COLM O'REGAN: 'I feel less and less connected to the footballers of today'

Apparently the Confederations Cup was on over the last while. It’s the tournament to give a little smoke test to the football World Cup the following year. 

It can allow the hosts to see which overpriced stadiums are finished and which ones have stairs that lead to nowhere and where are local populations seething with resentment about the waste of money.

This year’s cup passed me by completely. I think I might be drifting away from the beautiful game. It’s partly the game but mostly me.

With the retirement of Roma football club’s talisman, Francesco Totti this year, I have come to a sad realisation: I am now the oldest outfield player in my daydreams.

I have to hang up my own imaginary boots. It’s about time. Even as a fan, I feel less and less connected to the footballers of today.

They even look superhuman, photoshopped in real life. There’s no tubby geniuses or lucky hoofers that you could possibly imagine having the craic with, fellas who look like their shirts don’t fit or who score most goals with a knee.

And there’s the money. I have absolutely no way of identifying with an 21-year-old who has already earned more than I will in a lifetime. What do you say to them? What do we possibly have in common. I’m sure there are hedge-fund managers who are paid that kind of money as well. But I’m not expected to buy razors or isotonic drink from them.

And that’s another thing - the ads are just nonsense. Can they not just take a photo of them holding the product like Joe’s Rabbitte and Cooney with ‘TetracylaSeptoSpiraDiChrotylene - Tough On Scour, Tough On The Causes Of Scour’? I don’t need to see them crap-acting in a futuristic game against robots or kicking a football into the Colliseum with a rueful smile in order for me to be more convinced to rehydrate with PowerWater.

Take no notice of these previous paragraphs. It’s just curmudgeonly moaning from a man who realises he’s getting closer and closer to the dreaded day he may start talking about golf.

The football industry is not quaking in its heavily endorsed boots because I’m disillusioned but I just wonder how long can its current hyperbullshit cycle of growth go on for.

Look at the last 30 years: Wages, transfers and ticket prices have increased exponentially meanwhile wages and numbers of its fans have increased in only a gradual arithmetic slope.

So where does it go 30 years from now? There hasn’t been a crash in football as such.

Individual teams have folded. Individual TV companies have folded but will we have a great recession as we had in other assets?

Already there are hints that the public isn’t even signing up to television packages as much because people don’t have the attention span to sit through 90 minutes of football wrapped in 200 minutes of scrotal-bulged analysis from smug ex-pros.

Will football have a rotten subprime industry like the financial sector, where star players are packaged up with lads who couldn’t hit a cows backside with a banjo - and securitised and magicked around to unsuspecting owners?

Or will football be disrupted just like every other industry has been disrupted - where entire concept of consumption of the game will change.

Maybe we’ll just watch virtual reality football. Already you see people playing the FIFA Soccer computer game as televised sport – surely an abomination. But some seem to like it.

Will you just have agents running all the players and they can play for a number of different teams from week to week.

The fans won’t care because the old die-hards have all died hard and all the new fans are just dilettante who just buys souvenir scarves showing the names of both teams - which should be banned also?

But forget the ChampionsPremierShipSuperCupOfMoney. What about Cork City FC? The stuff that day-dreams are made of.


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