Now, this list is far from comprehensive, and many will have their own pet hates when it comes to things ruining the beautiful game.
But as far as I’m concerned, you’d have to go a long way to beat these top five contenders.
The countdown begins at Number 5 with:
5. Kick-off times. Three o’clock, 15:00 hours, 3 p.m., on Saturday afternoon. That should be it, with the exception of derby games or big matches which bring with them fierce rivalry, in which case midday on Saturday is the best idea to stop the handful of idiots getting too drunk and wreaking havoc.
But 20:00 on Monday night? Or 17:15 on Saturday evening? It’s always dark, cold and depressing, and the match suffers as a result.
4. Real Madrid. Without doubt the worst possible advert for football: a club which exists totally on celebrity, reputation and loaned money, views every other club in the world as a mere shop window, and changes the team, staff and manager every time the club fails to win every trophy it’s competing for.
Oh, and of course the best bit: they develop their own talent to the tune of about 1 player in 10. If even one other club behaved like Real, football would implode.
3. Comparisons with Rugby. Ok, I admit it would be fantastic if we were able to go to a football match, domestic or international, and drink beer while watching the game and sitting next to opposition supporters, discussing the game in a fair and friendly manner.
And every so often, we’d stop and watch the big screen for the replay to see if the decision was the right one or not.
BUT football is not rugby. It’s fast, exciting, and it’s not the world’s most popular sport for nothing. So let’s stop being unrealistic and appreciate the game for what it is.
2. Press coverage and build-up to derbies. You know what I mean: the epic music, the choral singing, the zooming, clashing noise as pictures of past matches appear (normally players shouting at each other and managers pointing) and then the crescendo followed by the deep voice announcing the match, the teams and the weird time of day it’ll be shown.
Seriously, is it any wonder that people get far too worked up and angry about the big games, leading to violence and the need for increased police patrols? Or any wonder that these games are almost ALWAYS a let-down?
1. Money. Well, this one had to be number one, although perhaps mismanagement of money is more accurate. When used flippantly, when thrown around because a club’s owner simply has too much of it, money strokes the egos of players and managers alike, ensures that smaller clubs will never be able to compete with the biggest, and causes the downfall of so many clubs which overspend to overreach, and inevitably end up broke.
Well, that’s my top 5 anyway, please forgive me my little rant. Now, if something else has been gnawing away at you for a while, get it off your chest, you’ll feel better!
Oh, and in case you were wondering, snow just missed out this time!