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Football Has Broken My Heart For The Last Time

Football has broken my heart for the last time.

Hi, my name is Neil Gray. Since the age of five, I have been a rabid Liverpool fan and avid football follower, which means for the last 43 years of my life, the beautiful game has been a major part of my daily existence. I have been through hell and back as a supporter. I have watched my glorious team dominate English football for the best part of nearly two decades, only to see them succumb to near anonymity when our hated rivals, Manchester United, became the powerhouse in the league. I’ve wept with my brothers and sisters over the tragedies that have befallen our club and I cried tears of ecstatic joy when I watched Jordan Henderson lift that big old trophy 12 months ago for the first time in three decades. And through all of it, the incredible ups and the gut-wrenching downs, I never ONCE questioned my commitment to the sport I love.

Until yesterday.

I was sat at home watching Sky Sports, as most of us do, while they almost jumped around the studio in glee with the demise of the European Super League, an idea as badly thought out as it was executed, when my eye was drawn to the ticker tape across the bottom of the screen that was promoting a whole new batch of Premier League games that they had coming up across their network for us to watch, as long as we were willing to part with the best part of £40 a month for.

And it hit me.

Not a single ONE of the f*****s cares about the fans.

Here is the news section of a company that has strangled the life out of the people’s game by charging the same people extortionate amounts of money every single year to watch a sport that’s aimed at the working class. Here they are celebrating the death of a proposed idea, no matter how stupid it was, because they can now carry on fleecing the average person for every last penny they have.

And it broke my heart.

There was a time when football was for the masses. A time when you could either actually go to a game or catch the highlights on the TV later. Then live matches happened. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the live games that sprung up on the BBC or ITV during the 80s were a bad thing, Hell, I can still remember my utter joy as a child knowing I’d have a few Sunday’s a month where I could sit down and watch an actual, factual football match as it happened, and these were rare occasions, but they were wonderful.

Fast forward to 20 February 1992 and the formation of the Premier League. This was the first of many nails driven into the coffin of the people’s game. Now, don’t give me any of that “Oh, the Premier League has helped change football” because I’ll have to agree. It’s changed it for the worse. Since its inception, SKY has had a stranglehold on football in this country with their ability to pick and choose where and when matches get played, with zero thought for the fans who go to these games, and like complete and utter schmucks, we’ve fallen for it and emptied our wallets every year for the past two decades.

These self-righteous d***s who had the GODDAMN nerve to complain about the European Super League going against the fans, these pundits that were so outraged at the thought that they might be priced out of a job that they decided to vent their anger and frustration as if they spoke for me and you, and yet not a single one of these corrupt b*****s spoke up when the company they work for were charging people nearly £15, during a f*****g lockdown, to watch Burnley vs. Crystal Palace.

SKY and BT only cared about the European Super League because it would’ve priced them out of a market that they were already making us chew our own sodding arms off to watch.

But they’re not the only ones to blame. Not by a longshot.

Maybe if we had governing bodies that weren’t so corrupt, so rotten to the core, then it would’ve made all the posturing they did seem even slightly sincere, but no, that’s not how this works. FIFA pretty much kept their mouth shut on this whole situation because they’ve been so riddled by crooks and criminals over the years that anything they say should only be said under oath, and besides, it’s obvious to anyone with even a passing interest in football that they were just waiting to see where the chips would land, on the off chance that they could pick up some filthy lucre.

As for UEFA…Aleksander Čeferin is the biggest charlatan of them all; acting like he’s the voice of the people, pretending that he’s as disgusted as we are with a closed competition, THEN doing EXACTLY what the European Super League was attempting to do in the first place.

Don’t believe me?

Look at the new format for the Champions League that is going to start in 2024. 32 teams get pushed out to 36, IN A LEAGUE FORMAT, and if you don’t actually make the top four of your division, don’t worry about it; anyone down to seventh place can qualify as long as they have a big enough standing with UEFA. So if, for example, you’re Wolves and you finish fifth in 2024, but Arsenal finish 7th, well you can kiss your Champions League aspirations goodbye as The Gooners are getting that spot on past merit alone.

Wasn’t this why everyone was up in arms about the European Super League in the first place? The lack of competition, the utter nepotism involved in what these teams were trying to do? Then what the F**K is this??

No, I’m sorry, if you’re still under the illusion that football is about the fans and not the money these days, then you’re deluded, my friend.

Bill Shankly once said;

At a football club, there’s a holy trinity—the players, the manager and the supporters. Directors don’t come into it. They are only there to sign the cheques”.

Sadly, those days are long gone.

Written by Neil Gray

The podcast master. The Old Metal Bar-Steward and Weekly Wrestling Ruminations are now available on Spotify and iTunes.

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