Anyone who has come out of a long-term relationship will tell you that it isn’t the big stuff that ultimately eroded the love away. It was the little things. Toenail clippings on the carpet; the insistence of having only half a teaspoon of sugar with a brew; the way they uniquely mispronounce a word – a trait that’s adorable early doors but gradually, over time, wears you down to the point where you silently scream ‘It’s fucking ICE cream, not ICED cream. How fucking hard is it to remember that?!’ inside your head every time you hear it.

The same rule applies to football. I have loved the game for as long as I can remember. Thirty-plus years as it stands.

Yet recently I’ve found myself gnawing on my knuckle at some of the little things. The big stuff – the mercenaries; the equivalent of the gross national product of a developed African country spent on a mediocre player who kisses your club’s badge one week then demands a transfer the next; the persistent incompetence of FIFA and UEFA; the financial inequality within the game which results in yet another fine club facing administration and possibly going out of existence entirely – still understandably grate and will continue to do so. But it’s the more trivial annoyances that are making me fall ever-so-slightly out of love with football and placing a strain on the longest relationship I have ever been in. For the first time I’m noticing crow’s feet around the eyes of the beautiful game and the coquettish charms of snooker and rugby union are starting to catch my attention.

I cannot envisage myself writing the sport a ‘Dear John’ letter anytime soon, but the below examples certainly make me occasionally contemplate a Ross-and-Rachel style ‘break’.

1/ Electronic substitution boards – Modern-day football really does have its use of available technology arse-over-tit. Where it is needed, such as to determine, beyond any doubt, contentious, often game-deciding, goal-line incidents, the esteemed and wise governing bodies don’t want to know.

Where it is positively not required, such as replacing a perfectly infallible system of holding aloft a wooden piece of board with a number written upon it, with instead a digital version that sometimes messes up, the forces-that-be are all in favour!

Many a time we see it flash up the wrong number – or break down completely – meaning the assistant has to wave back the unintended player and start frantically trying to signal the number ‘27’ with his fingers. It looks amateurish, clumsy, and often takes longer than the original system that was far too simple and sensible to survive the modern age.

2/ Short corners – Your team has a corner. An opportunity to deliver a free, unhindered cross into the most dangerous area of the pitch where the tallest members of your side are waiting and ready.

Instead the corner-taker taps the ball five yards towards an approaching full-back who is swiftly closed down. The defending team step up to create an off-side for any attackers who thrive in the six-yard box whilst your full-back struggles to take on his opponent who is harrying him determinedly. If you’re lucky he will be able to do something that five seconds earlier was being handed to your team on a plate – put in a delivery.

The crowd – initially expectant and vocally encouraging when the corner-kick was awarded – sigh in frustration as the full-back has nowhere to go and, rather than be dispossessed, punts the ball forty yards back to the halfway line. The opposing side push out and all momentum and advantage is lost.

Short corners are dumb. They make no sense.

Get the best deliverer of a ball in your team to whip it in along the six yard line every time, instruct your best headers of the ball to attack it each time, and score more goals per season. Or is that, like the sub boards, just too simple for this world that we now live in?

3/ Not beating the ‘first man’ – When I’m older and my GP enquires what may have been the cause for my colossal ulcer I shall simply say this –

‘I watch several football matches a week. During each game I witness on at least ten occasions a professional footballer – who is paid very generously for his talents and is supposedly one of the best in the country at what he does – unable to lift a football from a stationary position over the head of the first opponent in his way, who is standing a very reasonable distance from him. Whether it be a corner, free-kick, or the occasional instance of receiving the ball unmarked out on the wing, he has ample time to connect with the ball properly. Yet he, for some reason, hits it at a low trajectory, right smack-bang onto the head of the first opponent it encounters. And I wont lie to you doc. It annoys me. It annoys me a lot’

4/ Breathing aids – Thankfully these daft items – ranging from nose-bands to Vicks splattered onto the shirt (making a 200 grand a week superstar look like they’ve encountered a blind dogger) – seem to have fallen from fashion of late. But I fear their return in some form or other in the future. Scuba wear perhaps?

The recent trend for snoods shows that the players are still not content with simply wearing shirt, shorts, socks and boots and that there will always be someone, somewhere, getting rich from making others look very stupid.

5/ Music after goals – We cannot import the best aspects of American sport can we. The cheap food and beer. The immaculate facilities.

No, instead we bring over their exasperating habit of loudly blaring out a snatch of pop music to accompany a goal. They do it over there because their sporting culture is different to ours. Their celebrations are far more civilised and usually involve high-fiving a nearby redneck at most.

Here in Blighty we simply do no need this manufactured soulless encouragement to rejoice. Booming out Chelsea Dagger by The Fratellis immediately following every goal is incongruous, extremely annoying, and turns a genuine, real moment of joy into a phone advert.

'Chelsea, Chelsea I believe!....oh hang on, we're Reading.'

6/ Champions League group stages – Nothing more than a series of pointless cash cows. An entirely predictable procession of the best two teams within the group of four annually progressing to the knockout rounds, where things actually become interesting and matter. Phoney wars between Man U and Shakhtar Donesk to see who will top a group that also contains brave no-hopers such as MSK Zilina are over-hyped with fanfares and glitter but fool precisely no-one as to their limited relevance.

90% of group matches in this tournament are glorified pre-season friendlies and it’s very difficult to get worked up about Chelsea yet again beating Copenhagen 2-0 away.

Do you agree or disagree with the Cutter’s choices?

Do you have any of your own that consistently make you want to reach down your throat, pull out your spleen and throw it at the nearest passer-by?

If so please feel free to add Daisy Cutter as a friend on Facebook. As a further incentive she’s blonde, attractive, and half-naked in the profile pic.

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