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THE RANT: Why I Don’t Watch The World Cup

So, it’s all over. After a hilariously short tenure from England and one player coming over all ‘Hannibal Lecter’, we’re are out of the World Cup. I honestly don’t think I’ll be able to muster enough sarcasm for the following comment, but I’ll have a go. What a crying shame and frankly an ENORMOUS surprise. I mean, who wasn’t expecting us to crash and burn laughably early?

I for one couldn’t give a steaming, bile encrusted s***. You see, for me, the prospect of the World Cup irritates me to the point of inducing a stomach ulcer. Thing is, it’s not because I don’t like football. The sport itself, I have absolutely no problem with. Personally, I find it a tad dull to watch but I don’t find it offensive. I will concede the same criticism can arguably be levied at many sports; I personally love motorsport, in fact I used to follow the Formula One with the same rabid enthusiasm with which a large dog would follow a particularly juicy steak. However, it has an alarming tendency to become processional, and as a result, races are all too often rendered rather dull. It’s not alone, though. Cricket, tennis, snooker – all have the scope to become coma-inducingly tiresome.

Also, to my (admittedly untrained) eye, football seems to take precious little in the way of actual skill. I don’t doubt there’s some, but realistically once you’ve remembered that to do a high shot you need to kick the ball at a low point and to pass you need to use the side of your foot, what else is there? That said, I don’t doubt it’s fun for those who play – and what is life without having something fun to do?

Where I begin to have a problem with it, is with the players themselves. I know I’m not alone in wondering why the hell they’re paid so much. Let’s pluck a couple of examples from the World Cup team at random. Joe Hart’s yearly salary is £4.68 million. Phil Jones gets paid £2.6 million, and the living embodiment of Shrek that is Wayne Rooney was paid a little over £10.5 million last year. I have one simple question – why? I honestly can’t fathom why this level of salary is necessary, or why it’s deserved for merely booting a bit of dead cow around a patch of grass? And sorry, but following the England vs Italy game, the defeat was blamed on England players “not being used to the conditions”. Er, for the wage you’re earning, fellas, I would expect you be fully prepped to play against a team of hungry polar bears  in the North bloody Pole. Seriously though, surely they could have afforded to travel to Brazil to train in said conditions? Might have been a more productive use of time than coming up with a list of pathetic excuses…

All this though, for me at least, pales in comparison to the womanising, obnoxious attitudes a large percentage of footballists seem to exhibit. We all remember the whole John Terry and Wayne Bridges nonsense a few years back. Sleeping with your best mate’s wife? Cretin.  Giggs had an affair with own brother’s fiancee. Classy. Arsenal player Mesut Ozil had a string of girlfriends surface in Spain following his sale to the club, Vinnie Jones was a mindless thug prior to his successful reinvention as an admittedly half decent actor and French donkey kick enthusiast Eric Cantona was prone to attacking fans of clubs he was playing against.

These are but a few examples, but the fact remains that for some reason these people are role models and are seen as pinnacles of masculinity, and frankly it’s frightening; the idea that masculinity means being a hateful, self absorbed, womanising moron is simply unacceptable. I’m rather frightened for the generations of youngsters that idolise these people. God knows what they will become if these players don’t start to become more aware of their status and accept that they have a responsibility to set a positive example to their fans.

What about those who are old enough to know better? You would think that common sense would prevail and that quite rightly, they would discourage young fans from seeing the players as anything other than just that – players. Sadly not. Professional football seems to inspire a loathsome culture of tits, lager and casual, passive/aggressive violence that puts us men in a shameful position as a gender.

If I may conclude on a slightly more trivial note, I would like to applaud the clever sod who came up with perhaps the biggest irritant of the entire World Cup. I’m talking, of course, about those stupid little England flags that drivers attach to either side of their cars. What the hell is the point? I mean yes, I get it, you want to show that for one month every four years you’re fiercely patriotic. Good for you. Have a snack. It has to be said though that whilst they irritate me almost as much as the players and fans themselves do, they do provide a handy marker for who to avoid when England inevitably lose a match.

Oh and Van Persie? Come on, that just sounds like a character from Thomas the Tank Engine. (Yes, I’m aware he isn’t in the World Cup team but I went with his name exclusively for the sole purpose of ending with a cheap joke.)

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