Premiership football is repulsive in every respect

24 April 2014

Praise where it’s due. This opening to Russell Brand’s Guardian column about David Moyes is very good: “(His) face has now experienced the fate for which it looks like it was designed. The deep grooves of grief in his brow, his sunken, woeful eyes and dry parched lips, a perspicacious sculpture carved in anticipation of this slap of indignity.” Very nice.

I’ve written about the Moyes business this week for the magazine. I do think it is hilarious the speed with which all the football writers have moved from describing the bloke as the best young manager this country has ever seen to “disastrous” and “not up to the job” and so on. Clearly, he should have been given more time in the post, insofar as anyone cares. But football at the highest level has become a repulsive spectacle, with outlandish expectations, outlandish salaries, outlandish treatment of individuals. If your kids are showing an inclination to support one of the gilded whores of the top division, despite having no connection to them other than a wish to be associated with vicarious success, they need a long and very stern talking to.

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  • Vishalya

    I’m a united fan n personally it’s not surprising to see he got kicked out only after 10 moths … The thing is ppl had expected way too much frm Moyes as he was ‘the chosen one’ n after someone like sir Alex as the manager and united at the top we kinda expected the streak to continue n it’s was like a subconscious thing … I agree abt the point in the article but I don’t think there’s really anyone to blame for Moyes being sacked …. It was a thing that had to happen …. But maybe he should have been given more time cuz I don’t think sir Alex simply chose him without a reason ….

  • James Blewett

    As a fellow regular at The Den I can confirm that there is nothing “pompous” whatsoever about the way that Millwall play. Incidentally, I have also inflicted the inheritance from father to son, who after one particularly hideous match despairingly rebuked me with “Dad, why can’t we support a proper football club?” Anyway, based on my experiences over the years, I have to take issue with the implied dichotomy between being interested in football and being interested in winning something. It would be really nice if Millwall could win something (other than the play offs to get back into the Championship) a bit more often, and I don’t think that would necessarily mean sacrificing any of the unique pleasures of supporting the Lions, or the undoubted character of the club and its fans. Maybe the problems Manchester United faces have as much to do with the attitudes of the owners as they do with the attitudes of the players?

    • La Fold

      Ive just seen my team win their first cup in 19 years, fair enough it was the mickey mouse cup, and in that interim I have been an avid home and away fan, a disillusioned go to the first half sort, completely lost interest, would go to big games/ semi finals type and now people shout at me in surprise if they see me in the ground (like last saturday) but this is to me what supporting your teams about. About being there during the 5 nil drubbings, the derby games, standing on a terrace in Arbraoth on a freezing cold tuesday night watching a reply etc and that makes it when you do finally win something makes it all worthwhile.
      If supporting a team that wins all the time was easy everyone would do it… hence why so many tobies support Manchester United.

  • Dogsnob

    It’s baffling isn’t it?
    I know that mass adulation is largely rooted in the human need to belong to something – anything. But to pledge one’s heart and soul, and to pass down such fanaticism to children, to what is no more than a board of directors? It’s a marvellous trick they perform, these football clubs.
    My Dad gave me his Rio Tinto Zinc scarf and it means nothing.

  • Lungfish66

    I have a new perfume out soon

  • Lungfish66

    There are many many t hings more sfootball eh?

  • john king

    I hate football and all its trappings entailed in kicking an inflated pigs bladder across a lawn.

  • john king

    Football, bread and circuses As it ‘s always been, Keep the prols occupied and quiet.

  • therealguyfaux

    About another sport, in another land, in another era– but it rings true regardless:

    Mickey Mantle? Is that what you’re upset about? Mickey Mantle makes
    $100,000 a year. How much does your father make? You don’t know? Well,
    see if your father can’t pay the rent go ask Mickey Mantle and see what
    he tells you. Mickey Mantle don’t care about you, so why should you care
    about him? Nobody cares.” — A Bronx Tale, film, 1993 (spoken by the character Sonny, a local hoodlum, to the young boy “C” who idolizes both him AND Mickey Mantle)

  • Michael H Kenyon

    Anyone else regard educated persons wittering on about football as desperate over-compensation for their shame at being a man in a girl’s job? If you are insecure in your masculinity, consider learning DIY. This is a much more productive way of reaffirming a masculine identity than watching 22 illiterate millionaires ruining a lawn.

  • Herbart

    The constant spitting is as repulsive as any other aspect of Premiership football.

    • Cyril Sneer

      Many athletes do it, there is a very genuine reason why.

  • IainRMuir

    Any talk of football reminds of Monty Python’s Literary Football Discussion sketch in Series 1, Episode 11.

    Is there a Monty Python equivalent of Godwin’s Law?

  • you_kid

    Yes Rod, we a repulsed.
    Repulsed by the fact that a bunch of milksops believe that employing a foreign footie manager was no big deal but having pizza and curries served by foreign waiters and waitresses before and after the match somehow was.

  • IfItPleasethThee

    Spare a thought for us at the bottom end, who have never cared about football in our lives but still support our team because, well, so does everyone else in our oversized village. Being in the Premiership gives us ideas above our station, which suits me fine.

  • Gwangi

    I so agree. Long gone are the days when people supported a local team with mostly local players who had loyalty to a club and a town. Now it’s all just a business – and repulsive is the word for it.
    Of course, that repulsive industry can sometimes create moments of sheer beauty and drama on the pitch. Just as the repulsive music business can create great the context for great music.
    I am talking about real football of course – not the Sunday in the park level play one sees in the BBC’s new obsession (now it has lost all decent sports) – women’s football. That is just boring beyond belief.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      Girls footy is nowhere near as good as the geezers’ but it does have one great advantage at the local level. It is virtually cheat free and there is very little back chat to the refs. Also any sport which can get teenagers and younger doing some exercise gets my vote – and daughter Vers.1 loves it.

      • Gwangi

        Yes, my girl cousins in the US play it.
        I hate watching it even more than I hate watching the men’s game though (I just watch the Euro and World Cups, and sometimes goal highlights). All that screeching and squealing! All that lack of real skill – it does remind me of amateur men’s sides and I can’t stand the way the pc BBC always reports women’s football in its quest to portray it as the equivalent of the men’s game (because they lost the rights to that!). It is what it is – not very good or interesting to watch.
        The first ever event in the Olympics 2012 was the women’s football in Cardiff. They had to give away thousands of tickets and the stadium was still more than half empty! The fantasy that people are interested in watching women’s football is yet another BBC concoction – no doubt supported by its bloated Diversity Department. I can’t wait for the day when the BBC sponsors blind football or paraplegic football actually…

        • post_x_it

          Plus they end up with a footballer’s gait for life. Sorry to be so unPC, but it’s profoundly unbecoming.

          • Gwangi

            I think quite a few of the more, ahem., manly female football players already had that gait before they ever went near a ball (well, let’s face it. most with never go near two balls in a personal sense any time soon…)
            Some sportswomen look like men – straight lines, no curves, male ‘Clare Balding’ face – and their breasts always remind of of Michaelangelo’s attempt at breasts on the Medici tomb – they look like ice cream scoops plonked on a man’s chest (he was obviously like SO gay…)
            Nothing wrong with any of this – I am just celebrating the diversity of dykery in sport, innit…

          • Gwangi

            By the way, I have nothing against the muscly hairy legs of lesbian footballers. The problem is, neither do they…

    • La Fold

      Back when Football was about 11 local lads with massive sideburns and vindictive hangovers.

      • Gwangi

        Yep, and wasn’t it more fun when the players weren’t such preening millionaires slathered with moisturiser?
        Bring on 1973 and Gene Hunt – that’s what I say!

        • La Fold

          The re runs of match of the day or things like the Glory years games which show old games like Leeds versus Doncaster in the Crown Paint Cup semi final in 1982 are always great. The footballers may not be as athletic or in some cases as skilled as today but the football is always far more entertaining to watch.

      • mandelson

        Frank Worthington comes to mind, very Jason King.

        • La Fold

          Arf! When he wasnt smashing in goals he was solving international diamond heists by mostly sitting in his boudoir drinking champagne.

  • Wessex Man

    I detest the antics of the happy/noisey/special one, am embarrassed that the clown is back in Football in England, horrifed by the ‘wages’ the so called Stars get, along with the Managers and Match of the Day Pundits.

    Yet if my club could only drag themselves up there from the deep, deep place they are now I would accept it all!

  • Minnooli

    I don’t care about the football, but I do take issue with your complimenting of Russell B’s absurd, over-cooked writing. It’s as ostentatious and ugly as his hair-do.

    • IfItPleasethThee

      Yes, you get told on Day 1 of a writing class not to use words like “perspicacious” unless you really have to. Besides, what the h3ll is a “perspicacious sculpture” when it’s at home?

      • post_x_it

        I think RB really does have to use these words. If he took them out there wouldn’t be anything left of his writing, lacking as it does any substance.

        • IfItPleasethThee

          Odiferous cacology indeed!

    • Cornelius Bonkers

      Me too Min “credit where it’s due?” There’s none due to brand Brand – ever. Rod sometimes messes up; but he is a Labour supporter after all…

  • Tron

    Rod, millions of people all over the world are enjoying one the most exciting and unpredictable premiership seasons ever. Good for them.
    If you don’t like it watch the Parliament channel.

    As for the money, the top players get ridiculous wages for the same reason that Lady Gaga does. They succeed, they win.
    If you want their money then let’s see you get 30 goals a season or sing Poker Face.

  • ArchiePonsonby

    Couldn’t agree more! Never saw the attraction, much less the point!

  • sarah_13

    It’s a shame, an Alex Ferguson is unlikely ever to emerge today, club owners and fans don’t have the patience. I seem to remember Fergie took a while to settle in himself – 10 months is no time at all.

    As far as Brand is concerned, I do wish people wouldn’t encourage him. Even the worst writers have a good day once in a while.

    • La Fold

      Fergie was one game away from getting the boot in his first season at Old Trafford. He was absolutely superb at Aberdeen and I count myself lucky enopugh to be old enough to remember going to see his ABerdeen team at their Cup Winners Cup best.

      • sarah_13

        Yes, I thought he took a few seasons to settle in. I don’t remember him before he went to utd but I’m sure he was excellent. I’m not a huge football fan but I’m from manchester and I was brought up watching utd lose to liverpool on a regular basis! Unfortunately we won’t see the likes of Fergie again – if you lose a couple of games nowadays thats it, the sack. Such a shame. Maybe Giggs can do something, perhaps being such a big name will keep the players ego’s in line and give the manager some respect and hard work, but despite his longevity in the game I don’t see him having the intelligence of Fergie, but I suppose you never know.

        • La Fold

          He always been an exceptional manager. Took St mirren from being a lower 2nd division team to the first division champions in just 3 years. And then he moved to Aberdeen in 78 and in 5 years we had beaten Real Madrid in The cup winners cup.
          But you’re right, Alex Ferguson was a one off. Players have too much influence nowadays too to put up with someone like Ferguson. He once fined Aberdeen player Joh Hewitt for overtaking him on the dual carriageway once!

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Can I just say son Vers.1 supports the Mags and they are in the moral-free cesspit that is ‘The Premier League’ his support being driven, not by vicarious glory hunting, but by the slack-jawed fckwit threats of his fatha.

  • The_Missing_Think

    My brain cell loves football.

  • Moputabee


    The quality of football has never been better, the competition never so fierce, the excitement never so enthralling….

  • Ricky Strong

    Football is just televised business.

    Imagine if we had cameras installed in the offices of the FTSE100 companies and knew every little detail about wages, job transfers, backstabbing, affairs etc. I doubt there would be many differences.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      That would be worth watching.

      • In2minds

        And more interesting than football.

        • Hexhamgeezer

          and possibly better for one’s gambling…

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