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Blue tinted optimist
Oct 28, 2003
Cloud cuckoo land
...before people will get to the same place that I am in, which is a complete indifference about anything football related apart from the results of SUFC?

Cricko's post yesterday about falling out of love with football is totally understandable, as was True Blue's response about not being so daft. For me, I can only describe it as loving the game but hating the sport, which kind of makes them both right

I have been saying for years that football is riding for a fall and the wages being paid are unsustainable. The game is corrupt at every single level. However, the authorities that govern the sport seem unwilling to take any proper action to rectify this and FIFA sold out the world cup to Qatar, a country hardly renowed for anything other than perhaps oil production and which has a stifling summer climate which will not assist anyone at all except perhaps the Arabs and North Africans. Bribery and corruption surrounded the whole voting process and stories of money in brown envelopes changing hands abounded. Allegedly.

The beautiful game, as it is known, has hardly covered itself in glory at the Olympics when the cheating and histrionics (that are so entrenched in our game that we barely notice them) were highlighted in direct comparison with other sports and disciplines that are played properly and fairly. One noticeable exception was the women's football, which was like a breath of fresh air in it's pride, effort and endeavour. A bit like the way football used to be played.

Having been a Southend supporter for 43 years, I've witnessed all the promotions, all the relegations and seen every honour that we've won in our history. Prior to 1971/2, the club had simply existed without acquiring any honours for around 65 years (albeit that there were 2 world wars during that time). Any achievement has occured since that season when we first climbed out of the old Division 4 in what was then the most modern stadium in the country. Yes, after Roots Hall was built, there was no new stadia at all until Walsall built the Bescot in the early 1980's. In the mid 1970's, when a young Kevin Keegan played for Scunthorpe, he even called our ground "The Wembley of the Fourth Division".

However, as our most recent brief visit to the Championship has proved, our ground is just not up to scratch. One wonders if anything would have changed had the Hillsborough disaster not taken place and the subsequent Taylor report not been produced.

Yet now, the beautiful game is played at the top level in front of TV millions on lush green, billiard table like underheated surfaces that means a winter Premiership match is only likely to be postponed on police advice because the streets are deemed too unsafe outside the ground.

Such has been the investment in the sport to try and improve the standard in this country yet we still lag behind other countries in ability. Where are the millions flowing into the Italian and German leagues? They get a fraction of what our game gets yet still produce fitter, stronger and better players than we do.

The reason?

Our players are a bunch of overpaid kids who spend too much time not looking after themselves as professional athletes should.

Yet other countries players that play in the Premiership don't seem to have the same level of fatigue that ours do. Perhaps it's the British culture. I don't know and actually I don't care that much.

I enjoy watching a game because it's a game, not necessarily because who's playing. I'll happily watch any match at all as there is always something to enjoy or marvel at (possible exceptions were the home and away defeats to Aldershot last season but I'm sure you take my point).

Look at this list of football league clubs -

Crystal Palace
Notts County
Port Vale

They are all the current football league clubs that have been or are in administration. That's not taking into account the fact that clubs like Bournemouth, Palace and Port Vale have been in twice and also I haven't included Newport, Halifax, Maidstone, Darlington, Chester, Wrexham, Cambridge, Boston, Stockport, Rushden & Diamons and Luton, who were league clubs once.

That is over half the football league! In fact, there aren't many lower division clubs who aren't on that list.

But we're not.

So all of these teams have fans who have gone through far worse than us. I'm sure there aren't many fans who are happy with the clubs ownership. Look at the top level and the fuss that Man Utd have had recently over their share flotation, the protests etc at Villa, Liverpool, Blackburn (it wasn't all about Steve Keane) and Newcastle before they had a good season last year.

And that last example is actually my point.

If the results are good, fans generally don't care too much.

Looking at this forum recently does bring back memories of every pre season for the last few years. We are always going to be in this state. We won't have a Russian Oligarch or Arab Sheik buy us for millions. We are just lucky, under the present set up, to have a team at all.

So let's just worry about what we can do - support the team on the pitch and contribute as much as we can off it by buying merchandise etc - and not have this continual droning on about the club, the truth, blah blah blah. We don't own it, we won't get to hear anything other than what the owners want to tell us and most people won't believe it anyway.

So, on the eve off a new season, join me in a mood of indifference off the pitch and passion and support for the team from the terraces.

Blue army. Let's roar us into League 1.