The so-called “whistleblowers” are currently – as of September 2019, with an uncertain future – in business. In this respect, the author would like to try himself as a free rider, jump on the train, which is overcrowded with those who are so characteristic, and also blow the whistle vigorously. His topic: modern football.
There is a gigantic amount of evidence that football is not doing as well as it might still seem. It’s more like this: professional football is on the verge of a big crash, like the big stock market crashes in the USA in 1929 or that of the “New Market” in 2000. Here, too, it can be assumed that almost everyone involved, but also the bystanders, completely surprisingly hit, almost from one day to the next, from jubilant to the skies to death.
These alarm signals related to football should be pointed out at individual points, which will be addressed here point by point, briefly presented and later examined in more detail. A claim to completeness is by no means made here. Still, a few more words of introduction beforehand.
The comparison with “the emperor’s new clothes” has recently become more and more obvious. In this little story, too, everyone obviously had enough reason not to shut their mouths in amazement at the emperor’s new clothes, but on the other hand the same astonished person perhaps had just as much reason to be amazed about it , that he himself could not see any clothes, which he had to marvel at, since everyone else did it too and he inevitably had to attribute this to his own confusion of the senses, that he saw absolutely nothing about the emperor except the famous Adam’s costume. Only a child had to put up with his “naivety” and blow the whistle in this little story too, so that people trusted their own perception again: the emperor was not wearing anything, by mutual, unintended agreement, one wore one the whole time admired the mirage.
It’s similar with football. So basically everyone feels that football is sick, and not just to an insignificant degree. Every individual feels it, but just as this individual does not see himself equipped with the childlike naivety enough to finally express what he sees: it is a diaper egg, it is a sham, it is a giant nugget painted gold and containing nothing hides further than a rotten egg. You should smile when you hear the word “football”, but basically you feel much more: “Football? Let’s go!”
There would be: 90 minutes of anger and scolding – and/or a lot, a lot of boredom. And many, many ugly scenes. Of fair gestures, of true emotion, which also includes sadness and sympathy, of true cordiality, on or off the pitch, for which one longed so much: not a trace.
Every reader, please be honest: is it really fun to watch a football game? Above all: is it fun to watch a game for 90 minutes in which your own team is not involved?
How could one now determine that people are joining the “toddler author” here and also pointing out that they no longer want to accept it like this, that it is urgently time to do something differently, back to that Making a game, what we one day discovered to be beautiful, exciting, attractive, fascinating, exciting, captivating, rousing and what captivated us so that we actually made it a lifelong pastime, playing or watching ourselves?
A small comparison: in the rock opera “Tommy” the deaf, dumb and blind boy was king among the pinball players. Even Elton John was unsubscribed and had no chance against him. Now his disciples ran after him and wanted to learn what made him so good and how he did it? Everyone came together at “Tommy’s Holiday Camp”. But they also noticed in a moment that there was nothing behind it and they suddenly rebelled against their messiah by joining forces and suddenly daring an uprising and dismantling all the pinball machines and chanting “we’re not gonna take it!” over and over again. “Never did and never will”. We don’t want it that way, we never wanted it that way and we never will want it that way.
Just as there could certainly have been the whistleblower before the great stock market crashes, or a self-confident person could have come to the Kaiser, even before the “naive” child had the courage to speak out thoughtlessly what it saw, exclaiming “Look look closely, the emperor has absolutely nothing on! Do you think that’s nice and play enthusiastically?” There are probably a few warners in football who have long since recognized that “it’s no longer their beloved game that once fascinated them.” Only: the “stock market warner” was the one who sold his shares profitably instead of blowing his whistle, and instead of warning him, he first exploited the crash and at the same time triggered it, the former football fan decided: “without me!” and has simply gave up his passion. He may feel a bit nostalgic here and there when he sees what has become of his beautiful game when he happens to stop by, but he will keep his disappointment to himself and most importantly never spend another cent on it.
The grievances should be subdivided into individual points. The rough headings here are: the game of football itself, the spectators you would like to have or the ones you have, the rules of the game and the coverage of football, the media, in other words, how they deal with it, more generally. Of course, the points are connected to each other, have interfaces at every corner, end and edge, so the acceptance of a single point would probably be difficult to separate from that of the others. So: “that’s true” and “that’s not true” probably doesn’t add up so well. You have to jump over your own shadow first and open yourself to the possibility, explain it as possible that the crash is imminent or the fact that the emperor is not wearing any clothes, which you have now permanently and consistently considered “beautiful”, not daring to recognize the opposite and especially if they did, to say it. Incidentally, the alternative of turning away is one that many choose and which at the same time offers an opportunity to use the whistle. There is nothing wrong with her, but one would like to see how many are currently doing so.
Part 1: the football itself.
Modern professional football is ugly. Supposedly, the only thing that saves is victory – here is the first link of the points: explained by the media – and the players behave accordingly on the pitch, but also those around them, such as coaches, managers, those responsible, but also and especially (link Number 2) the “fans”.
The ugliness can be seen, for example, in duels, in “injury-approving” tackles, in permanent football prevention by the defensive players, who do everything they can to not let the opponent pull away. In other words: at the latest when the defender has been played – a scene that would make a true supporter of the game click his tongue – he unpacks the tackle that is no longer aimed at the ball.
Injuries are almost inevitable in every game. But these are not just simple strains, overstretching or other muscle injuries, no, there is hardly a game where at least two players don’t bang their heads together and fall to the ground bleeding or their bones crack and players have to be transported away. Really nasty injuries such as broken bones, facial injuries of any kind – caused by elbows –, ruptured ligaments and tendons, ruptured cruciate ligaments and what not are almost the order of the day. If you don’t ask yourself from time to time: why wasn’t this so common in the past, what has changed, who made the specifications here that you fight each other “to the death” and that soon the one could be declared the winner, as in ancient Rome at the gladiator fights, who was the last one to stay on his feet? No, it’s ugly, it’s sad and it wasn’t like that before.
Also in dealing with each other, on the pitch, but also off the pitch, there is almost nothing that could warm your heart. You fight with all means, verbal, psychological warfare, nitpicking, insults, provocations, the whole range of ugliness is exhausted, all registers are pulled out to somehow leave the place as the winner. The question here is: should it always have been like this? Is that what you want to see? Is that what the viewer enjoys? No it is not. You can accept it and continue chasing the illusion of an ideal world, you can explain yourself, as many have already done – or you can open your mouth, band together and exclaim: “We’re not gonna take it!”
Conclusion: it was nice. It’s not beautiful anymore. It’s ugly. Every person in charge would sign the slogan at any time “today it’s important to get the three points, no matter how!” And if one of the much-cited “dirty victories” jumps out again, then, seen in the media, that is more like an accolade than an indictment, which it is actually should be. Because it only allows one conclusion: the better team lost, the winner used borderline means and somehow brought the victory over the finish line, with time wasting and provoking and everything that goes with it, so that the adjective “dirty” also applies deserved.
The reflection of “in two weeks nobody will ask anyway” is also just a media specification and “self-fulfilling prophecy”: if the media praise the “great series” two weeks later instead of emphasizing the “three dirty victories”, then they have it true done: not asked, read results and table. Who often wins in such an ugly and dirty way is good. Look at the table.
Part 2: the viewers
The viewers deserve their own part. Because of course they are jointly responsible for how things are going. If they leave Tommy’s Holiday Camp and not only chant the line that is often quoted here, but also let deeds follow the words – not by alternatively dismantling all stadiums or trains or opposing “fans”, as with Tommy’s pinball machines, although the thought to them occasionally doesn’t even seem that far away, but simply turn off the money tap and instead of just singing “We’re not gonna take it” simply react with “we’re not gonna pay it” — then you would have, on everyone levels, in no time the receipt for the violation of the once beautiful game. The “rude awakening” very simply paraphrased: Sky broke, no more television millions in the club coffers, bankruptcies everywhere, many jobs in the area gone in no time at all, well, what else do you need for a tangible, ongoing crisis that would be the same as the stock market crash mentioned?
The viewer finances the whole business. However, you don’t really care about him. At most, the index finger is raised again and it says “They’re not fans for me, they’re hooligans who endanger football, we have to ban them from the stadium, worldwide travel ban, they’re the ones who destroy football and don’t those who fund it. Away with them, preferably in jail!”
Now that would be something more than just “wagging the index finger”. But you would still speak from the heart of many people. Maybe even a few more would venture back into the stadiums if there were NO fan wars, NO Bengalos, NO abusive songs against the opponent, the referee, against the coach, who had the outrageous audacity of NOT having won three games in a row , no disparagement of the “Legionnaire”, who hasn’t scored a single goal since his arrival, or those “homages” to their own goalkeeper, who has already initiated the defeat in two games in a row with an improperly intercepted cross ball and the goal conceded. “We are Schalke (or Dortmund, Kaiserslautern, Duisburg, Hanover, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt….) – not you!”
Nevertheless, one should “officially” think about why so many of the “fans” who would have to finance the business behave the way they do? To simply blame it on “they’re just idiots who want to destroy football” or whatever the unpleasant judgment may be, is short-sighted and superficial. Thinking about it could bring the following insights to light: with the way in which football is currently played – perhaps better described as a “martial art” – it keeps a certain clientele as spectators. People who are interested in art, beauty, aesthetics, athletics, in pure or beautiful sport and enjoy it: they are no longer there, have migrated, give their interest and attention to other sports. Even if with a certain melancholy: “It’s a shame, football used to be my sport, but today?”
One idea would be to ask the viewer, for example. What would he like to see? What would a game have to be like to be fun to watch?
Something that may have sounded before should be added here: who is actually the spectator, in the stadium or in front of the screen? Are they only “fans” who watch a full game? Fans of this team or fans of that team. No more neutral spectators who watch a game simply because football is being played, because they love football from a young age and because it’s fun to watch football without identifying with this or that team.
If it were possible to win back these neutral viewers, then there would be no more worries about the future. These would be so vastly outnumbered that it would be irrelevant how many “fans” of this or that team are actually there. It’s fun for everyone, it’s fair and just, there are goal situations and goals, both in large numbers, there are no more ugly fouls because everyone agrees that it’s not primarily about winning but that it’s in It is primarily about not alienating the person who is supposed to keep the whole business going, that above all you have to offer them good entertainment, one that is tailored to their needs, that contains everything that makes them want to do it again and again buy a ticket, visit the stadium, turn on the TV, maybe visit the cafés and pubs where games are broadcast: the spectator. You don’t ask him. But you should. The illusion that one does not have to ask because he has already spoken while the ruble is rolling is what it is: an illusion.