Often Partisan

The World Cup

I have something very shameful to admit. Whilst every football fan is getting whipped up into a frenzy about the World Cup starting today, I have to admit – I’m just not that excited.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy the World Cup. The idea of 64 matches over the next month should appeal for instance. I know that I won’t get to watch more than a quarter of them as I don’t often control the remote in my household. What’s worse is, I don’t even think I want to watch that much football. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, I just struggle to watch football where I don’t support one of the teams involved.

I could make up some stuff about how I think the international game is slower, and about how I don’t think you have the blood and thunder that you’d get in the Premier League, but the truth is, I just don’t know enough about football any more to be convinced that I knew what I was talking about. I’ve seen a few blogs where people are able to dissect games brilliantly; where they are comfortable talking about players from a myriad of leagues because they’ve been able to watch them on television. And this I fear, is the crux of my problem.

You see, I think there is an overkill of football on the TV. Thanks to 24/7 sports channels, and the expansion of sports tv platforms, there is now more football on than ever. Sky Sports is proud to announce that next year they’ll carry around a hundred Premier League games. Then ESPN has some more. Then there are the Championship games, the SPL games, the La Liga games, the Bundesliga games, the Le Championnat games, the Eredivisie games. The internationals, under 21 internationals, under 19 internationals, and so on and so forth. The choice is that huge, I’ve reached the point where I can’t choose. It all seems to merge into one, and I’ve lost interest.

I like to watch football in the flesh; I’m a season ticket holder at Birmingham City and I enjoy going to all the home games. However, I don’t just go to the football for the matches, I go for the social thing too. I go to meet up with friends I’ve known for years; people I just see at the football in some cases and to be a part of the almost tribal feel of being a club fan. I’ve found that when I go to watch England matches in the pub, I’m invariably surrounded by people who just watch England matches, who don’t know the first thing about football and are moaning because we’ve not won it yet. Being what I consider to be a “proper” fan of football, this just grates. And thus the social aspect of football is lost to me; and I just don’t enjoy it as much.

So, let’s bring on the fiesta of football. I sincerely hope we get a good tournament, packed with goals, moments of pure joy and unadulterated class. Patriotically, I hope England do well. Just don’t expect me to be as hyped up when New Zealand face Paraguay to decide third place in their group.

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