About Me

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Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
I'm a director of Maidenhead United Football Club. For ten seasons one of my roles at the club was to produce the match programme. The aim of this blog was to write football related articles for publication in the match programme. In particular I like to write about the representation of football in popular culture, specifically music, film/TV and literature. I also write about matches I attend which generally feature Maidenhead United.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Modern Football Is Rubbish

Visitors to Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena last April were greeted to the sight of a huge banner on the Sudkurve proclaiming "Gegen den modernen Fussball”, literally “Against modern football”. The banner represents the frame of mind of a significant and growing minority of football supporters expressing disenchantment with the bright and shiny world of 21st century football.
This mood is wonderfully captured in a new book by Nick Davidson and Shaun Hunt, suitably titled “Modern Football Is Rubbish - An A-Z of all that is wrong with the beautiful game”.
They have tapped into the feeling that modern football at the highest level, rather like a McDonalds takeaway, although looking and feeling good initially, often leaves you feeling sick and not a little hollow afterwards.
Put simply the dizzying progress in the development of the game has been at the expense of football’s essential spirit, the baby being cast out with the bathwater.
Yet this is not some hectoring tome lusting after times past, more a joyous romp through the features of the game which inspired a lifelong devotion in the thirty something authors.
As such it will provide an ideal Christmas present for any fan over 30, allowing them to while away the festive period in the fuzzy haze of nostalgia.
This is perfectly encapsulated in the frequent entries relating to Roy of the Rovers and his comic book associates such as Johnny “The Hard Man” Dexter and Mike’s Mini Men. The authors wax lyrical about a simplistic childhood mindset when the most gallant players were always victorious although not without few scrapes along the way and I’m sure there is no one here today who is not transported back to the playground by the phrase “Got, Got, Swap” which we are reminded of in the entry about Figurune Panini.
Magpies fans will particularly benefit from Davidson’s background as a stalwart player with the Maidenhead Nomads which lends itself to a few local references such as the problems of playing football at the other mudbound Upton Park in Slough.
As the book wends it way through the alphabet though the sheer weight of the evidence pleading in support of the verity of the title becomes overbearing. We learn of the key moments from the period 1989-92, such as the “Tears of a clown” at Italia 90, and the real legacy of Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch which ultimately led to Murdoch’s “Year Zero” with the introduction of the Premiership in 1992 with its “Stupid O’Clock Kick Offs”.
The book ends with a Frenchman, Zinedine Zidane, but it is left to his countryman Michel Platini to sum up what we have a lost: “Football - It is a game before a product, a sport before a market, a show before a business.” Fortunately he’s now in a position to recover it. Let’s hope he does so.

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