OK, I’ll admit it. I’ve been consumed by Olympic fever. Not just because of the fantastic spectacle the games are providing (and I think the Paralympics are going to be just as amazing) but because of the impact they are having on the nation.
We’re ‘up’ again. Everyone’s having a great time, everyone’s happy and everyone is actually talking to each other. I love that, love it.
And as someone on Radio 5 said the other day, that should be the true legacy of these games. The fact that Great Britain has stopped being consumed by anger and distrust and has suddenly remembered how to be kind, helpful and friendly again. Oh that it continues. Indeed, I think we should all as individuals take it upon ourselves to ensure it does.
We can’t moan about people being grumpy bastards when we’re acting no better ourselves and as my wonderful old nan used to say, manners cost nothing.
Of course the great hope is that the games will leave all kinds of legacies on the country ranging from a swell in Patriotism (please god!!!) to increased participation in sport (amen to that!) but there is one legacy increasing numbers of people are hoping for and that relates to football.
For decades now the great game has been untouchable at the pinnacle of British sport. It’s the great spectacle, the great passion, the great love. The result being that it has achieved a level of importance which is totally out of kilter with reality. The status afforded to those involved coupled with the money some of them are being paid brings new meaning to the word ridiculous.
At some point that has to stop, or be stopped. After all, all of the money swilling through the trough that is football ultimately comes from our pockets. Be it in gate receipts, TV subscriptions or any one of a million ways the game uses to part us from our cash. Too much of that goes out of the game into the tax-avoiding bank accounts of players who aren’t actually worth a tenth of what they get paid and agents who are little more than villains.
But we all know that. We’ve always known that.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my football and I have a great deal of admiration for those who play it (even if I think as individuals, some of them are lacking in pretty much everything) but comparatively speaking, the great game is lacking way behind in all kinds of things. Perspective and morals being just two.
Yet because it is ‘the great game’ we not only continue to stand idly by while these things go on but we actually grant those at the centre of this scandal elitist status within our population. And with that status secure, there has never been any need let alone desire to reform.
Now, thanks to the Olympics, that may finally change because football’s position at the top of the sporting tree isn’t so secure anymore.
The atmosphere, so long one of the major USP’s for football, has been matched if not surpassed at pretty much every Olympic event and better still, it’s been devoid of any hatred. The TV coverage has been unsurpassed, customer service exemplary and best of all, the desire for tickets to attend even previously unheard of sports has bordered on fanatical.
But most importantly of all, to see sportsmen and women competing for the joy of competing as opposed to being consumed by anger and greed has been a revelation. Answer me this. Who would you rather have dinner with? Ashley Cole or Sir Chris Hoy? I rest my case.
So if the Olympics leave one legacy behind, it’s the hope that people finally accept that there is an alternative to football in terms of spectacle and that there are other sports out there which can be as, if not more exciting than the great game. And those sports all without exception, provide value for money to those who go to watch them live.
That’s my hope. Not least because it might finally give football the long overdue reality check it so desperately needs.
My new comedy novel Wings of a Sparrow is currently being rewritten ahead of release (standard practice sadly) but should be ready to download fairly soon.
The tale of a football fan who inherits his local rivals, it’s best described as Brewsters Millions meets Fever Pitch and has been great fun to write to I hope you’re going to enjoy it.
Indeed, thanks to everyone for what’s going on book wise at the moment but for those who don’t know, I’m currently dominating the football book download charts of both Amazon and iTunes with books at #1 on both free and paid charts. On top of that, of the top 36 soccer books on iTunes, 8 are my titles.
However you look at it, whatever I’m doing, is working!