Saturday, June 19, 2021
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The latest football news from 90 Minutes Online

Football: When Did We Start Caring About...

Football on the brain (courtesy of Family Affairs and other matters)It was a simpler time, it was a better time. What time period exactly am I talking about? I’m not sure. A few years ago, yesteryear, a while back. Whatever you want to call it, it’s a time before things were the way they are now...



There was a time when football was a simpler game, a time when us fans had few issues to concern ourselves with. It was straight forward, who’s playing well, who’s not, who’s going to win the league, who’s signing for who. These were the things we talked about. Now, there’s so much more. When did we start to concern ourselves with all of this....


FIFA Presidency

Can anyone name the president of FIFA before Sepp Blatter? I don’t have a clue. Well, I do know because I just looked it up. It was João Havlange from Brazil, he was president until Blatter took over in 1998. Now we know all about it. We know about Blatter, we have opinions on corruption and the way the organisation is run. We even know about the candidates who are running against him in the upcoming election.


Of course it helps that there are household names like Luis Figo and David ‘Its not a publicity stunt although really it is’ Ginola.


Club Owners/Chairmen

We knew about the managers, we were clued up enough to have a strong opinion on them. But at some point over the last decade or two we decided that wasn’t enough, we needed to know who the bosses boss was too.


And now we do know. We know all about Roman Abramovich, the Glaziers, Daniel Levy, Mike Ashley and so many others. This isn’t knowledge for expert authorities on the game anymore, this is the kind of thing that Joe Everyman (a way of describing the common man, not just some guy I know called Joe) knows in great detail.


Maybe it’s because these money men seem to be having an increasingly big say in transfer business. And since we’ve always had a great interest in transfers I guess we’ve made it our business to know who makes the decisions.



We all enjoyed a good stat, they were straight forward and that was the way we liked it. Shots on target, shots off target, bookings, red cards, possession. Now, thanks in no small part to Sky Sports, we can get all manner of stats thrown at us. We’re told how many kilometres our tireless midfielder has ran, how many touches our lazy centre forward has had, how many passes everyone has completed.


There’s not really anything we can’t find out now. And as for heat maps, talk about over-kill. Now we know where on the pitch each player has stood and how much time they’ve spent in each place. For example, you can now look at Emmanuel Adebayor’s heat map and see a large green splodge just outside the box. That must have been where he was sat for the entire game before he was subbed off.


New Stadiums

Oh, City are getting a new stadium”


Oh cool, how big will it be”?


It will hold about 50,000”.




That was the extent of the conversation that followed the announcement of a new stadium. Now, no stone is left unturned. We can read about the architectural thought behind each feature. What’s more, we know years in advance that a stadium is coming. We can follow all the updates when it comes to design and how the planning permission application is going.


All of a sudden, every football fan in the country knows what stadium naming rights are. Well, of course they do. They know the most intimate details of the finances that go into a new stadium and stadium naming rights are a big part of that.


Perhaps it signifies a disappearance of the casual fan, a concept that no longer exists. We love football and can’t have half an interest in it. Instead we seek out new information and absorb it like a sponge. If we’d have cared as much about Maths and took all of its nuances in like we do with football, then we would now all be living in a country populated by Stephen Hawking’s.



Or it could just be that we were never quite surrounded by football in the way we are today. There has never been more on TV. On a Saturday you can start watching the Fantasy Football club at 9am and take in Soccer AM, Gillette Soccer Saturday, two Premier League games and two La Liga games before calling it a day around midnight. And the whole time we’re watching that we have a smartphone in our hands and are taking in more breaking news and general information all of the time. No wonder we know so much.

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