Sunday, 27 February 2011

Things which are wrong with the modern game.

We love our beautiful game. We live for the passion of a Saturday afternoon, the drama of the injury time winner, the adrenaline rush of that big tackle.

But if we compared the game today with that of the one of fifty, forty, thirty or even twenty years ago, we'd see some significant changes.

It is true that many of these changes are for the best- advances in technology such as boots, drinks, stadium designs and clothing.

Television has perhaps made the biggest impact- bringing the game to everyone while providing it with enough money to make the advances in technology that have just been listed.

But there are things in our current game which would never have been dreamed of in times past.

And these things are what I shall be writing about today.

The first thing I perceive that is wrong with our modern game is...diving.

Diving or "simulation" has been slowly creeping into our game since the Klinsmann era. It started being out rightly condemned and looked upon with scorn by fellow professionals and fans alike.

But lately, over the last ten years specifically, it has become common place in whichever league you watch- be it La Liga or in the local five a side tournaments.

People have even began justifying it. "If the defender put his foot there, then what does he expect the attacker to do?". This attitude is symbolises what is wrong with the game.

Cheating is now OK.

I remember seeing footage of George Best being clattered from behind by a huge center back as he was through on goal.

He did go down?

He he roll around screaming like a small child?

Nowadays, a player would do do all of the above and more, but did George?


He adjusted his center of gravity, rode the challenge and went on to score a memorable goal.

Best was a flair player in the truest sense of the word, but he was also brought up to believe football is a contact sport and he accepted that and dealt with what that involves.

Michelle Platini has talked about making football a semi-contact sport, like Basketball to "protect the flair players".

I'm sure everyone can agree this would be the most shocking decision ever made in the history of our game. The spectacle would be lost, never mind the logic is shaky at best. Did Best need protecting? Did Cruyff? Did Maradona?

No, the cream will rise to the top no matter what. In fact, it is the ability of these such players to avoid contact which makes them so watchable.

The fact that players would openly cheat to win a free kick turns my stomach and I do wonder what they think when they watch the footage back at the training ground the next day.

The next thing wrong with modern football is related to diving, but boils my blood just as much, if not more.

It is when a player brandishes a card at the referee in order to get another player booked or sent off. I've never seen just disrespect and lack of sportsmanship.

Not only should it be the referees' decision, but how could anyone want a fellow professional to be sent off?

This truly does sicken me to the core and I hope the powers that be implement a punishment of those brandishing the imaginary card in the future.

The final thing which I think is wrong with the modern game is the lack of loyalty displayed by players.

There was a time when a player would spent ten years at a club without much thought, and even if someone did move on, it was fully his manager's decision, certainly not his and definately not his agents.

Nowadays though, a testamonial game is very hard to come by.

A pity as there was a time when players saw that as the ultimate mark of how successful they have been in their career.

More and more often we hear the phrase "it is my dream" when a player is angling for a move away. The more I hear that phrase the less I believe those using it.

I'm sure many players "dream" to play for their boyhood favourites but that doesn't always happen. They certainly don't try and force a move. Jamie Carragher? Paul Scholes? Both long term servants of clubs and both have another club they list as the one they support.

Sadly, these are the last of a rare breed and the regularity of players demanding moves will only increase.  Perhaps there will be a ruling put in place to stop this, but I can't see what anyone could do.

Contracts don't seem to mean much anymore. They are there to protect the player, not the club and it's fans.

There are many other things wrong with the modern game, such as 'snudes', Ashley Cole and the extraordinary amount of money given to players- although I do understand it is a short career and I don't begrude making as much as you can- I sure would.

Despite all the negatives though, our love for the game remains in tact. The passion, agression and drama will hopefully never die and I'm sure in thirty years time, we will reminise on this time period as the "Good old days".

What do you think?

Is there anything you would love to change with today's game?

Is there anything you don't agree with me on?

Let me know.

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