I READ with interest Richard Felton’s emotionally-charged piece on TAW yesterday about how he’d made the life-changing decision to eschew his love for Liverpool Football Club and instead follow non-league Marine.
Such was Richard’s evident disillusionment with the modern game that he felt that despite a lifetime of going to Anfield and beyond that he had finally had enough.
What’s consistently surprising to me, as a lifelong Liverpool fan myself, was reading across all our fan media the discussion around Richard’s piece and others like it I’ve been reading on and off for 10 years or so.
I’m taking the gloves off now. I’ve sat on my hands on this one for too long. I’m angry at the creation of a false paradigm. A groupthink that is trying to claim the moral high ground and establish as a given that “modern football” is rubbish or rather, much worse than “pre-modern football”.
My eldest lad is 16 and has been going to the match with me for 10 years now. He doesn’t think modern football is rubbish. Nor do his mates. They think it’s brilliant.
They know that not all of them can get to every game, but they know they can engage with the sport by watching all the big matches, all over the world, live on TV or online — something we could never do growing up.
Additionally, they feel a part of the process in a very modern and ‘virtual’ way via FIFA or Football Manager — we might think that is stupid, but what was Subbuteo? And what is this but a different — and better — version of Subbuteo?
They can engage with other like-minded fans chatting endlessly about their beloved team on social media and forums. There is endless copy out there via online articles and blogs for them if they want it. They can also still talk to their friends.
My lad read Richard’s piece and, puzzled, said to me: “I don’t get this, Marine are just as much ‘modern football’ as Liverpool FC.” He’s right. They are. Modern football has superstars and super clubs. It has aspirational clubs, it has giant clubs from far foreign lands and it has minnows. With their pies and their Bovril and their cheap ticket prices. Modern football has the complete spectrum of football. As did old football.
Old football had clubs run by unscrupulous capitalists who charged the most money they thought they could get away with charging. There were no philanthropists about in the golden age. The only reason they didn’t charge the amounts we see today is because the demand wasn’t there. In the 1982-83 season as Liverpool FC swept to yet another title they played in front of Anfield crowds averaging about 33,000. Then modern football came along and spoiled everything by making the game much much more popular and spoilt the fun of those who went when it suited them. Because let’s make no mistake — there were no 20,000-long waiting lists for season tickets in the 80s. Simply, not enough people were arsed. Or they weren’t arsed often enough. I’m not shedding a tear for them.
Because not enough people were arsed, the majority of England wasn’t arsed that those of us that did go to games then had to put up with unsafe stadiums, unsafe standing, the constant threat of hooliganism, and the omnipresence of racism, sexism and homophobia. We also had to put up with tiny rations of football on TV, and (by today’s standards) meagre print media coverage.
If you wanted to watch football you had to go to the game, but as above, not many really did. If you did want to watch football you got to watch one game — by going — or maybe two with the second on telly if you were lucky in a weekend. That’s it. That’s your lot.
Oh, but the atmospheres in the grounds back then…. Rubbish. The best atmosphere I experienced in a football ground (and I’ve been going to games since 1977) was at Anfield in 2005 for the Champions League semi-final match against Chelsea. Then, next on the list, Anfield for several games in 2014 when it looked like Liverpool might win the league again. Atmospheres in the 80s? Some belters, but plenty of afternoons were whiled away in what the cockneys like to call the ‘Anfield Library’. Yes, we had terrible chants from away supporters back then, too.
What else? That players cheat now. They feign injury. They always have. Cheating is part of football. Ever claimed for a throw-in that wasn’t yours? Cheat. The idea that cheating and gamesmanship doesn’t happen at Marine is ridiculous. If you aren’t looking for every advantage while playing football you aren’t doing it right. I’m sure they are at Marine.
The crux of the matter, I agree with. I completely understand the gripe about how expensive it is to watch football these days. It is mad and it is wrong and it should be getting urgently addressed. However, it is also really expensive to go to gigs. Entertainment in modern rich western countries is broadly getting dearer and football is far from immune to it.
The problem is that more and more people want to go to football now then they did 30-40 years ago. How very selfish of them. Shame on modern Britain for having a vastly larger football-supporting demographic than it had in the 70s or 80s when we were treated like scum regularly enough to put most people off.
Richard Felton was gutted he couldn’t get a ticket for his lad to go to the match with him. I feel for him. I also feel for all those other parents who can’t go or who can’t take their children. So who should give their ticket up? You are in Anfield. On the Kop. Ask the person next to you to give their ticket up so your child can go. Feel a bit awkward? Yep, there aren’t enough seats. Our ground isn’t big enough for all the people that want to go to the match now.
Liverpool supporters and Liverpool Football Club is unique in the issues around the game that currently impact us. Where Everton have to sell half-season tickets because they don’t sell enough whole ones or they this week put tickets for derby on general sale, Liverpool could sell their tickets many times over.
For Liverpool ticket prices and access are two different, contradictory problems. For most sides in the country that don’t sell out often enough, you can argue that the prices should be pulled down for that reason along with the moral reason. However, for us? It is of course reasonable to want a reduction in ticket prices. Who doesn’t want that?
So, they halve all ticket prices tomorrow at Liverpool. What happens? That waiting list for season tickets doubles again is what happens. Life doesn’t get any better for those that currently feel disenfranchised. Those lucky enough to make the cut in what would simply become a lottery for tickets are obviously delighted, but happiest of all are the online ticket touts who will now be charging day-trippers from far and wide more money (because the overall demand for tickets will have increased) for less cost.
None of this is to say it isn’t a sadness for lifelong fans, now my age and beyond, who now find a hobby they once enjoyed for a certain amount now costs them substantially more. So much more in many cases that they simply can’t attend as many matches as they once did. There is no doubt people have been priced out of football stadiums. That is a sad truth and only vastly bigger stadiums would help.
My own optimistic hope is that commercial and TV revenues will continue to increase to dwarf matchday incomes for clubs (as is the trend) and that clubs will eventually see that ticket price reduction as a PR cost worth absorbing. However, that doesn’t happen if clubs aren’t on TV, if kick-off times aren’t moved, if travelling away supporters aren’t inconvenienced by “modern football”.
I know what I’d rather have — more people in grounds and more people paying less money to be there.
From our point of view as Liverpool supporters going to Anfield, cutting ticket costs is only a fully worthwhile exercise if it is accompanied by a comprehensive plan to deal with online touting and an increase in capacity. Let’s get more people in the ground and more sitting with their mates. But it is ego to think Liverpool’s problem is everyone’s problem. It really, really isn’t.
In Richard’s piece he echoes sentiments you’ll hear commonly enough these days from Liverpool fans of a certain vintage: after Istanbul it all started to fall apart. Hicks and Gillett, the Athens ticket fiasco, the chop for Rafa…
Really? A generation lived through Bradford, Heysel and Hillsborough. Lived through going to grounds where the National Front could get away with selling their racist literature outside of football grounds. In a time where the police treated football supporters like animals, and you could get your head kicked in just for wearing your team’s scarf (never mind full replica kit).
Are we really reduced to wanting to ‘jack it in’ because we had some really dodgy owners who we managed to actually get rid of? When wasn’t dodgy owners the case in football? Everyone has had and will continue to have dodgy owners. Rafa being sacked by them pales compared to what fans of Derby County had to go through in the 70s when their board sacked the greatest manager that club (and one or two others) will ever have, in the form of Brian Clough. Stupid owners have always sacked good managers. Why the hell should that make someone give up a lifetime of love of a club?
Richard admits the main issue for him choosing to swap Liverpool FC for Marine FC was the cost of match attendance. That’s a very valid reason. If that’s how people feel then say that and only that. It is our right in a bloody consumer sovereign democracy to vote with our wallets and say ‘enough is enough, someone else can have my money now’. I have total respect for that.
What I’m not having is the disingenuousness around the subject though. Just because they overcharge us doesn’t make the sport or, more importantly, the loving of Liverpool Football Club, a worse thing, a negative thing, a drag.
It would be more convenient if ticket price increases also correlated to less safe stadiums, worse facilities, lower quality of players, less opportunities to watch football on TV or to read about it in the media, or to make the police at football more aggressive, and the risk of getting beaten up greater.
But none of those things have happened as the game has become more expensive. The opposite has happened.
Many of the negative issues around football — owners/the police/authorities in general treating us badly and patronising us (ID requirements for the Spion Kop 1906 lads is ridiculous. As it was when it was originally mooted for all supporters in the mid eighties) — have remained the case since the year dot, but mostly the modern game is an improvement on what has gone before.
So sure, let’s vote with our feet if we feel strongly about being overcharged, but let’s do so without telling today’s generation that what they’re experiencing of football — be it in grounds, on TV, or online — is a bad or diminishing thing. Let’s not patronise and insult them. If you are enjoying supporting Liverpool less then that is probably as much down to who you are as a person as it is anything to do with the game itself. You have probably grown older and realised that this is all a bit ridiculous. You go with my best wishes, I haven’t yet realised how ridiculous I am.
For me, loving Liverpool remains the most brilliant thing in the world and being a football supporter has got better over the years, not worse.
I spend too much of my time on it. I spend too much of my money on it. But I’m not going to be spoken down to because of it. “Modern football” has its problems. “Pre-modern football” had its problems.
I know which were bigger and I know which of the two is more enjoyable.
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
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Blimey, I agree with Mr. Gutmann shock. Going to lie down in a darkened room.
Both pieces were thought provoking and, in my opinion, excellent. I tend to agree with this side of the argument much more, but see the merits in both viewpoints (especially for the older fan). Keep up the great work, absolutely love the content and the Liverpool community here.
Belter that, Rob.
Great reply. The world is fully of difference and people can choose to support or not who they like. To suggest however that my experience is less fulfilled as a Liverpool supporter because I pay more is quite insulting to be honest. I love this club and always will despite how crazy they can make me at times. I’m not from Liverpool and it costs a lot when I do get the chance to go, but multimedia (including my Anfield Wrap subscription) that now exists thanks to modern football means I don’t miss anything. And for me, that is a good thing. It will never replace the experience of being at Anfield but when you can’t always go, its great to have that as an alternative.
Blah, blah, consumer choice, blah, blah the product, blah, blah the brand, blah, blah the modern game. Think I’ll go to Marine too if I can avoid people like you. Blah, blah the matchday experience might not be so good.
if more people want to watch Premier League football than ever, why is Everton offering half price tickets and are other clubs doing the same? Have facilities improved markedly over the last 30-40 years? I went to Everton v Watford recently and saw no changes since the 60s apart from the toilets in the Bullens rd Upper stand. A lot of money……millions….have been spent on players. A Liverpool player earns in a week what the entire staff at Marine earns in a year and good luck to him but a lot of people feel uncomfortable about this. So it is not just about admission prices.
I went to Anfield a few years ago on my friend’s season ticket for the Centenary Stand. Nice meal etc beforehand in the restaurant……not something we have yet at Marine….. The seats were so close together that i came home with bruises on my knees. this is my own personal reason why I wouldn’t go back to Anfield. Squashed like sardines in a tin. Is this apparent disregard for the comfort of fans part of the Modern Era?
Cheating and gamesmanship is not as prominent in non League and the lower down the pyramid you go the less you tend to see of this. Not sure why but perhaps a psychiatrist will be able to tell you. Perhaps it is related to money or a particular manager. Marine players tend not to cheat but do Liverpool players? I don’t think so although I do see a lot of it in the Premier League in general. Perhaps there is more at stake.
Dickie’s article is clearly written from the heart, as is yours, Rob …and it is a very good reply in a very interesting debate….but to suggest that his views are disingenuous is unfair. Perhaps you should come along to a Marine game sometime to see for yourself what non League has to offer. What about National Non League Day?
Discomfort for fans is not soley part of the modern era as I am sure you are aware. Crowd surges, crowd charges, poor seating – QPR for one – were always there. Very unlikely to get the former 2 in so called modern football.
I am involved with a non leauge club of around Marines standing and there is plenty of games manship or cheating going on – it always has and always will whichever level you happen to be paticipating in or watching unfortunately.
I think whilst having sympathy with both articles – I am 51 – so I have seen plenty of both eras, it is a little disingenous to suggest that things were better back in the day – Its very easy to forget both the blatent and latent violence that surrounded the game in the 70s/80s and early 90s. I enjoyed it then and I enjoy it now.
Deffo be there on national non leauge day!
Great piece Rob. As equally heartfelt. I feel for both cases. I’m not able to get to games out here in Canada, but I’m more obsessed than I’ve ever been (maybe it’s the distance). There’s a huge group of people who gather (4am sometimes) most weeks to watch every game at a pub downtown called the Butcher and Bullock in Vancouver. Coffee, cooked breakfast and a bit of a sing along (pints served after 9am). Nobody can say that we’re disillusioned with the modern game – there’s a thirst for it everywhere. TV coverage, podcasts, blogs, fantasy leagues, naughty streams (got a bloody virus from one the other day)…it brings everyone together in a way that pre-internet was never possible. There’s so much incredible discussion around the club now (this site, Tomkins Times etc…). I know we’re not inside the stadium, soaking up local culture and paying extortionate ticket prices, but we’re still able to sympathise and be engaged with the club at the same time. Rob is completely right – it felt like Richard was stating things that were simply the eb and flow of supporting a modern football club.
Truely fantastic article, best on here for ages. Agree with every word and that’s said from someone with no season ticket and no chance of building up the credits to be useful.
Thank you, Rob. I, for one, am thankful for the modern game. I started following the Reds in 1996 after seeing the 96 Euro’s and falling in love with the England team. Steve McManaman was my favorite player. I live in the USA, and as luck would have it, ESPN used to show Premier League games in the middle of the night back then. I would stay up until 12 AM to watch that 96/97 Liverpool team, which seemed to feature almost every week. Then I graduated from college, got a job, couldn’t afford TV, and when I could finally afford it I worked so much I had no time to find the Liverpool matches. I tried following on the internet, but it’s almost impossible without being able to see the games.
I missed the treble in 2001, I missed Istanbul, I (thankfully) missed H&G.
In 2012, I changed jobs again, moved, got a satellite, and got the top sports package. What do you know, one of the first things I came across was “Being: Liverpool.” It rekindled my love for the Reds, and I’ve only missed a few matches since then. It’s been a wonderful way to spend my time. It’s frustrating, joyful, fun, boring, exciting and maddening all at the same time. I love it, I love my Reds, and I’m oh, so thankful that modern football allows me the luxury to experience it.
I’ve suspected it for a while now, but it’s time to speak out…
I love you Rob Gutmann!
Very emotive piece from Rob and eloquent as always. Chelsea 2005 was the second best atmosphere I’ve experienced at Anfield, bettered only in my opinion by St Etienne. I suppose that in a way supports Rob’s argument – all seater stadium, expensive ticket, hyped by Sky and accessible to all.
I will only stop going when I can’t afford it and I’m afraid it’s getting close. My love for my football club is such that crap owners, hyperbolic media coverage, diving prima donnas, unpopular managers are totally irrelevant, they are transients in the long history of my club and football generally. However where I disagree with Rob is his seeming acceptance that ‘modern football’ has not damaged what can only be described as the ‘soul’ of the game. The buzz for his lads and Rob himself might be just great when the match arrives, but what made Liverpool FC what it was – it’s tradition and culture based on working class values and attitudes has gone, and has not been replaced by a wholesome substitute.
It’s hard, perhaps impossible to convey to comparatively new supporters like Rob, never mind his lad, the difference between going to and experiencing ‘the match’ like I did in the 60’s and 70’s with today’s choreographed version. The sometimes physically demanding queue to get in, finding your spec and seeing the same lads and men (hardly any women of course), waiting for ages for the match to start, joining in the songs, learning the new ones, feeling the increasing ebb and flow as the Kop filled up, throwing your coins down to the lad selling chewies then getting them thrown back via a few hands and your change, taking the piss out of Walrus, the growing anticipation as the time (no clock) edged towards kick off and the roar as the team emerged (after YNWA) was simply the best experience one could have.
Yes there were cultural and social issues e.g. an acceptance of racism and the edginess of latent ‘trouble’, things which have declined and rightly so. However it is with regret that the common wisdom of the crowd built up over so many decades has been eroded. The lack of atmosphere is to be expected when there are so many in the crowd who have no shared heritage with those around them, when going to the match is an end in itself not part of the cultural identity of who you are, and more importantly of those around you. By heritage I don’t mean support as I’m sure there are many from say the Far East who have supported the club via a screen for years, but what they bring to the game is a desire to be apart of something that sadly no longer exists for the most part -a predominately Scouse working class ethos based on learned traditions and ways of behaving.
I suppose Rob would call me old fashioned, nostalgic, not accepting that things change and forgetting the benefits of ‘modern football’. Well he’d be right!
There’s some great passion here! Just to add to Frankie’s bit……. a few years ago, I became the carer for Geoff Strong who had Alzheimers. Over a three year period, I looked after him and became his friend. I really loved the man. Through Geoff I got to appreciate the Liverpool ethos, culture, passion. He told me stories about Shanks, whom he adored. He repeated over and over his version of his greatest goal when he scored in the semi final of the European Cup Winners Cup. He introduced me to Roger Hunt, Gerry Byrne, Ian Callaghan and others. I told them all once that, as a teenager, I had an Everton season ticket but knew my future was with Marine. The way they cared for Geoff was an eye opener. The majority of that team of ’65 had stuck together through thick and thin, as mates. Geoff even had a season ticket. He became a passionate supporter. I wonder if players from this Modern Era will still be there for one another in 40-50 years time? At Geoff’s funeral, his coffin was led up the aisle of the church to the Anthem, You’ll Never Walk Alone. It was the first and probably the last time I would ever sing it but I did it for Geoff.
This says it all for me to St ettienne I would add Celtic in the Cup Winners, Inter Milan and also league games against Leeds Utd . I’m sure there are more but this post sums up my feelings
But does working class culture exist in the same way it did before? Many of the jobs surely don’t. I think a lot of the problems people are talking about are representative of a culture shift in general not just consigned to football, selfie sticks being the most obvious example.
Sure, the cost is a big problem, especially when people are having to make choices between being there for their families or going to the game. But maybe the answer is to reduce the number of season tickets and make it easier for people to come on a more casual basis. People can then make it to as many games as they can spare the time/afford and no one will feel forced to be there if they can’t be arsed.
Great contributions from Frankie and Barry. They clearly get it in a way the writer and the bandwagon jumpers never will.
Good reply Rob but not one that I agree with.
If you do not think that there is a material culture change going on in Liverpool’s traditional fan base then you are not looking or listening.
This is not about not loving LFC, far from it. It is about recognising that change after change to the match going experience (cost, credits, computer tickets, general change in fan demographic, registration, no cup final tickets, below par cup line ups, changed kick off times, Thursday Sunday, corporate fans, player wages, customer not fan, etc… ) has meant that some people feel the current thing is too far removed from the thing they fell in love with.
Every group of lads that I know who go the game have this discussion repeatedly through the season and numbers of these people continue to fall. You are right that there are more to take their place but that is an entirely different discussion and is not related to the original point.
I look forward to TAW player discussions on this subject which was touched upon in the flag debate last week
Keep it up lads – great stuff
Really passionate and well-argued article, Rob. I think you make lots of valid points too and I personally agree with much of it. There is plenty to savour about modern football.
i agree with the fellas above on the subject of cheating, though. It seems to me to be completely true that the lower down the leagues you go the less “modern” gamesmanship you get. In particular, the diving and rolling around feigning injury, or just making an absolute meal of the slightest bit of contact, is far less common.
I’m not having the atmosphere-angle presented at all, either. It’s true that the early 80s were not the loudest times at Anfield comparatively, arguably due largely to the preceding success. It’s also true that there were quiet matches, but the quiet then wasn’t comparable to the quiet now. That isn’t romanticism, it’s just true. The players would always know they had supporters on their side, even if it was a slow game punctuated by the odd chant for a player etc, there was a general buzz about the place. Over the last few years, the consistent quiet is at another level entirely. Hostility toward the players and manager are the overriding sentiments in the air at Anfield now. The status of a match and the performance have always been key to atmosphere but let’s not completely revise things. The 2005 Chelsea semi was up there with the best without doubt, but 2014 was only really special before ( and sometimes after) the games in my opinion. There were one or two that cranked up but mostly they went a bit flat after the initial fervour. I’ve posted a few times on this subject and aware it’s a bit pointless to just whinge on with no solutions. However, I agree with the implied point that we don’t necessarily need to change everything about those in the ground to bring back an atmosphere. We do, however, need to change various attitudes.
I have always said things are better these days. Take porn for example. So easy for filthy perverts like you lot to get access to. In the old days you had to run into the news agents and buy a copy of Razzle if you wanted a ‘Barclays Bank’.
Great article Rob! Really great. Spot on, everything.
I especially like the mention of hooligans in pre-modern football times as opposed to modern football’s family friendly libraries of today. I’m paraphrasing a lot there, but it always bothered me how English fans praise the atmospheres of some Eastern European derbies (i.e. Copa90’s Derby Days), yearning for the old days where flares were standard issue for supporters. In most of those countries, it’s exactly as you’ve described the old days, racist chants, homophobia, xenophobia, being unable to wear your team’s gear in public, except it’s 2015. Those “amazing” adrenaline filled atmospheres are created by people who have very little interest in what’s happening on the pitch. Those seats behind the dugout, or right next to the pitch are science fiction scenarios.
Give me Premier League’s Dunkin’ Donuts sponsored kid friendly libraries with superstars of modern football on the pitch right there in front of you and I’ll take it all day long.
Modern football’s appeal at LFC presents a special problem that doesn’t exist at Everton.
The problem (and the solution) is the waiting list. Tired season ticket holders look at the waiting list and know if they gave up their tickets to get a break for a year or two, they would never be back. They hold on to their seats even when they are worn out and bitter. They sit at Anfield and are a misery unless the team is at the absolute heights, moaning at our own players and not pressurizing the officials.
The waiting list could provide a fresh rush of enthusiasm to Anfield. How?
Select a third of the season tickets for 2016-2017 and turn them into half season renewals. Break the released half season tickets into quarter season tickets. Offer these “new tickets” to people on the waiting list. Result: two excited new fans for every one partially dispossessed old fan.
Do it again for another third of the season tickets in the following season.
How do you get exempted from this treatment? Why, subscribe to TAW Player of course!
Modern football for me is definitely not better,there are a number of reasons why I’ve become hugely apathetic to it, only the love I have for LFC keeps me interested.
When I say interested,I mean LFC. When I was your lad’s age Rob (I sound arl here but believe that was only a dozen years ago) I’d like to think I had my finger on the pulse. An upcoming talent from an obscure club/country? Yeah I’ve heard of him. Charlton’s back 4? Yeah I know who they all are. The manager of every premier league club? Yeah I could rattle them off within a minute.
Now they’re just random (but not entirely untruthful) scenarios I’ve created but my point is now I don’t care now, don’t care because I feel mostly detached from it all.
Competition is non-existent now, sure teams have periods of dominance but such is the money floating around at the top end of domestic and European football then the same sides will always, always feature I believe for an awful long time to come. That’s shite, I can’t empathise with an Evertonian,but I can sympathise with regard to the fact they know they’ve got virtually no chance of scaling the upper echelons of English/European football.
Prices are disgraceful and unacceptable, but if people (myself included) are willing to pay I see why they charge what they do. Doesn’t make it right though, even if it does fit in with capitalisms supply and demand rules. I earn a decent wage, above the national average anyway, and I can safely say there is no chance of me attending every game this season due to cost, even if I wanted to. I’d probably manage 50% if I’m lucky because of cost.
I don’t have children, but if I ever have a son he’s definitely being raised a Red, still disappoints and infuriates me that I’d be only be able to take us both to around maybe 8-10 matches a season because of cost. Sure modern football is family friendly because it’s safe to go, but its definitely not family friendly in terms of cost.
Finally the contempt for supporters is shocking. Club’s don’t love us, they love our £££. I get the pro-Marine post, because it was clear the writer (and I’m assuming other Marine supporters) actually feel appreciated and respected by the club. Contempt also comes in the form of ridiculous kick off times. Bournemouth travelled to us on a Monday night, this season we went to Arsenal on a Monday. How is this anything other than contempt and disrespect? The clubs are scared to say anything (not that they’d care enough to say so anyway) because they don’t want to ruffle the commercial organasation’s feathers. For a Monday league game travelling for the majority of away fans should be restricted to no more than say 90 minutes I think, that way you can still be home for midnight or just after.
I know that was long-winded but there yer go. Lack of competition, outrageous pricing and general contempt of the most important part of a football club’s fabric, the supporters, are the main reasons why I think modern football is just not great.
Wait till your priced out then you’ll see how it affects how much you enjoy it
When I say that I’m “against modern football”, I don’t mean that I’m against facilities that aren’t death traps, that I’m against pitches that actually have grass on them past November, I’m not even put out by the spread of 3G pitches at the lower echelons of the football pyramid. The aesthetics aren’t for me, but I wouldn’t let dayglo football boots and centre halves using moisturiser on their tattooed arms colour my overall opinion of the game.
When I’m “against modern football” I’m against a “matchday experience” that requires credit cards, a healthy bank balance, memberships and a Kop that’s all but been sanitised into extinction. I’m against the erosion of a social identity to the point where it’s barely identifiable. I’m against the commoditisation and monetisation of the memory of that social identity for the benefit of a hedge fund that did nothing to create it and everything to finish off what was left of it. I’m against a business where a cost-benefit analysis says that trophies aren’t worth winning.
I don’t begrudge anybody who still gets their LFC hit from the sports entertainment franchise in L4. Equally, I wouldn’t criticise anybody who no longer recognises the current incarnation of Liverpool Football Club as anything resembling the one that captivated us in the days before “modern football” became just another branch of the sports entertainment industry.
Any way Gutman. You must have had your eyes closed in the 80’s. The football was outstanding. It was society that was backwards. Now its the reverse.
So, keep counting your money while you pretend to be pissed off about paying over the odds to watch a load of mercenary footballers kick a footy around.
Two great articles. I agreed with them both. How shallow am I? Or am I the only one who vacillates on this debate?
I’m not normally so impressionable but the fact that I nodded my head to most of what was said in both of these brilliantly written articles, leads me to conclude that the issues are fraught with emotion and circumstantial perspective.
Or at least that’s my story, and I’m sticking with it. (Confession: I probably wish I could be more emphatic as both authors are.)
There is much in what you say about being treated like shit by the police. If Thatcher had her way with identity cards being a football fan would have made you a potential criminal. The result of such thinking of course was the holacaust at Leppings Lane cattle pens
If there wasn’t so much violence from “fans”, there wouldn’t have been the backlash. If you were around in the 70s/80s and going to games, you’d know it was scary fucking stuff at times. And that was well before plod started treating “fans” as animals, and Thatch came to power.
I’d like to know when it changed. Any oldies here that remember when you could go to games without being spat at by the opposition, gangs roaming looking for kick-ups etc. Presumably something changed with those going to games between the 60s and 70s?
Everyone should make an effort to visit their local non-league clubs. They are desperately short of funds. Their league FA’s stadium requirements invariably slurp all income from these clubs as they attempt to make every ground in the country some super stadium, meanwhile rugby clubs with far higher attendances are find with roped off grass and hot dog vans in the rough.
Your local clubs not only have to compete with constant TV games every day of the fucking week, they’re also up against pirate live streams, where glory-boys and hanger-ons think they’re fans because they’re sitting behind a PC screen while moaning about shit atmosphere and worse feeds.
Get off your arses, and make an effort to keep your local club alive. Even if you only go to five games a season. Best of all, unlike PL games, you can turn up on the day with your mates, sit or stand where you like and often change ends at half time if you like standing (yes, you can stand!) behind the goal, and fuel up on beer before, during HT and the end in the club bar(s).
Most of what Rob says is correct, but I can’t agree with the central premise. The game is now somehow much less than the sum of its parts. Having said that, I have to admit to only finding things (anything) truly exciting when I was young.
The general tedium of my youth was punctuated by moments of sheer glory and utter despair. The problem with the internet is that you are never totally bored and with nothing at all to do. This has a depolarising effect on triumph and disaster.
I guess I could go back to spending 6 weeks of summer hanging around penniless outside chip-shop doorways, or by the shove-penny falls in amusement arcades, but I would probably just get arrested.
It’s a problem with football nowadays. The money asepct of going to a game nowadays though, it is ridiculous and seeing people who turn away from the game because of it is totally understandable. It’s a heck of a lot easier subscribing to Sky/BT whatever and watching games on there, it’s easier going onto google, type in “watch football” or whatnot and there you are free football, and until football as a whole deals with the major issue of we can’t charge people £60+ per game (£240+ a month or there and there abouts if going by 4 games per month)… not many people can afford that and to expect people to pay that and with a mentality from clubs as well of “ah well if someone drops out, someone else will take their place”… it’s pure greed, pure and simple.
I like Rob’s article and i liked the previous article that this is in reply to, and you can see merits from both view points, but i would say modern football nowadays has similar quirks as what football did back in the day did as well. As Rob says, cheating is cheating, claiming for a throw-in/corner when it clearly wasn’t is cheating/gamesmanship, and diving, feigning injury etc… it is the same, just some are frowned upon more than the other.
I think another aspect that might put off people from the game nowadays is the constant coverage of football, everyday there has to be a news when sometimes during a week there is nothing new. Constant media attention can be a bit exhausting for some and you can understand when they might say “ok enough is enough”
If course the real issue is we have the dodgiest owners who have turned the club into a burger franchise that is worse than being plastico Chelsea… Cheap manager, cheap players, global brand maximised for profit. And just like burgers, the product is disgusting…. or in Liverpools case, dull, uninspiring uncompetitive Football… That isn’t worth the money. The franchise doesn’t represent the values of the city like the club once did. Hence the exodus.