'Yeah man'

by Mike Forrest

The footballing world has whirled past the cusp and has immersed itself deep into the core of a dark emotion – seriousness. This emotion evokes anger, discontent and brooding within the infected. But I have to ask, ala ‘The Joker’, “Why So Serious?”

We live in world where success is demanded, even expected, almost immediately. This satiable, often unattainable lust for success has wormed its way into football.

It is obvious that a team cannot win every match, cannot be successful every season and that mishaps are inevitable. Owners and fans alike have tricked themselves into thinking that there exists a cure for mishaps. The remedy that they have conjured to prevent and erode this disease is money.

Money is the apple of every human’s eye, even if most deny this fact. Money does buy happiness but not in the footballing world, a world that is effected by so many tangibles, variables and ridiculous foibles. Football is like religion; nobody has cracked the riddle and nobody ever will.

Banter among fans, crunching tackles and skimpy shorts used to be the foundations on which the game of football was built. Over time, and in keeping with how metrosexual and cosmopolitan the world has become, these foundations have been eroded and in its place money has been put. Yet as discussed money does not quell the appetite for success, instead only fuels it and thus fun has been stifled out of the game. Success can only be granted to a small quota of lucky teams, the rest are consigned to despair, misery and an off-season of gloom. So I implore chairmen of clubs across the world to put their chequebooks down and for fans to please, please lower their expectations and to make our great game fun again!

“Oh but how do we make the game fun again?” I hear you say. Simple. Let me start with the basics. Is anyone else tired of the dull, monotonous, repetitive, serious press conferences that mangers insist on bestowing upon us?

I mean at first I was intimidated by Kenny Dalglish’s aggressive defensive demeanour exacerbated by his Scottish brogue that he often displayed in his media dealings. I strived to find a solution, for the good of the game and I’ve found one. Dalglish has to have a mandatory spliff accompanied by a Bob Marley soundtrack playing on a small tannoy during every media outing. Chill Kenny, chill.

So much imagination would be displayed on the pitch that J.R Tolkien would be jealous.

Similarly Andrés Iniesta, Lionel Messia and Xavi are three of the most naturally creative players in the world. However, I couldn’t stop myself from thinking what would happen if we gave these three just a small dosage of LSD before every game. What could go wrong?! Natural creativity combined with artificial creativity, so much imagination would be displayed on the pitch that J.R Tolkien would be jealous.

However I am not condoning the abuse of drugs, which is why I would lower Ian Holloways intake of cocaine that he has before media conferences. (That is a joke, and in no way true). As for who would supply football with the aforementioned paraphernalia? Well, allegedly Roman Bednar has some contacts…(This is also a joke, and only partly true).

Finally in regards to media dealings, and this applies to players, officials and corporate people, everyone has to put on an accent when talking. Personally I find certain dialects quite humorous (Quieten down, I don’t mean it in a racist/xenophobic type way. After all I’m not Jack Warner.). Can you imagine a baked Kenny Dalglish conducting his interview with spliff in hand and in a Jamaican accent? I can.

Moving away from drugs what else could be done to make the game fun? I think maybe if we engaged in a spot of casual voodoo. If the FA or the Premier League bought say the Ghanaian FA’s best witch doctor, maybe a swap deal with Dave Richards? Then we print Sepp Blatters face on every ball used, before getting the Witch Doctor to do his magic, so Blatter feels the full force of a boot in his face every time the ball is kicked. And suddenly, Stoke become everybody’s favourite team.

Finally, my coup de gráce to make football fun again? This is the most complex to implement but also the simplest solution. Relax. Everyone relax.

Winning is great and gives even the most casual football fan a natural high, but winning is not the be all and end all. Especially when as fans, we have absolutely minimal influence on the actual game whatsoever. Yes, our discontent can get managers sacked and by creating a cauldron of noise within the stadium we can spur our teams on, but when it comes to actually influencing play? We have zero control. We can’t control if and when a player makes a mistake, we can’t control what team is picked, the tactics on which the team are set to play and so on.

Defeat for many fans triggers an inner demon that is all too eager to surface and display its ugliness. Anger, sorrow and hatred consume the defeated fan, tearing at every mental and emotional fibre in their body. I know this because I was once like this. But then I learned the absolute vital importance of keeping calm and carrying on in the face of either defeat or victory. After all we have no control on the outcome of a football match so getting into an unequivocal rage is similar to getting angry at the weather when you expected sunshine but got rain. It’s only a game after all…right?