Sunday 25 January 2009

On football

Yesterday I went to a football match. You can see a properly considered review of it here. However, I would like to add that it was a terrible match. I know that ticket prices for Conference National games are centrally set, but I really do think that to charge £12 for the dirge I witnessed is pretty shameful. As more and more credit crunches up, causing the currency to inflate in your pocket like a dead dog in the noonday sun and more and more people find themselves unemployed, it's pretty easy to imagine that going to a football match will be one of the first luxuries to be cast asunder. It's likely that a lot of the clubs would suffer - some terribly - as a result of this. To this I say, good. You all bloody deserve it. Every single last one of you. I personally hope professional football in this country completely collapses and has to be rebuilt by the people who actually care about the game as opposed to the profits. The great thing about football is that it will never die off. All you need is a ball - or even something which can be used as a ball - and somewhere to play. All a big recession would do is kill off the greed. This would be a double bonus, as it would also make me laugh.

From now on, I am going to set myself a ceiling price - of say, a tenner - for the amount of money I'm willing to pay for admission to a football match. I think that's a reasonable sum. Naturally, this will leave the clubs feeling a ache of supreme indifference. However, I'll feel a lot better about everything. I would love to be able to see Brighton and Hove Albion play every week, but I'm not going to stump up £30 a time to do it. What am I getting in there? It's certainly not entertainment.

This pretty much leaves me with the Conference South and below to play with. And that's plenty. I've had much more worthwhile experiences watching a match at Sussex County League Division 2 level - which is as low as you can go in the football pyramid without having mixed-species teams playing - than I ever have anywhere else. Whisper it, but, the standard of football is really not that much different to anything you'd get except for at the very top of the best leagues in the world, a fact I don't anticipate Sky television will be revealing any time soon. Plus, you get to hear every foul swear uttered by the players, and witness the glee on the face of someone who accidentally does something skillful.

I'd like this to turn into a bigger campaign. But at the same time. I'd rather it didn't. You see, the more people who cry off the rampantly overpriced matches in the professional leagues to follow their local amateur or semi-professional clubs, the more attractive they'll become to the money men. And then I'd have to start following rugby or something. God save me from that.

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