Editorial: On being tired of football

I’ve found it hard to write this editorial, and I think it’s ultimately because I’m so tired.

I’m physically tired because, as I write this sentence, it’s 1:40am Wednesday morning and this isn’t even the last thing I have to do for the fanzine before sending it to the printers, only after which can I go to bed. Ready to get up for work at 7am.

But I think I’m also tired of football. Maybe, and hopefully, not the actual game, but I’m tired of so many aspects of it.

I’m tired of football’s increasing omnipresence; why do Manchester United need an official tyre partner in Indonesia? Why do Liverpool need an official skincare partner, when surely a decent centre half would be of more use to them?

I’m tired of leagues spending so much time rebranding themselves; as if it was the name of the competition stopping the people of Essex turning up in their hordes for Braintree Town against Gateshead. I’m tired of the Premier League’s rebrand and it only happened yesterday. I’m tired of marketing bollocks like this; ‘The identity is a huge tonal shift from buttoned up, shirt and tie, formal, reserved… to warm, human, approachable and informal.’ for what is just a f***ing logo for a football league, not a politician’s futile image makeover.

I’m tired of football’s inflated sense of self-importance and finances that have now long moved beyond the realms of anything vaguely sane. I’m tired of people celebrating how much has been spent in a transfer window rather than what it has been spent on. I’m tired of the transfer window, and the indulgence of it all; something deftly summarised by Frankie Boyle’s Deadline Day tweet ‘Your club has bought some journeyman midfielder sexcase for the price of a hospital’. I’m tired of knowing that for most clubs he’ll largely be right.

Children clamber to see what's happening in the ground as Weston Super Mare's FA Cup tie with Doncaster Rovers is postponedI’m tired of the arguments over ticket prices, particularly in the Premier League, that suggest only now have ticket prices become too expensive. I’m tired of fans complaining of ticket prices at their own club, whilst mocking empty seats at another. I’m tired of being charged £24 and upwards for third tier football, whilst the FSF puts its efforts into capping away ticket prices in the Premier League at a figure less than that. I’m tired of the way I still hand over my cash anyway, despite how tired I am of the ridiculous sums I’m being asked for. I’m tired of clubs attempts to justify these prices by telling me their tickets are cheaper than another club that I had no interest in watching. I’m tired of having to pay more on the day to watch a League match, despite it being a much less labour intensive transaction for all involved.

I’m tired of the fury and rage that greets every announcement as if it is a personal affront; sometimes football matches are postponed, sometimes football matches are lost, sometimes players are sold. I’m tired of the constant search for a scapegoat. I’m tired of the childish dismissals of anything a past player or manager ever did for the club as being ‘shit’. I’m tired of the twisting of the past to suit current arguments. Paul Dickov may not have been the right manager for the club, but he handed more youth team graduates debuts than any other Rovers manager since at least 1998; I’m tired of that being overlooked.

I’m tired of being asked if I support a bigger club. I’m tired of the Liverpool, or Chelsea, or Manchester United fans who ask me this getting all put out when I subsequently ask them if they do.

Fans head into the Keepmoat stadium for the second half of Doncaster Rovers versus GillinghamI’m tired of grown adults play-acting. I’m tired of how long a team that’s one nil up takes over a throw-in. I’m tired of goalkeepers pretending to berate their defenders, and pretending to not hear the referee soak up ten more seconds before a goal-kick. I’m tired of players who trot over to the far side of the pitch when they know they’re about to be substituted, so they can eat up as much time as possible walking to the bench. I’m tired of paying £24 or more to watch these same routines over and over again, every f***ing week.

I’m tired of the banter. I’m tired of tekkers. I’m tired of the language and the slang. I’m tired of Paddy Power and the f***ing Lad Bible.

I’m tired of engagement stats over information. I’m tired of retweeting praise and pretending the negatives never happen. I’m tired of new kits every year. I’m tired of people dicking about with hoops, and treating an away kit as a blank canvas.

I’m tired of lazily nicking other clubs’ songs. I’m tired of pyro. I’m tired of parties.

I’m tired of all this. None of it is football. None of it needs to happen.

Just give me the game. And my bed.

by Glen Wilson

This piece is the editorial for issue 80 of popular STAND fanzine; a football fanzine for the likes of Doncaster. A small number of copies of this issue are still available for a minimum £1 plus postage. If you would like a copy, get in touch at popularstand@outlook.com

49 thoughts on “Editorial: On being tired of football

    1. I don’t know when this was written but as of the start of 22/23 season this is exactly how I feel.I may not go to another Premiership game .I’m a pensioner now and even a concession ticket is £34 -£38 I’m talking Crystal Palace here.And whilst I understand security and safety issues,(I was a steward there for fifteen years)is it really necessary to body search a 70year old.The magic and joy has gone.I’ve been to Bromley and Wimbledon a few times last season both very family oriented and that brings a smile to my face.I just want to sit and watch some football and not feel intimidated my own teams fans going phsyco over the inane chants of opposition fans or the refusal of a VAR decision penalty.I think I will watch the last few years of my football where they care

  1. Exactly. And those are exactly the reasons why I don’t bother visiting football grounds with any regularity any longer. I can’t be doing with all that crap.

  2. Spot on.

    Quite a few others including PL Managers whinging about fixture congestion and injuries whilst happy to go on an 8 game pre season tour or even mid season. So called weakened teams in the FAC despite having squads brimming with so called ‘top quality ‘ best thing since sliced bread overseas. overhere overpaid overseas players hyped up by our tiresome fawning media who within 2 seasons are then saying how useless most of them are.

    Likewise PL Managers who come here with reputatons for building teams at Clubs that have more money than all the those outside the PL have collectively but probably would achieve nothing at the likes of Hartlepool et al. who then fail miserably but move on liek a jockey onto the next horse on the carousal;.

    Tired of a PL that is the ‘Best league in the World’ ????? but form which no Club has won the CHampions League for over 5 years with Arsenal failing o get past the last 16 in the same period. being told the grounds are sold out when MOTD cameras tell a different story and the attendances in the FL show acres of empty seats.

    Tired of the PL and live in hope it will implode

    The lsit is endless but I am to tired to go on

  3. great piece. ive been thinking this and saying it for years. but i just get called a moanr. and negative. back your club they tell me. its difficult when all this is going on

  4. I’m actually a Liverpool fan but I couldn’t agree more.

    I’m tired of A League of Their Own and Jamie Redknapp’s suits.
    And the way that pundits (on Sky especially) act like they are in this little ex-pros club with their jargon and banter.

    And every single betting ad. And accas. The Ladbrokes gang whatever they are called want killing.

  5. Agree with it all … and so well put too ….. but after decades of shite, I am going to stay on the MCFC rollercoaster a while longer yet …. I’ve put the time in during the those shite years .. ;-)

  6. Sums up a lot of what many football fans think. Unfortunately, it will probably only worsen next season when the new TV deal kicks in! Keep the faith! Gaz of Pompey.

  7. I think he’s tired! But seriously you need a break. It won’t do you any harm n will hopefully invigorate you however I know quite a few who have abstained n really don’t miss it anymore

  8. More to Football and the world than what goes on in England. I realised all this about 7 years ago. Get abroad and see Football – you will get the buzz back and the sadness at what goes on here will just seem a distant memory.

    Actions speak louder than words.

  9. I feel exactly the same,football is no longer a sport.it has turned into hype and a big business venture.
    No professional footballer in the premiership and championship play for the love of the game.Its all about money

  10. Why not forget about all the things that make you tired and stresses, forget about all the internet sites and social media stuff. Just turn up on match day, enjoy the game and then go home forget about it and get on with the rest of your life, like we all used to do in the good ole 70’s and 80’s .

  11. There’s a lot I agree with. But also a lot I have no knowledge of. I don’t watch sky. I didn’t know there had been a PL rebrand. Players have wasted time for ever. I don’t know about Liverpool’s or anyone else’s foreign partners. I don’t do PRE match stuff unless it’s in a pub.

    I decide which parts of football I engage with. Everyone can choose whether to read/ listen to all the coverage. I would never go near talk sport for example.

    Screen out what you can. Tolerate the rest
    Or not. I have supported Bournemouth for 49 years and the ‘match day experience’ is what it has been for the last 40. The pub with mates and then get to the ground as late as possible.

    I won’t go to all the games and found £50 too much for Chelsea away. However, Newcastle is £18.

    I am lucky. I follow a team that has an intelligent and calm manager
    One who doesn’t rant and rave. Who won’t tolerate stupidity in his players. Maybe, hopefully, other clubs will take note.

  12. It breaks my heart to admit that this is spot on, as a lifelong Reading fan I know what it’s like to listen to these Premier League “fans” who don’t even know where the ground is that their team play at. If someone says that they support Gillingham for example, then you know that they are a genuine fan and worth having a chat with. As much as I would love us to make the Premier again, the cost and nonsense that goes with it is a real turn off. Sometimes I miss the simplicity of the old days in the lower leagues but the game has changed irreversibly now. I just go and watch the football and go home these days but I still love the game itself and will support the Royals until my dying breath.

  13. I’m sick of people moaning about managers putting out “weakened sides”. when they’ve been doing it for decades. Anyway, England put out a weakened side every World Cup/Euros

    Can you imagine the criticism Pellegrini would be getting if he put out his strongest side at Chelsea only for one of his key players to get an injury?

  14. A good read. Forgot what its like to play in the league after being a fan of Grimsby Town. But you soon notice in the non league the friendly nature of most of the clubs and their supporters. A real family atmosphere. Ticket prices are reasonable to, but I would swap it all (and be tired) just to get back in the league. Five years down here soon makes you appreciate what used to be!

    1. You might want to try the print fanzine that this piece comes from then Atid, as it definitely isn’t a football blog.

  15. You are not alone in this. About time that someone said this. Perhaps you should post onto youtube and get a wider audience, many would agree with it

  16. I have no sympathy for any football fan that moans about this stuff but uses their lifelong allegiance to one club to justify putting up with it.

    I’m sorry but if your current club and the league it plays in makes you so miserable then its time to give it up and find someone/something else that doesn’t. There are plenty of non-league clubs out there dying for your attention and I guarantee most will be far more appreciative of it than you ever thought possible.

    If you’ve already moved down the leagues and are still tired then perhaps its time to move on from football altogether ?

    The only solution to these modern day problems with football is to actively disinvest yourself from them. Don’t renew your season ticket, don’t go the game, don’t subscribe to Sky, don’t buy the new kit, don’t read the hyperbole in the papers and on the internet.

    As someone else once famously said, if you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem, and until the ‘tired’ fans of football start taking direct action instead of moaning but doing nothing differently to what they have done for years, then they will continue to be part of the problem.

    Go on, at least give it a go, what have you got to lose ?

    1. The thing is though Martin, though I’m tired of all the aspects above I’m not tired of football, and my own club don’t make me miserable – well not often. I’ve never actually subscribed to Sky, I don’t buy replica kits except for the occasional vintage one I’ve always coveted and rarely read the football newspapers… I think my point was that even doing this, so many of the tedious aspects of the game are omnipresent that they’re hard to avoid.

      I do watch a lot of non-league football, and always have, and now living in London I’m lucky enough to be able to get to loads of close non-league grounds easily. Football’s still a good game, I still enjoy going – but there’s so much stuff connected with it (as mentioned it the piece) that isn’t football, that it can become terribly tedious at times.

    1. As a Scot living in England, I stopped watching English football and got re-obsessed with the Scottish game several years ago, broadly for the reasons Glen lists in this piece. Yep, the quality’s lower north of the border, but the experience is often much more fun. The recent 2-2 Edinburgh derby in the cup was one of the most compelling games I’ve seen for years.

  17. Bravo! Thank you for sticking up for the game! The game is good, the rest is bullshit designed to sell shit to us and alienate us. Your blog post has reached soccer fans here in the States, and many of us thought it was very good.

  18. This is why I emigrated via a few seasons watching non league. Football is not omnipresent in the antipodes and I have my appetite back. There’s plenty of football here too. It’s just not the constant barrage of noise.

  19. Spot on mate. I used to watch a Prem Lg team and got sick of the changed kick-offs/dates/costs etc etc. I started to watch my local non-league team, Shildon and soon found out that I was actually appreciated there and discovered that I really enjoyed the whole thing again. I’m sure if you took a step back and started to watch your local non-league side, Armthorpe, for instance, that you would soon regain your love of the game.

    1. Cheers, but I’ve actually always watched non-league football, not Armthorpe, but grew up following Rossington, and used to edit the programme at Rossington Main before I moved south. I haven’t lost my love of football thankfully, I’m just tired of a hell of a lot of the stuff associated it.

  20. This blog was brought to my attention by a friend as I’ve recently become very disillusioned with the whole football thing. it doesn’t directly relate to my experience (as a supporter of a lower league Scottish team) but enough of it did to be a good read.

    football just doesn’t seem to give us a moments peace these days. even today I turn on the TV to find that the next FIFA presidency is a main lead story on a national news network. How many football fans honestly give a fuck who the president of FIFA is? yet we’re told that its vital to the future of the game. its not sports news, far less headline network news.

    I still enjoy watching football but the hype and bullshit around it does my head in. I sit next to a couple of guys at work who talk football non-stop. not so surprising but they only do so through the medium of statistics: “x had 65% possession last night”, “but y had more shots on goal”. Can you not watch the thing and make an informed decision without that mindless bullshit?

    apologies for the rant. I’ll stop now, but I could go on all day :-)

    1. Cheers Andrew, I think your second paragraph there is exactly what prompted the editorial, and I share your frustration completely.

  21. I think a lot of this is just a symptom of growing up, many football fans are in a state of arrested development. When you’re a kid, you can never get your fill of football, trivia, stats, interviews, analysis. But as I’ve got older, I find it bizarre how obsessed some adults are at games. It’s natural to grow bored of football, it’s just a game, there’s really not that much depth too it. That doesn’t mean it can’t be fun, just in smaller doses.

  22. It’s all true. The BBC’s previously reasonably accessible football web page is now almost impenetrable for anyone who doesn’t follow a Premier League team and full of tittle tattle to boot. Talk to me about Doncaster Rovers and Chesterfield rather than Manchester City and Chelsea any day.

  23. Agreed. I have worked in football since 96 and the changes have been massive.

    At least Leicester City throws everything up I. The air. (For now anyway!)

  24. You really hit a nerve with me there about ‘keepers these days screaming at their defence after, god forbid, the opposing team should have the audacity (or presumably luck) to get a shot on goal. These floofs sprint off their line, face contorted like a death metal frontman screaming blue murder at anyone in earshot. Veins poppin’ out their nuts and their mugs reddening to scarlet before our very eyes while they scream that such and such didn’t pick up such and such and how dare you let the bad man shoot the ball at me, The guy at West Ham is the worst offender but Joe Hart isn’t far behind.
    Worst is when they let in a soft goal before jumping up like a fcuking jack in the bastarding box to pull the same stunt. I hear you about how these things are ruining the game, I really do.

  25. Very very good story, which i re-read every month as i share it with visitors.Every newspaper should be made to print it prominently like a public announcement and the author should be installed as the chief exec of the FA.

  26. Obscene amounts of money in football, more pundits on TV than ever before in their sharp suits, real football is dead. Way F A Cup treated is a disgrace, now talking about no replays in 5th rnd,. Why not play any games at all, just toss a coin to decide oldest cup competition on the planet. Don’t want foreign managers getting upset by all those fixtures !!!

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