As blood curdling as it is to see any amount of preening adolescent ponces lining the X Factor stage on a Saturday night, the morale high ground of football fandom is a line that’s becoming more and more blurred with each passing year.
Shameless pop mogul Simon Cowell has been pummeling the airwaves with garbage for over a decade at this stage, an empire that’s built on the sobbing of the deluded has given him free reign to do what ever he wants now, with TV companies knowing it’ll bring in the coin. It’s pathetic, it’s bleak and it’s popular.
But for all the eye rolling that can be achieved about the rotting of our culture as each mawkish power ballad gets blasted out and sodomized on a Saturday evening, the hairs on beaten chests seem to be withering a bit when we look at the treatment given to the football coverage on Sky and it’s competitors in recent years.
The Premier League, along with Sky Sports News etc, is a 7 day a week soap opera now, every little detail is mulled over incessantly in the studio. Every sub plot is blown out of all proportion as broadcasters and promoters look for any significance where there’s very little to find.
Like anything that’s subjected to 24 hour news coverage, sometimes things need to get blown up to fill up the schedule. Where a contestant caught on camera with the sniffles on the X Factor is enough to spark an ebola scare, a lack of eye contact between a player and his manager as he leaves the field is apparently now seen as a breakdown in relations, mutiny in the dressing room – cold blooded murder to follow after the ad break.
A player returns to a club he was with as a school boy and the camera never leaves him through out the 90 minutes he spends chewing gum on the bench, a player forgets to applaud one section of the stadium and he may as well have given them the old ‘helicopter mickey’.
The days are gone when the big games were unmissable and the rest was supported by the sufficient few who had an interest, now footballs’ marketing teams want a global share in who watches. Promo’s for games are treated like the end of days, never more perfectly summed up than with David Mitchell’s sketch…
Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher take chunks out of each other on a weekly basis about what formation a manager should use, whether a player should have made that run or not. Do we really care about these little things? For the most part, of course not, but a Scouser and a Manc are arguing so it must be worth a watch.
Something so insignificant that it barely deserves mention is now enough fuel to burn entire hour slots on Sky Sports News. But as much as people moan, they wouldn’t have it any other way. Make no mistake, it’s the X Factor treatment, and every football fan asked for it.