Ive written this blog after the game today and before Ive seen the morning papers.I am well aware of the irony of what I am about to say and also the fact that this could come back and bite me later if I am successful in what I am hoping to achieve, however I feel now is the time that it needs to be looked at and addressed more than any other.
The media in this country run football and one particular company controls this more than any other. That company is News International or better known as Sky and The Sun. I'm not blaming them for the performances at this World Cup, but I am blaming them for putting their own interests above what is good for the game in this country.
Sky is subscription television and they have changed television for ever in this country. They have upped the ante on the way football is watched, analysed and shown. For some this is a good thing for others its a nightmare it all depends on where you watch your football. I am a Dagenham and Redbridge supporter and proud of it. I will however never see them play in the Premier League, the reason isn't that we aren't good enough or that we may never be good enough, the reason is money.
We read about the amount of money clubs spend on transfer fees and wages, where do this money come from?. Sky. They pay billions for the rights to show these games but that money stays in the Premier League it doesn't filter down too the lower leagues. Year after year you see the same clubs get relegated from the Premier League and then go straight back up again, how? They get parachute payments, money they can use to spend their way out of the lower league.
Sky would prefer teams like mine didn't exist they don't care about our history or the fans that go every week. Why should they, we aren't a sexy product to them we are a boil on what they want to be the beautiful face of football. Football that they want to control and change forever. The Premier League has only been going for 18 years but has changed football beyond recognition of what I watched as a kid.
They have matches to sell and subsrciptions to sell so they tell everyone that will listen the Premier League is the best in the world. True it may be, but how many of the top four teams have a core English element to them? None. The pressure on mangers to get results is enormous, it has to be instant. The result, they will sign players from abroad rather than take a chance on a young English player. Thus stifling the English players chances of playing at the highest level, we then expect them to perform like world beaters at major tournaments. A very unfair expectation. This then leads onto my main point of this blog, the media.
In these news hungry times we want to know the ins and outs of everything. Who's marrying who, who's wearing what, who ate what, we have to know. Why? have our lives become that shallow, do we hold ourselves in such low disregard that if we don't know what Wayne Rooney had for dinner we wont be able to sleep?. Get a grip people.
Every major tournament that comes around we are expected to win it. Who tells us this, the players? the manager? No the media. They get all 1966 on us, wheeling out old players, people you have never hard of most of the time, who tell us that this time we are going to win it. Why? Where is our pedigree in major tournaments?. A semi-final 20 years ago? Sweden reached the 1994 World Cup Semi-Final but they are not expected to win every tournament they enter so why us?.
The Sun had as a front page when the World Cup was drawn as EASY. Why? Where does this arrogance come from. We put these footballers on pedestals only to knock them down at every opportunity we get. We use the excuse that they are well paid. So what?. If someone offered me a 100k a week to do something I loved Id bite their hand off as I'm sure most of you would as well. We rebuke them viscoulsy for any misdemeanor then use the excuse that they are role models. Excuse me, role models, for who? Not my kids thanks. I as their father and as their parent SHOULD BE THEIR ROLE MODEL. I should be the one leading by example and showing them right from wrong, not a footballer. That is lazy parenting and putting untold pressure on young men's shoulders that they shouldn't have to burden. If my child aspired to be a footballer that's different, they want to better themselves and be as good as they can be, they didn't ask to be a role model, that's the media's idea not mine.
The attitude of the fans and the attitude of the game has reached a cross roads. What do you want now? Do you want a strong National Team that we can all be proud off? or do you want a club side full of Non-English players? If anything this World Cup has shown you cant have both. Would I be the England manager never in a million years the media have turned it into a poisoned chalice. You have to win every tournament by beating every team 3-0 or your rubbish. What utter crap.
This World Cup has shown that the pressure got to these players. They couldn't express themselves, they played with fear, they didn't enjoy it. They will get slaughtered in the press for their performances because that is what sells papers. If a career is destroyed, so who cares? the papers still sell. What a crazy mixed up world we live in. Yes they underperformed but with all that pressure, all that ridiculous expectation, are surprised they did. Who told us this was a Golden Generation of players? The press did. How many of them won World Player of the Year? How many of them won European Player of the Year? None of them.
Do I care who John Terry is sleeping with? No its none of my business
Do I care if he makes a late sliding tackle to save a certain goal? Yes because that is what I pay to see.
Do I care who Ashley Cole is sending photo's too in his pants? No its none of my business
Do I care if he clears a certain goal of the line? Yes because that is what I pay to see.
Its time for change, its time to get off their backs, its time to let them live their lives and enjoy their football. If they break the law then punish them like everybody else. If we stop attacking them, they may become less cynical and become more approachable to the fans around them. Like the players at my club, who mix with us after the game and share a beer with us. Why? because we expect nothing from them other than for them to entertain us for 90 minutes and enjoy what they do. They know we aren't out to sell stories about them, lets be honest most of the people that do this are scum anyway. Out to make a fast buck. We then expect the players to spot these people, most of them are poorly educated and living their life like this who wouldn't have a defence shield of arrogance? I know I would
Its not hard, so lets take back the game we love from the corporations that are ruining the game, the Premier League, Sky, the papers. Lets not buy their products but support our team by going and encouraging the players to enjoy the game. If we don't start now the game in 18 years time will be lost to us forever and we will only have ourselves to blame.