I stopped watched football when the stupid morons started “taking the knee” to the violent racist hate scam Black Lives Matter.
Doesn’t take long does it in the Unherd comments for someone to find a direct path to culture war stuff – well done! Although it would be nice once in a while to leave your obsessions aside and actually engage with the content of the article.
A very interesting and also quite inspiring piece about a subject I have no interest in. I’d add only that nearly all Python sketches don’t work today.
Hilarious and clever first sentence, as “that’s interesting” can mean nearly anything including “how delightfully free of interest”. Accurate second sentence too.
I enjoyed this essay and agree with most of it, except that it goes too far. Certainly football is much more cerebral than it used to be and the commentary and discussion much more thoughtful. However, let’s not imagine that football is now only for intellectuals. One of the glories of football is that, in the same league, a Russell Group university can be plying play a team of shop or factory workers, a police team and a team from a prety run-down housing estate. All are equal and social or intellectual background is no predictor of results.
I do recognise that, at the highest levels, a transformation has taken place and that the thoughtfulness a this level trickles down to lower levels, but football itself is a great leveller and you can think and plan all you like but if you’re not up for a ‘fight’ (not literally, although…) you’ll not win many games. I’ve known a fair few players who were not the sharpest thinkers, but were great players.
All of this makes football seriously socially inclusive! Who would have guessed that we could use the ‘I’ word of football? By the way, if a footballer from any of the socially excluded groups plays well and improves the team, he/she/it is in; he’s one of us. ‘He may be a ….., but he’s our……’
In passing, I remember reading an analysis of a tottenham team in the late 60’s or early 70’s where Martin Chivers was considered the team intellectual because he had 5 ‘O’ levels. No other player had any!
5 ‘O’s in 1969 probably out-thinks a 2-1 today.
You should take account of the online fan channels. Actual supporters talking freely on their own terms unmediated. The rest is noise.
No mention of James Richardson who flew the flag for educated football debate at the writer’s own paper for about two decades before the supposed emergence of this on Sky – nothing to do with the feud between the two of course. Laughable.
It is a shame that so much brainpower of regular people is ploughed into the effectiveness of City’s press vs that of Liverpool. While society crumbles people in the future will look back with amazement at the amount of time spent on this nonsense, much as chariot racing or gladiators were in times gone by.
The standard of analysis and comment in cricket and other sports has gone the other way in a frantic bid to seem inclusive and has had the effect of turning off regular listeners (see talksport’s coverage of England vs TMS – with TMS trying desperately to ape their rivals).
Notable that all of the notable “thinkers” are foreigners working in this country. Even the supposedly sophisticated Gary Neville presided over a shambles when he tried to implement his intellectual approach with real players.
My tactics for football watching on telly are: mute commentary*, avoid all pre-match pre-amble, have the iPad handy (to read Unherd).
Oh… and never watch Monday or any other night whatever-it-is with G and J.
*occasional exception for Roy Keane.
Surely football is just tribal !? Who care what happens before during and after the match as long as your team put the ball in the opponent’s Netty bit more often than the opponent put the ball into your Netty bit !!
I understand that Millwall are getting rid of the Pukka Pie stalls, and replacing them with artisanal madeleine boutiques, fringed with pink hawthorn hedging.
There is nothing that is not perfectly butch about artisanal madeleine boutiques, fringed with pink hawthorn hedging, imho.
Excellent and enjoyable article, thanks.
Jonathan Wilson is cherry picking his facts to fit his argument.The money that the Premier League means they can attract the most of the relatively football intelligent managers and players. However in terms of political or cultural intelligence football has gone downhill.
Barring the player Zaha the entire Premiership chose to embrace Black Lives Matter for over 2 years.Really intelligent workplaces would not have had this unanimous group think.BLM are race-based marxists whose activists would have regarded millionaire bending the knee footballers as ‘useful idiots’. I suspect many more managers and players in the past would have questioned what exactly is ‘race based marxism’
Noone in soccer points out that in the mens game now everyone is a cheat on the pitch and most try to intimidate the referee.Off the pitch breaking signed contracts is the norm.In the past some of Britains top footballers were genuinely ‘gentleman’ as in Sir Bobby Charlton,Sir Trevor Brooking
Cheating, intimidation and breaking contracts are the direct result of the ludicrous sums of money now washing around the highest levels of the game. Together with absurdities of VAR, they have made elite football unwatchable for this ex-fan.
Unfortunately I’m in the minority, as plenty of fools are still parted from their money by the exorbitant ticket prices and TV subscriptions that pay the wages of these intellectual prima donnas. I look forward to reading Phil Foden’s treatise on neuro-linguistic programming as a facilitator of the Great Reset.
Pseudo-intellectual commentary exists so that middle-class Guardian readers can read it and “ally” with the working-classes.