Let’s get VAR, VAR away from here

Let’s get VAR, VAR away from here

I’m not a fan of video assistant referees (VAR). It’s merely technology for technology’s sake, like talking toilets on Virgin Trains. We’ve absolutely no real need for it, but someone with money thought it was a good idea, so now here we are, pissing into the mouth of Tomorrow’s World. Continue reading “Let’s get VAR, VAR away from here”

Editorial: On being thankful for being far removed from FIFA

Editorial: On being thankful for being far removed from FIFA

I’m writing this editorial on the day of FIFA’s annual The Best Football Awards. Ordinarily I’d be oblivious to this; not today. But that’s only because they happen to be taking place at my workplace. Right now, as I look out of the office window, tuxedoed men I don’t recognise are being ushered towards a row of photographers, a line of glamorous young women in shiny frocks are being used as window dressing on a staircase, blokes in hi-vis vests are keeping tourists behind distant barriers and an invisible man on a microphone is encouraging anyone who can hear him to ‘get ready to make some noise for Joachim Low’. Continue reading “Editorial: On being thankful for being far removed from FIFA”

VAR – Eats shoots and leaves

VAR – Eats shoots and leaves

This season was always going to be a big one for football referees. The evolutionary scale has shifted once again from one man, one whistle to five men, one whistle, two flags, one board, umpteen cameras and one TV screen. We’ve dropped the wand-wielding idiots on the touchline, but we’ve inherited a far more dangerous precedent. Continue reading “VAR – Eats shoots and leaves”

Editorial: When did we become so intolerable of averageness?

Editorial: When did we become so intolerable of averageness?

‘F***ing shit’ shouted the bloke in front of me as we traipsed out of The Valley last Saturday. ‘Absolute garbage’. I wasn’t so sure. Frustrating I’d grant you; disappointing likewise, not quite good enough, sure. But what I’d just watched hadn’t been ‘shit’ – and I’ve supported Rovers long enough to know what ‘shit’ is. Continue reading “Editorial: When did we become so intolerable of averageness?”

On visiting markets over cracking markets

On visiting markets over cracking markets

I’m not really sold on the book I‘m currently reading. It was recommended by a friend, so I’m giving it a fair go, but I’m 117 pages in and struggling to empathise with either the characters or the author. The main protagonist is from Yorkshire, but lives in London, yet any references to her life in Yorkshire are made as if written for a middle-class London audience. It’s cliched, dismissive to the point of patronisation, and I can’t get past it. Nor, given that the author is from and indeed lives in Yorkshire, can I begin to understand it. Continue reading “On visiting markets over cracking markets”

The fans kicking off against the EFL

The fans kicking off against the EFL

On Tuesday 29 August, Grimsby Town host Doncaster Rovers in the Checkatrade Trophy, but a large number of supporters won’t be there. Instead, they’ll be three miles down the road, on a pitch of their own, in opposition to each other, but also in opposition to the Football League. Continue reading “The fans kicking off against the EFL”

Where have all the bald, fat footballers gone?

Where have all the bald, fat footballers gone?

‘Who’s the greatest player you’ve ever played against?’ From 90 minutes to Shoot to the matchday programme; a question asked of every footballer in every football interview I’ve ever chanced to read. Its true purpose as conspicuous as its asking; to tee up the interviewee for the biggest name-drop in their sepia-tinged locker. CLANG – Paul Gascoigne in a testimonial; CLANG – Eric Cantona in a beer advert; CLANG – Lothar Matthaus in some charity wheeze. Continue reading “Where have all the bald, fat footballers gone?”

Editorial: On being tired of football

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. Continue reading “Editorial: On being tired of football”

On Football as the next Great American Drama Series

On Football as the next Great American Drama Series

Last month I went to India. And yes, I had a lovely time thank you very much for asking, but I’ll save going all Judith Chalmers on you for another time, and get to my point. Whilst in India I met my girlfriend’s cousin, Nikhil, for the first time. He’s an intelligent fella, a writer who speaks multiple languages and he’s into football; he supports Chelsea – evidence if ever it were needed that who we choose to support is rarely a rational choice. Nikhil has lived near to, or in, Bangalore all is life. Bangalore are the current Indian football champions. I asked him why he didn’t support them. His answer is that he likes football, and so he wants to watch the best football in the world, and as the Premier League is screened regularly in India, it is this which he, and the other football fans he knows, watch. Continue reading “On Football as the next Great American Drama Series”