by Chris Tobin

Once upon a time in a place and moment that we have all long since forgotten you could go and catch a game of top flight football, in what was known as The First Division – Yes First as in the best. The detriment for supporters would be far from just financial, danger from others at every turn, while stadiums unfit for cattle being promoted as the very best this country would have to offer. And as my memory serves; I would love it.

A programme would cost pence, whilst access to live matches on television would be limited; it would seem not to matter as going to games would prove less expensive. This is not a tale nor wondrous journey back toward halcyon days, more a confrontation with the modern game, its arrogance, its lies and the addiction I have to devour more and more of The Great Football Swindle.
We have been entrapped by a media intent on a gravitation toward gossip and malicious meandering, as the press engages itself in telling stories without a hint of truth or actual relation to football, we become trapped on its hook as we feed on tittle tattle unaware of the agendas at play, and it has become too late to wriggle free.

How can the printed media and journalists compete with a constant stream of news lines? Well it and they can cause controversy, print less about real stories in relation to football, It would appear much easier to rehash the same old trusted tag lines of #Drugs #Racism #Cheating it has become so much more difficult to actually write about football and make it interesting. That art is well and truly dead – just read old hacks like Sports Journalist of 2012 James Lawton and the bile he spills under the disguise of Independent Sports Writer.

Football is one of the few sports that have no need for self-promotion or fancy sales techniques when its partners and paymasters facilitate any such need to endorse its product or stimulate its customers. Sky the BBC and any other mainstream television will whore football around like its life depended upon it, whilst losing its soul in the progress . Football in a nutshell has become too powerful to resist, a drug like I need my fix.

The cost alone for such extravagance as being a football fan is at an unprecedented level, not just ticket prices; some clubs charge more for a programme than a NHS nurse earns in an hour saving a life. Repulsed? We should be, however we seem not. Ticket prices rise at an unrelenting pace, like a pony running through the butchery section at Tesco – It does not appear like stopping any time soon.

The truth if there is any – We are being had on a massive scale and our response is to close our eyes, stick fingers in our lugs whilst emptying our well earned in The Premiership collecting bowl and so what if it goes up a pound a month every so often, who cares if we are watching less games for more money Mr Sky – For you do it so well, keeping me entertained with your imbeciles at the ready, I dare not name them all. It does seem that ever new week that passes you dig up another of these former pro’s to give his expert views on the bloody obvious, but my they do have shiny suits while they give a synopsis on the extraordinary events my eyes have just witnessed for myself. God only knows who you will dig up from the depths of footballers graves next.

Then we have pundits with their punditry, what is this some sort of art or a profession, an expertise being spread across my airwaves whilst I shake my head and point my fist toward the television as these experts steal a living having spent all of their own in Ladbrokes or the local Wetherspoons. I get all of this for just £60 per month – therapy would probably be less of an expense and more enjoyable.

Football perpetuates this wanton customer criminality whilst silently sitting back counting the profits, the repugnance with which we should treat football is only outweighed by the constant feeding of its monstrous ego, we are as guilty as football, as we have allowed it to go unchecked.

Machiavellian millionaires tells us how hard their lives are, maybe they should be made to go on the government’s latest slavery programme Workfare if they are unable to exist after their careers finish – Living off once legendary status expecting all and sundry to support then through their old age.

Has it really been worth it, is it worth it still? I rather think it is not now, although it once was. The very worst thing that happened to football has been Sky and The Premier League. Sky has its latest promo for the United v Real Madrid game telling us that only one word can connect us – FOOTBALL. My opinion is that there are a few more that can connect us – Ripped-Off, Conned, Overpriced, Disillusioned and the one word that truly connects us…Gullible.