tedium. Every fan has a right to complain, but to let the idiots completely turn you off the game seems to defeat the very premise of existing as a football lover.

Football, imperfect or not, is on its way back. Although perhaps it never really left us with a wonderful Euro 2012 tournament, and an Olympics tournament which wasn’t as terrible as many thought it would be. It’s the most wonderful time of the year – the season looms large – and as proven last year, rarely are results set in stone. There are no pre-determined etches. They are chiselled in front of our ubiquitous eyes.

Villas-Boas will have to overcome an army of Harry Redknapp-lovers at Tottenham, Roberto Di Matteo’s Chelsea should provide an extra dimension to the league as their squad gels. The animosity between Big Sam and the West Ham fans has not truly died away, one feels, and Newcastle can consolidate their unbelievable improvement under Alan Pardew.

If we look further down the Tier, the Championship and lower scaffolding will remain as competitive as ever while the sad, pernicious, utterly unnecessary demise of Blackburn football club may very well have only just begun.

Eden Hazard and Oscar at Stamford Bridge, along with Kagawa at united and Arsenal’s smattering of foreign imports, will provide interest and perhaps even relief when considering the youthful likes of Mesut Ozil, Benzema and Alexis Sanchez have all found Spain a more desirable place than England in the last few years.

The Manchester massives have a second title to scrap over. Gary Neville might even have another orgasm on air. The air is turning all football-y – no matter its flaws, the beauty of such fervent fascination surrounding four posts and a ball continues. We will laugh; shout; cheer; spontaneously combust and perhaps even shed a tear or two. So soon it will return; and, just as all those years before, we will slip back into the mould of loving and hating simulataneously.

Here we go then. For good or for bad, for right or for wrong, this wind-up merchant will captivate, please, anger and desensitize us once again. Brace yourself, please. Football is on its way back and, if my senses do not fail me, I think I can taste the inevitable storm already. I’ll see you in its eye…

Are you looking forward to the new season? Please share your thought in the comments section.

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3 Comments

  1. Tublu

    August 17, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Well jack heinous, no need to ask where your long distance allegiances lie. Trafford massive for sure (transatlantic probable).

    Comparing Mo farrah and paula Radcliffe to adebarndoor and Carlos tevez ? What is that all about ?

    Thanks for this though, made my day , haven’t stopped laughing since I read it…
    “For every Ryan Giggs, there is a Tiger Woods”
    Are you serious ? Or have the colonial cousins discovered irony ?

    • jackheaney

      August 21, 2012 at 10:08 pm

      Sorry? Did you read the article? My point is that football is not alone in terms of scandal. I wasn’t comparing Mo Farah and Radcliffe to Adebayor and Tevez.

      And yes, for every Ryan Giggs that is in the news for immoral reasons there is a Tiger Woods from another sport who is in the news. All I’m saying is there is a time to criticse football, but not such with such consistency. The sanctimony becomes grating.

  2. davspurs

    August 17, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    I Love football with a passion but i am also dreading a new season of heart stopping worrying games. This was not always the case with me because i always felt we could win certain games on paper but now Wigan in fact any team can and does shock a far better team on paper every week. Last season was by far the worse one for me and i knew after the 31 of January points would be a lot harder to win and i was right we limped over the line into fourth spot. The problem was we got shafted by Roy Hodgson remember the name Roy and David to be precise. This is how it happened Roy played Fulop in goal making it easier for Arsenal to win then David announced Roy had gazumped Harry who was a dearer option for the England job and our season was damaged by the FAs silence. This silence was explained by ex City Chairman Bernstien he said we kept silence because we wanted to make sure West Brom where safe from relegation never mind Spurs and the media’s pick Harry.The other major worry is this new five man midfield with extra energy to stop better teams attacking then hit them on the break. This form of football is killing players world wide the latest in America following on from Italy. I wont go into detail but in the Olmpics there was drug cheats winning medals and ex cheats what i would like this year is when a player like Paddy Kenny Kolo Toure fails a drug test for energy giving drugs they are banned for 2 years and if its during a game his team are docked three points. Then i can once again watch the game i love knowing its a lot cleaner and the shocks are genuine not what I discovered through extra induced energy. Coys

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