Are you excited? Football is back! Yes, football. That sport we love and always will love, because that’s just the way it is! Woo! Yay! Wooo!!
It feels like it has been gone for literally a week. But, as normal, it never really went away: we all endured that unspeakably dreadful World Cup – a carnival of cunts playing to a soundtrack of sirens – except this time we got to watch James Corden embarrass himself just after the ITV games and make things 89.3% more excruciating in the process.
The most exciting thing about South Africa? The fucking octopus. Enough said.
Even before that shambles of a tournament had reached its dire conclusion, clubs in every corner of this dismal island had gathered together their motley collection of cast-offs and ordered them to jog around a bit and play a few meaningless training matches against one another while charging idiots a tenner a pop to go along and watch.
And as happens every godforsaken English summer during the supposed recess, the papers have been filled with trillions of words of trite blathering, from owners, fans, players, chairmen, groundsmen and people with only a basic grasp of the shape of a football, like Ian Wright.
What have they been blathering about? The usual shit. Player X wants to move to Club G but Club R say Player X is not for sale, shortly before Club H makes a bid that is rejected outright by Club R, only for Club H to deny they ever made a bid for Player X anyway, as Player X tells a tabloid journalist he can get him some quality Class As if he quotes a ‘source’ in his paper saying that Player X ‘desires’ a move to Club G, which he does, and Club G say they would love to have Player X but Player X is still contracted to Club R, and then Club R get all angry and accuse Club G of trying to unsettle their player, and then Harry Redknapp pipes up and says he would love to sign Player X too, along with Players F, K, E, Q, C and S, amongst others, and then, oddly enough, Club V make a bid for Player X who then says he wants to stay at Club R, only to be sold to Club G by Club R after all because the deal was agreed in principle 18 months ago while Player X snorted cocaine off the buttocks of a woman paid for by the President of Club G and the fat secretary of Club R was promised a cheeky hand job by a diseased crack-whore if he let Player X go quietly.
Yeah. The usual ghastly shit.
And, now, it’s back – big time proper, like. Rupert Murdoch’s sinister media corporation broadcasts its first game on Friday night – Watford are playing Norwich, sports fans! – and then all hell breaks loose. Over the next few months, more football than your puny little brain-hole could possibly digest in a lifetime will be broadcast in SD, HD, 2D, 3D and whatever other gimmick they invent to keep you upgrading your Skam Sports subscription year on year until Rupert’s Death Star is complete.
The same old teams, fighting over the same old trophies, while the same old problems cause the same old controversies and the same old players suffer the same old injuries and cause the same old sackings of the same old hapless managers.
I think I know what’s going to happen this year: some teams will get promoted or win things, some teams will get relegated. But for the vast majority, this next season might as well not happen, because they will finish 13th or something.
Here are some other things that will happen this season:
1. A player will return from injury and his manager will claim it is like making a new signing. No. No it isn’t. It is like one of your registered players returning from a long-term injury.
2. Some shit Premier league team like Birmingham will moan when one of their average players is called up by the Former People’s Democratic Republic of Mongolistan for a friendly in Tasmania. They’ll moan because that’s what big clubs do and it makes them feel important to point out they have internationals in their side. Shut the fuck up and stick a lad from the reserves in instead.
3. A team from the Isthmian League will hold a League One side to a draw in the FA Cup and people will act as if this has never happened before.
4. A referee is going to make a mistake. Not just a little mistake: it’ll be a humdinger of a blunder that will leave Andy Gray tearing all nine of his hairs out before moving onto Key’s forearms. And the next day, the papers are going to be absolutely crammed full of twats gassing on about video replays and goal line technology. You know what? Stop it. Either fucking introduce technology, or don’t. But please, shut up about it.
I cannot take it any more.
I am starting to loathe the game on every conceivable level. It is a sport that seems to exist in spite of itself; a game capable of giving so much that somehow manages to give so little. And I think I have finally been brought to my knees, exasperated by the epic futility of it all. I am sick of the sight of grass and stadiums and balls and shorts and floodlights. Sick of it. Sick of listening to Richard Keys and his Grand Slam Sundays. Sick of Alan Shearer. I am literally sick of Jamie Redknapp. Literally.
I am sick of shit rising to the top. How can I possibly love a sport that has somehow appointed Sepp Blatter as its dark overlord? Blatter is a cretin, and in FIFA he has crafted an organisation in his own image: bloated, inefficient and emphatically unfit for purpose. Just like every other football authority, it is populated by out of touch blazers sweating into their buffet lunches. Ugh.
Who could we replace Blatter with? James Corden, obviously. He appointed himself as heir-apparent to the position of World Football President months ago. You might have noticed. It wouldn’t be so bad if Corden wasn’t such a fatuous, self-aggrandising twat in thrall to the cult of celebrity, just like everyone else. Did you see the way he looked at John Terry and Stevie G in those chummy films where he played golf and had a giggle with various stars for his dreadful World Cup show? It was a look that said: “I want to have sex with you. Immediately.”
But is Corden as revolting as Tim Lovejoy? Not really, no.
Lovejoy, of course, fronted Soccer AM – a show that has always been about as funny as being told by the surgeon who was supposed to remove your ingrown toe-nail that he accidentally castrated you due to a wacky NHS paperwork mix-up.
Lovejoy’s ignorance of football is well documented, yet despite having quit Soccer AM years ago this man is still allowed to impose his asinine opinions on us all. Why? There’s an oak tree opposite my house that has more substantive and intelligent things to say about the sport. I’m not joking either: someone has carved ‘DERBY R CUNTS’ into its trunk.
I once met an Arsenal fan like Lovejoy whose knowledge of football beyond the top four was so lacking that he referred to the Championship or Division One as it should be called – as the ‘sub-Premier League’ and asked me, in all seriousness, if Boston United played in it. The ‘Sub-Premier League’. Boston fucking United? Did this man have severe bad AIDs of the brain or something?
In fairness to this imbecile, at least he had a season ticket. Like the vast majority of right-thinking fans, I hate people who claim to support Premier League teams eighty miles away who haven’t set foot in ‘their’ ground since that Carling Cup game they managed to get tickets for eight years ago. What sickens me most is that, after years of people laughing at ‘armchair fans’, they still don’t get it. Why bother? You might as well support an RAF squadron, you bellend.
The only thing worse than these plastic football fans? Real football fans. You know the kind. They support shit like Tamworth, Long Eaton United or Blackpool and sneer at anyone who supports a side who play in a stadium with functioning toilets. They’ll be at it again this year too: ground-hopping their way around some obscure league like a sinister cult, drinking their stupid fucking ales and massaging their own beardy egos because, although they like to think they’re somehow more authentic, they’re actually as much a bunch of sanctimonious, elitist snobs as the City boy freeloaders hoovering up the corporate hospitality and cocaine at Ashburton Grove. Someone should set fire to them. All of them.
At the bottom end of the scale, you have the EDL hooligans. The rabid right-wing Tory in me hates these racist, dole-scum fuckwits who spend more time gesticulating at away fans than watching the game they have spent 75% of their weekly benefit payout on. You’re at a game I have effectively fucking paid for via my taxes you mouth breathing neanderthals. Watch it, or fuck off.
Conversely, the rabid extreme hippy tree-hugger in me hates myself for thinking that, and that even those with a ‘troubled upbringing’ should be allowed to enjoy the unique atmosphere of big sporting occasions, regardless of their proclivity for sporadic acts of indiscriminate violence. Fair enough. Let’s give them free tickets to polo then, and get them the fuck out of football, because I surely can’t be the only moderately not-thick supporter who is insulted by having to share a public space with the kind of person who thinks it is acceptable to wear a shell suit, sixteen years after they went out of fashion.
Who else? I hate Scottish fans. Nothing to do with their nationality. I just don’t understand why they keep turning up to SPL games instead of boycotting that futile shower of a league, thereby forcing the SFA to finally address its absurd, soul-destroying predictability. Why don’t Rangers and Celtic just flip a coin in mid-August and stop wasting everyone’s time? It’d save those tricolour-waving imbeciles the cost of their air-fare too. They could spend the money on a trip to Dignitas instead. And it’s not just the SPL: the Premier League is almost as pointless. Yet Richard Scudamore still claims his league is ‘competitive’. You lying twat, Scudamore. Resign and piss off to Rockall for the rest of time. You will not be missed.
I am sick of brain damaged footballers who can’t even pay a gas bill or tie their own shoelaces. In fact, the only things most footballers seem capable of is piling £200,000 cars into walls or spit-roasting girls in £29.99-a-night Travelodges. If I am ever rich enough to own a football club – and I will never be because I am a lazy and generally unambitious sack of shit – and employ an adult male who simply does not know how to open his own bank account, I will ensure I pay the twat in loose change. And I will do so by placing him in stocks in outside my vast, gold-plated stadium and ordering my slaves to hurl his annual wage at his head in 2p coins, coin by coin, until his skull has eroded away, at which point we can simply step up, remove the mass of grisly gloop masquerading as his brain, and replace it with a cauliflower. His IQ, I am certain, will instantly treble.
If not incapable of defecating without ringing their agent to check what orifice the faeces will emerge from, the majority of players are infantile, amoral vulgarians. You don’t need telling that. But you know one player I don’t despise? Robbie Savage. Yeah, he’s arrogant. He’s a bit dirty. He flaunts his wealth. But he’s funny. He’s articulate. He says interesting things. This makes him a sacred breed of footballer. And yet he is one of the most hated players in football. That makes me angry. How is Savage hated more than Gary Neville, a man who, when he was drafted in as an ITV pundit and was asked a question about the tedious Ronaldo-Real transfer rumours, somehow gave millions of viewers the impression that he had never even met the greasy little slimebag, let alone played on the same fucking team as him? Unbelievable.
The sad truth is that even if you don’t like football, the airwaves are littered with these idiots. They get media gigs based on… well, fuck knows. It’ll be the same this year. Some ex-player will no doubt end up presenting some show on ITV 4, probably Stan Collymore fronting a show about necrophilia or something. Not that I’m suggesting Stan Collymore is into necrophilia. I’m definitely not suggesting Stan Collymore is into necrophilia.
I hate most clubs. It doesn’t matter at what level they play, they’re all the same: average managers, average coaches, miserable admin staff, a gang of crooks, criminals, cheats and charlatans in the boardroom. I hate Bradford Park Avenue just as much as I despise Real Madrid, even if Madrid have employed Jose Mourinho. I am as appalled by Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool as I am appalled by Fleetwood, Louth Town and Crawley. For a few years, I even hated Boston United. Wanted them to lose every game and go bankrupt, because of who was in charge. That’s like wanting to murder your own child, except a bit worse than that because, for all its faults, football is still more important than the lives of children. What kind of sport allows this to happen? It’s bordering on psychological abuse.
I am sick of MK Dons slowly becoming accepted by fans and the media over the inexorable passage of time. Not here. They are an abomination and always will be. The argument, apparently, is that ‘they’re here to stay: deal with it’. Fuck off. By employing the same logic, a paedophile could quite feasibly sit in a sand-pit for four weeks and simply wait out the frenzied shrieks of horrified mothers and Daily Express readers until someone eventually piped up and said: “Aww, well, I suppose he’s not doing any harm.”
In fact, that’s a great idea. If you are reading this and happen to be a paedophile, then I want you to give me a round of applause and send me a tenner in the post. And once you’ve done that, I want you to nip out of your sordid sex-dungeon, go to the kitchen, grab a knife and stab yourself repeatedly in the testicles until the mangled sac of blood and sinew drops to the floors with a little ‘plop’.
Plop. Isn’t there an obscure European team called Dynamo Plop? No. No there isn’t because I just Googled it. But there might as well be a Dynamo Plop, playing in the Europa Cup. And there’s another pointless competition. I hate teams that dribble on about making it into ‘Europe’ for months, only to end up fielding the reserves in a last sixteen game versus Dynamo Plop and losing 2-0 in front of 5,012 fans, even though the tickets were only a tenner and there was absolutely nothing on TV that night except an old episode of Air Crash Investigation. If you didn’t want to be in the Europa League, why not just settle for being slightly shitter the season before? Wouldn’t fielding a gang of academy kids and the bus driver in a couple of games at the end of the season be less hassle than boarding a propeller-driven World War 2 vintage aircraft for that short border hop into Turkmenistan when you’ve got that tricky match at Old Trafford 48hrs later?
And I hate managers moaning about the lack of winter break, as if only their team would benefit from their players having a few days off.
I hate the fact clubs serve beer that has been studiously chilled to room temperature.
I hate the fact a ticket to watch Nottingham Forest fuck up against some filth like Cardiff costs £25, and that so many people are happy to stump up.
I hate stewards that stop people taking photos of stadiums.
I hate the fact Sky are launching a HD version of Sky Sports News. What a waste of bandwidth.
But this is what I hate most.
Despite all this, despite football bending me over a barrel and rogering me up my fetid little bottom hole for the best part of twenty years, offering me nothing in return for my investment except an intense feeling of worthlessness, abject disappointment and an overdraft that makes Lehman Brothers look positively affluent, despite my hatred of Murdoch’s despotic, malignant rule, despite all this, I know full well that, come August 14th, I will be found on a terrace somewhere shit, with a crap Nescafe in one hand, lukewarm cockroach burger in the other, watching 22 lads kick the crap out of each other, alongside a bunch of boss-eyes mentalists who I pretend I am superior too but, in fact, am not.
I hate that.
I also hate the fact that if you break into my house and easily dodge my pitiful attempts to brain you with a softball bat, you will be greeted by a black Sky HD box sat beneath the huge plasma screen I couldn’t afford but purchased anyway. It’s there because I need it to be there. If it wasn’t there, I would spend my Sundays crying myself to sleep, alone and unloved.
But Rupert says he loves me.
Rupert says this Sunday will be better than last Sunday.
And he gives me Jamie Redknapp. Literally.
I want to break free. I know I must. But, I cannot.
I am resigned to my fate.
EDITOR’S FOOTNOTE: Reading this with the benefit of about a decade’s hindsight, I understand I was wrong about Robbie Savage and Gary Neville and actually pretty much everything written above. I fucking love football.