Now, FFT doesn’t want to go all Yer Da’ on things – we’d much prefer to celebrate the game than go all Against Modern Football on you.
But we’re not robots. Who can’t help but quietly seethe – or not so, if most living rooms are to be heard – about the trivial issues that litter matches and post-match drawl? Robots, we say.
Recently we asked the question on Twitter about what annoys you most about modern football… and we listened. Below are many of your (more reasonable) answers, plus dozens more that Team FFT have chucked in for good measure.
(This is part one of three – so re-join us on Thursday and Friday for the full ramble)
Naturally, we begin with…
Yeah, football was loads better when carthorses could smash through the back of skilful players – and also that chain-smoking playmaker from your youth is far superior to modern, super-athletes. That’s definitely how all sport works.
The current state of the offside rule
When officials watch replays to learn if an attacker’s shoulder is offside at the precise moment a ball leaves his team-mate’s foot, you have to ask if we’ve lost sight of the rule’s purpose: stopping goal-hangers.
“Can I have your shirt?” signs
Pathetic, snivelling Oliver Twists with misspelled cardboard signs trying to guilt-trip your star player before the game has even kicked off. No you can’t, runts. He’s promised to swap it with the opposition full-back at half-time as they hug and laugh down the tunnel.
Kick-off times with no regards for away fans
We’ve all done the cross-country trip which starts before dawn or ends in the small hours. But the recent explosion of such occurrences has no excuse. Well, maybe one: TV money. Because you haven’t had enough of that, have you?
Getting booked for shirt off/celebrating with fans
It’s been law long enough now that it’s clear players can’t stop despite knowing they should; almost like it’s a spontaneous moment of pure, cathartic bliss. Let them have their fun you dusty old monsters.
Because nothing spoils that instant, shared, joyous goalscoring moment like your star striker waving away team-mates so he can don a full Deadpool costume and do a Fortnite dance by the corner flag.
People filming games they’re at
Hundreds holding up phones in the vain hope they get a crap recording of a goal to ‘share’ later. Why, it’s almost as if everyone knowing you were at the game is more important to you than actually being there. Almost.
Fairytale cup ties being branded ‘lucrative’
League Two strugglers are drawn out of the hat to face Premier League gaz(prom)illionaires. Fans dream of an historic upset and inside toilets. Then the well-meaning but point-missing host immediately asks the manager or owner what this means for club finances, and it’s suddenly a little less special.
Clapping through a minute’s silence
Specifically: the necessity thereof, because adults can’t be trusted to stand quietly without someone booing (and being booed, making things worse). Applause supposedly celebrates life, but often resembles a half-hearted gesture of congratulations for dying, which is why we don’t do it on Remembrance Sunday.
Transfer deadline day hysteria
It is actually interesting; anyone calling this a day of administration is being willfully obtuse. We’re too in thrall to the yellow-tie brigade, however, who congratulated Fulham for spending £100m in one summer as if that itself was the aim. And look how that went.
Ronaldo vs Messi
A once-diverting discussion became football’s dullest debate when everyone was forced to pick a side. Worse, it’s become weaponised by weapons, as Twitter trolls research tax laws and Nevada statutes of limitations to defend one player or attack the other.
Goalkeepers holding onto the ball for too long
Blame referees, not goalkeepers, because the six-second rule does exist. In a satisfying but sadly rare exception in 2015, Bordeaux scored from an indirect free-kick which punished Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet – and even that was 20 seconds.
We don’t expect Paul Pogba or Harry Kane to pretend they wash their kit between games. Does every fixture require a new one, though? That mythical No.9 shirt seems less mythical with a match date engraved below the crest.
How we laughed when Jeff Winter asked in his 2006 autobiography if, after his final Anfield game, the Kop were applauding him and not their victorious players. What a fool! He had to ask? Mike Dean would know.
Bans for two yellow cards
Suspensions for repeat offenders are necessary and red cards for two bookings in one game are… well, the rules. But is there any justification for banning someone because they picked up two yellows across five matches, à la Aaron Ramsey and Ben Davies at Euro 2016? No, there is not. Stop it UEFA, you drones.
Transfers made for #brand purposes
Player loans between affiliated clubs was just the start. Midfielder Mix Diskerud was an MLS outcast when Manchester City snapped him up – a transfer officially announced by Umbro. Currently on loan in South Korea, he’s contracted to City until 2022.
Ball boys playing the fool
FFT is generally glad children don’t work up chimneys any more, but we pity the manager who, with no possible recourse to violence, watches a prepubescent jobsworth mock him and knowing he has to just take it.
FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley
Admittedly, lower-league clubs deserve reward for reaching the last four when English football’s inequality means only two of the last 54 finalists were playing outside the top flight. On the other hand: ‘booking a ticket to Wembley’ by winning a quarter-final is just inherently wrong.
Club media capping up certain words
Stop capitalising the word ‘club’ in all forms of communication (including speech) – and worst of all, ‘coach’. You’re not Prince, you monsters.
Throwing pints in fan zones
— BOXPARK CROYDON (@BoxparkCroydon) July 12, 2018
Absolute scenes. 100% bits. Incontrovertible limbs. Last year’s World Cup was when pint-chucking took off – literally. But when this was happening after England went 5-0 up against Panama with a bloody penalty, it became clear that a wonderfully irrational moment of paid-seven-fifty-for-this-but-who-cares freedom had been supplanted by damp attention-seeking. Shame.
Players covering their mouths when talking
Mainly because they’re never saying anything worth hearing anyway. We want to believe it’s some genius tactical strategy, but it’s clearly just comparing Instagram followers to decide who gets to smash the next free-kick into the wall.
The section of Wembley that’s empty from the 45th-55th minutes every game
The most atmosphere-draining part of the Nu Wembley Experience is those acres of empty cushions. Being in Wembley’s innards is like hanging out in a soulless aircraft hanger. Why endure it when actual football is on?
FFP in the Football League
FFP is designed to stop fiscal doping. While we all agree it’s been a huge success reining in PSG and Manchester City, it’s had a detrimental effect on the Football League, where erratic fines and the impact of parachute payments have created a boom-or-bust culture.
We’ll be back with parts two (Thursday!) and three (Friday!) of this moan-fest. Come gather round, spread the woe and tells us what grinds your gears @FourFourTwo…
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