This is a bit off topic, if indeed there ever is a topic on this blog, which there often isn't - no wonder I'm not one of those brilliant professional journalists. Anyway, there's something that keeps rising up in me whenever I listen to people talking about football nowadays, an anger, a stench of bile.
It's generally when they come out with something like this, and I'm paraphrasing obviously, but imagine someone on the radio saying it, who sounds like Steve Claridge: "Course, they're a great team Arsenal, all that pretty football, but you look at their players, and they're not giants are they? Walcot's only five foot nothing, isn't he - how are they meant to play football? Didn't they realise it's only for really tall players? And as for Wigan trying to play football in the Premiership, that's just doomed to failure, it's all very well trying to play football, but look at West Brom - they tried and it didn't work. No, what you need is to smack the ball 90 yards upfield to a really tall player and that'll make everything all right. It's all right trying to play your fancy dan stuff but you'll get found out in this league, just belt it up there to someone really tall and that's how you play football in the top league in the world, forget about anything resembling skill or craft, just boot it up there, that's the best thing to do. You'll only get in trouble if you try and pass the ball around."
Do you know what I mean? There are only two times when I feel the need to throw the radio against the kitchen wall, smashing it to pieces: firstly, whenever Nicky Campbell or Jeremy Vine is having a phone-in and some barely conscious numbskull barks: "Well I don't know anything about the case itself or the details of the story but WHAT ABOUT OUR TROOPS EH? They don't go around complaining. Everyone else in the world should consider themselves lucky and has never been unhappy or experienced anything difficult ever, because they're not them. No-one else should ever have any money or anything or be allowed to have any semblance of fun because I said so, I pay my bills on time, why should I have to subsidise those who don't? I pay my taxes, why should I subsidise people who claim to be disabled who are probably too workshy? Why should I pay for anything except myself? Obviously except for when my house catches fire and then I'll expect the fire brigade to come around and I won't expect to pay the entire bill myself, but apart from that, and all other instances in which I rely on the state, I don't want to pay for anyone else, and the BBC, they're just grabbing my money, IT IS THEFT. If I STEAL from someone else THAT IS THEFT so how is it allowed for the BBC to collect money from me just for owning a television set? I don't watch any of their programmes anyway, except for all of them, and yes I do listen to radio phone-ins just so I can ring in about how much I hate everyone in the entire world, especially the BBC, but still..."
and the other time is when someone says that crap about football. It's as if there's a big unwritten rule somewhere that only a select band of football pundits know about, which basically says: "PICK LOTS OF TALL PLAYERS AND BOOT IT UP THERE", like that's the secret which has won every single team every trophy ever in existence and if you don't do it then you're sadly naive and don't really understand the English game, ignoring the fact that generally the champion sides have played the best football of all teams and haven't necessarily had to cram their teams with 11 freakily tall men to do it.
Seriously though. There really is more to the game of football than simply picking tall players and 'not playing all that fancy stuff'. I don't hear tennis pundits saying "Well of course, what Andy Murray's doing is wrong, what he wants to do is forget all that fancy stuff, spinning the ball, he should just hit it as hard as he can with every single shot, that's the way to do it, and probably be a bit taller, if he wants to win". Although I imagine there are probably some somewhere who think that way. I just want football analysis to be a bit more incisive than that. Is that too much to ask?
It probably is.