The first thing you notice on returning to Britain is all the doom and gloom about the future financial armegedon, and a lot of affluent, well fed people moaning about how hard up they are as they spend 80 quid on stuff they don't need in the local Waitrose (I'm not saying people haven't been badly affected by the financial shenanigans, but the people in Ely Waitrose and on commuter trains to Cambridge probably aren't that close to moving into a garden shed on an allotment just yet).
Anyway, the other thing that you notice that as well as people on Radio 2 going on about the worst financial crisis since the 1970s and that you'll all have to give up your second cars (I wouldn't mind having one, to be honest) is the actual wishes, at least those expressed by the media are to return to the crap old days, just looking at the TV the last couple of days bears this out. First of all yesterday I witnessed a programme, I think called, 'Britain's Hardest Pubs' which was glorifying the days when you could go in any pub, be served flat ale and get your head ripped off, obviously the tossers from a variety of lad mags hadn't been out on a Friday night in Derby in the last few years. Then tonight was another programme getting all misty eyed about the days when people worked 20 hours down the pit and lived on potatoes, again I might argue that this is a reality for a lot of people(apart from working in mines, of course) who don't work for the London Media.
How is this connected to football you might well ask, well football seems to be playing the same game, especially my favourite weekly publication, 'The Non League Paper'. There seems to be a tendency to slag off everything connected with the modern game and the fact that the Premier League is the most popular league in the World and generates interest from all over the World. OK, the NLP isn't the only one who does this and the ludicrous ticket prices are pricing fans out of the game. For example, Fulham were charging £45 for restricted view tickets against fellow also rans West Ham, Derby were asking £28 as a minimum price of entry to a game that was being televised live when they hadn't even won for a year, and Man City charge a £30 fee just to become a member for the chance of buying a ticket. It is disgusting and is manipulating the fans, but at the same time it is quite obviously the strongest league in the World, and if you were more capitalistic than me you might say that it was a question of supply and demand. But my major beef here is the way that Non-League Football is seen as the new black. Again, it is overpriced sometimes, in terms of what you get for your money and it isn't all one big happy family with sporting players with handle bar moustaches. There are petty fans, moaning managers and petulant players just like in the big leagues. There are plastic teams like FC United, who after steam rolling their way up the leagues through having more financial clout, new fans and marketing opportunities.... a bit like....... have thankfully hit a brick wall and more than a fair number of clubs who think the level that they are playing at is beneath them.
Don't get me wrong, I love football in all its various forms, but as we head for the bad old days in all fields of life, we don't neet to pretend that the 70's were good. And we don't need to pretend that yes really I would much rather be standing in an exposed stand in some town I had never heard of before sipping watery bovril than having a prawn sandwich while watching a top level encounter people from all over the World would cut their arm off to get tickets for.