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Box Office Barclays

The week before lockdown I started my first one of these. It overlapped with watching a Tottenham match and the running joke throughout for me was how shite Spurs were and how I wasn't particularly arsed with it. It was funny to take the piss but I genuinely didn't really care. At that point, Spurs hadn't exactly played exhilarating football and as for Burnley - I seen a tweet that summed them and their style to a tee: "It's great that similarly to Athletic Bilbao and only employing basque players, Burnley only take on players with licences to drive a forklift'. I have a different attitude to football being on the telly just a few short months later. Even Dyche's Burnley. Anything, throw it on.


It seemed like a few short weeks of watching the Bundesliga and in fairness there was a small bit of craic to be knocked out of it. It's funny, as soon as I tied my temporary COVID mast to Schalke they dropped like a lead balloon. Pre-pandemic Schalke were a decent outfit and were sitting in a European spot after a poor season the year before. As you do, in the self centred ideology of 'why does it always happen to me' - I'm going to link their alarming change in form to my own rotten luck, as opposed to the hugely significant historical event in the world shutting down for four months. LLLDDLL. Four goals is what they amounted to in the 6 weeks of football, and not one attached to a win. Reminded me somewhat of watching LVG's United at Christmas of 2015, where a man located in East Stand of Old Trafford - if memory tells me correct - told me they hadn't seen a goal that end in months. It was as funny as it was depressing. Anyway, I'm a sentimental soul so I might keep a wandering eye more often on the Bundesliga when it returns. Although, it's more likely I'll bin it off as soon as Bayern go 5 clear. One thing that was abundantly clear upon its return is that the Premier League is top tier entertainment.


In the recent years it's got flack for the standard not being what it used to be. A corner does seem to be turned in that regard, in fairness, as the decade long European domination of Real and Barca seems to be at a decline. Whatever about the standard in the English league, the entertainment factor has never really been denied. As English teams fell short in Europe, Suarez was biting lads in the 6 yard box. The Barclay's, they call it on Twitter - referring to the box office nature of the Premier League by mentioning sponsor alone. In the 6 weeks or so of watching German football it was good, and goals came in bundles at times - particularly in Dortmund and Bayern colours. Not to say this is a good thing, nor is it what makes a league entertaining but to my mind there wasn't really any huge controversy, or massive talking points. VAR was ok, refs kept out of the spotlight and there wasn't a huge amount of tetchy-ness or bite. It all ran smoothly. Maybe there was and I completely overlooked it, but from what I saw - nothing hugely controversial. Although, 6 weeks of watching crowd-less games lacking the obvious soul of supporters is probably an unfair assessment on any aspect.


Not even 45 minutes of Premier League football returns and controversy immediately ensues with Sheffield United being denied a goal, as the ball crosses the line by a distance you'd spot on the moon - missed by Michael Oliver and his sleepy watch. That watch is ruined now. I've always been sure in the thought that it can't be wrong; "it's the technology, man. It has to be right". That's finished. What was supposed to happen was as soon as the ball crossed the line, the microchip inside the ball would relay back to the watch that it was a goal, and Michael Oliver would know from the beepy watch. Beepy watched was switched with sleepy watch (sorry), and an embarrassed Oliver was seen apologising to SUFC players at full time, having been so confidently pointing to his wrist at their initial protests. Following this just a few short days later, Arsenal vs. Brighton, and an injured Bernd Leno spotted nearly falling out of the stretcher to point and shout at the man he blames for injuring him. Matteo Guendouzi - dropped from the Arsenal squad and evidently outing himself as a man that would hear a fiver drop, telling the Brighton players during the game how much more money he earns than them. Box Office Barclays.


Now, I am aware in the absurdity of that comparison. I have shone a negative light on one league, somehow for its bundles of goals and lack of controversy, to positively speaking of another league for its humour in not awarding a goal that should have stood. Ridiculous, I know. But the point being is within forty minutes of its return, the Premier League as we knew it was back, and should I have somehow forgotten its return, I would very soon be reminded. Can you imagine telling people getting into football about this era of following it? They called it off in March - German football came back a month before everyone else so we picked a team based off the Tuesday lotto numbers and we watched it together, with BT Sport overlaying crowd noise into an empty stadium. Crazy stuff. But circumstances have given me a different appreciation of a Tottenham - Burnley match, and March 2020 is a long time ago now.



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