By Ian Hemmens
I have a confession to make. Its quite painful and hard to admit, but I’ve reached my tipping point. Here goes then, ‘I’m not in love anymore’. There, that’s it. It’s out there now.
Before I start getting sympathetic comments let me elaborate. It’s not my personal life, but I’ve finally fallen out of love with football. Well, part of it anyway. You might put it down to my age and creeping cynicism with life in general but I really have thought long and hard about this.
I think the point came when watching Sky Sports News when the lead story was about some average Premier League player showing off his new car and this story was repeated ad infinitum throughout the day until I felt violent urges towards the TV set despite the smiling face of the lovely Vicky Gomersall. I was half expecting the yellow ticker to burst into life with the Breaking News that someone had changed the toilet paper at Old Trafford.
It was time to cancel my Sky subscription and get my life back from the fantasy and overhyped world of The Barclays Premier League. I am genuinely tired of hearing and reading about average players being ‘World Class’. I understand all about marketing and pushing a product and all it entails, but I don’t have to accept it.
The Raheem Sterling episode is the latest in a long line of stories that really make me wonder what the hell is going on. Take away all the hype and bluster by the reporters and associated hangers on in the industry and what have we got?
A young boy with, yes, undoubted potential, but last season without Luis Suarez in the side showed up how very average the Liverpool team and the coach Brendan Rodgers really are. Sterling has an agent who is a maverick within the industry who is not averse to insulting anyone or showing a total lack of respect to basically anyone who doesn’t agree with his masterplan for the young man.
Clearly he is also at the same time feeding Raheem’s ego to the extent that he thinks he can turn down £100,000 a week without a blink of the eye. Then he brazenly says he won’t go on tour and doesn’t like the manager. Here’s the rub. If he had been so desperate to leave, he should have put in a written transfer request – or was the thought of losing a few percent to much for his grubby little hands to take?
I’m proud of my club for the way they’ve fought tooth and nail to win back fans lost in a decade or more of financial turmoil and below par on field performances. The success of Bradford City’s season ticket campaign should be an embarrassment to the money grabbing greedy paws of every Premier League Chairman and, yes, every player.
The football I will be watching next season will involve honest toil and endeavour and not the sham pantomime play acting and dishonest ramblings of the managers of such clubs.
I’ve finished with the Premier League and its prima-donnas, I feel wanted and appreciated at Valley Parade and after working all week I want to be entertained, not submitted to every cheat and con in the book. I might be called a hypocrite because when City reached the ‘promised land’ I did enjoy the ride but even then I did at times get disillusioned by all the inevitable hype even back then.
I just had to get this off my chest. It’s been festering for a while, but let me leave you with this thought. I noticed on Facebook an appeal to reach £300,000 to help the treatment and care of a proper ‘World Class Legend’ in Jimmy Greaves after his terrible stroke. £300,000 and yet so far the money-gorged Premier League so far sits on its hands.
Not an ounce of shame or embarrassment is shown. Maybe Raheem could donate part of his signing on fee to help a true great in his hour of need?
I won’t hold my breath waiting for the answer.