The Greed is Good League


With an over-hyped buildup and fanfares by the likes of Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon Prime and the Beeb, live televised Premiership football finally returned to our screens after a three month absence.

The over-75 pensioners' favourite, Gary Lineker, was almost hysterical about the fact that it was the first time in the BBC history that it was broadcasting live Premiership football.

It was obvious that the Beeb did not get first pick as the four matches they had on show were the ones the bigger broadcasters were not interested in, so effectively they got the scraps off the table and very grateful they were too.

On show they had Everton v an all-but relegated Norwich City. Then there was the clash of titans Burnley v Wolves - two teams scrambling to get Europa League spots. 

Well, Wow Widdly Whee, I could hardly contain my apathy.

In the build up to the restart of the Premiership poor old Gary Lineker was whipped into a frenzy of delight and was almost in Ian Paisley mode trying to bull up and sell the great British public these matches like a hyperactive double glazing salesman who is one order short of reaching his monthly sales target.

Was the resumption of Premiership football worth the wait? I think not.

At the start of one match the players partook in the BLM kneeling thing. Then another minute was lost when they stood around in silence for someone who passed away. For goodness sake get on with the match.

The first few matches looked slow and understandably many of the players were off the pace. If anything it was comparable to watching pre-season friendlies and almost as exciting.

In a few games, just as the players were starting to find their feet and just as the momentum was beginning to build up, everything stops to give the poor lambs a water break. Not once, but a break in each half, which in turn breaks up the rhythm of the game. I am sure this is some form of dress rehearsal and advance training ahead of the World Cup in Qatar where water breaks will take place every 20 nano-seconds.

It could also be a ploy for football to attract sponsorship from some of the bigger bottled water companies. I hear that Total Aqua Pure is the frame to win this contract. It would be great to watch footballers drinking from a bottle labelled TAP Water.

If water breaks have to be had, there would be plenty of opportunities to issue H20 to the players during one of the numerous stoppages in play owing to VAR. In fact they could have a three course meal in the time it takes VAR to make a decision.

The worst decision of all was allowing 5 substitutes per match. In the worst-case scenario it is possible that ten substitutions could take place in a match, once again breaking up the play and killing the drive of the game.

At times it was reminiscent of watching an England friendly when Fabio Capello was in charge, putting one sub on after another until the entire starting eleven was replaced.

I am surprised that he wasn't called 'U boat' behind his back as he had more subs than the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) during the Second World war.

It was recently put to the vote by The Premiership as to the five sub rule becoming a permanent fixture in English football but fortunately the motion was rejected, albeit just by only two votes.
"Gary Lineker was whipped into a frenzy of delight and was almost in Ian Paisley mode trying to bull up and sell the great British public these matches"

It is obvious that the bigger clubs would benefit from this rule to the detriment of clubs with less resources. Imagine next season Fulham playing Man City and hanging on to a one-all draw with fifteen minutes of match remaining and Pep tells his bench of Jesus, Sterling, Foden, Silva and possibly Messi to start warming up. In reply Scotty Parker, the Fulham Manager, tells Luca Murphy to get ready to come on.

The subs' benches of the likes of Manchester United,  Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs would each equate to the total value of many of the Premiership's smaller clubs' entire squads and backroom staff.

What with SUBS, VAR, BLM,  H20 breaks and all the other delays, the average game will take around the best part two hours to watch.

All this aside, the absolute worst thing about watching football during Covid was the empty stands and the lack of atmosphere. Goodness knows what the players felt like playing in front of 30-60,000 empty seats.

The fans are integral to any football match and like the players have their own role to play by creating an atmosphere encouraging their own team whilst intimidating the opposition as well as influencing the officials.

I watched Michail Antonio of West Ham score four goals in a vital relegation clash against Norwich City. In normal circumstances he would be wildly celebrating with the travelling fans and his team mates; however it was a muted affair, much like scoring goals on the Rec.

I saw some fixtures and in one case I thought that I didn't fancy Burnley's chances at Anfield owing to home advantage but as there was no fans in attendance, there was no home advantage. Turns out Burnley picked up an unlikely point. The only team that would benefit from playing at home in a fan-free stadium would be the Borer.

It is time that the likes of the Football League / Premiership / UEFA / FIFA and the broadcasters showed their appreciation for football supporters instead of treating them as cash cows and taking them for granted because without them football is nothing.

My heart goes out to all the teams involved in playoff finals, especially Harrogate, who have come so far and end up playing in an empty Wembley Stadium. That said, and all respect to the Yorkshire side, but based on their home attendances their fanbase would have hardly filled the dugouts in the national stadium.

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