We don’t want to go all Yer Da’ on things – we’d much rather enjoy football than rally against the modern game.
But we’re also not robots. There are certain things that you can’t help but simmer with fury about; trivial little things you can't help but mutter to yourself about in a quiet rage.
We asked out Twitter followers recently what annoyed them the most about modern football…and we listened. Here are a selection of the more reasonable answers – with some of our own sprinkled on top for good measure.
People filming games they're at
Why are there always hundreds of fans holding up their smartphone in the desperate hope that they get some grainy footage of a goal to stick online later?
It’s almost like letting everyone know you’ve been at a game is more valuable than actually being there. Almost.
Getting booked for shirt off/celebrating with fans
This has been a rule for long enough now that players should really know better, but they still can’t help themselves.
It’s a spontaneous moment of pure elation. Let them have their fun.
Kick-off times with no regards for away fans
Every diehard fan has been through the cross-country trip that starts before dawn or ends in the early hours of the following morning.
These kick-off times have only become more and more frequent. There’s no excuse, but one: TV revenue. Because you’ve not had enough of that, have you?
Transfer deadline day hysteria
Deadline day is exciting and far more than a day of administration as some people claim.
However, we’re too in thrall to the yellow-tie brigade, who actually gave Fulham a pat on the back for forking out £100m in one summer, like that was the target. Look how that went.
Fairytale cup ties being branded ‘lucrative’
A fourth-tier minnow is pitted against one of the Premier League giants in the cup. Their fans immediately can’t help but picture scenes of a famous upset – and indoor toilets.
Then, the well-meaning-but-point-missing host ruins the moment completely by asking the small team’s owner what the tie means for club finances.
Nothing ruins the moment of your favourite player scoring quite like when they tell their joyous team-mates to give them space so they can pull on a Deadpool costume and do a Fortnite dance beside the corner flag.
Sure, the game was much better when defenders could bulldoze through the back of the more skilful players on the pitch.
Also, that chain-smoking, pint-guzzling No.10 you watched as a child is leagues ahead of finely tuned modern athletes. Of course. That’s how sport works.
The current state of the offside rule
When you see referees picking over slow-motion replays to try to work out if a striker’s shoulder blade is offside at the exact moment the ball leaves his team-mate’s foot, maybe it’s time to ask if the original purpose of the rule has been lost: discouraging goal poachers.
Club media capping up certain words
Why do they keep capitalising the word ‘club’ in every statement and quotation?
Even worse is ‘coach’. You’re not Prince, you monsters.
Clapping through a minute’s silence
More specifically, the need to do this because a group of adults aren’t capable of standing quietly and respectfully without someone booing (and then being booed, making things worse).
Applause is supposed to celebrate life, but comes across as something of a half-hearted gesture of congratulations for dying, which is why it’s not done on Remembrance Sunday.
"Can I have your shirt?" signs
The pathetic, pleading Oliver Twist characters with incorrectly spelled signs, trying to make their team’s star player feel guilty before the whistle has even blown to start the game.
No, you can’t have it. He’s promised to give it to his opposite number at the break as they hug and laugh their way down the tunnel.
FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley
On the one hand, smaller clubs deserve to be rewarded for making it to the semi-finals given that the inequality in English football means only two of the last 54 finalists have been from outside the top flight.
On the other, surely it should require more than winning a quarter-final clash to ‘book a ticket to Wembley’. It’s just wrong.
Ball boys playing the fool
On the whole, FFT is pretty happy that children don’t work up chimneys any more.
However, we do feel sorry for managers who, with no possible recourse to violence, have to watch a prepubescent jobsworth mock them, knowing that they can’t do the slightest thing about it.
Throwing pints in fan zones
It was England’s World Cup run last year that saw pint throwing take off – literally.
But when it was still going on after Gareth Southgate’s brave boys took a 5-0 lead against Panama with a penalty, it became obvious that what was originally an irrational moment of freedom had been replaced by damp attention seeking. What a shame.
Ronaldo vs Messi
This used to be a fun discussion but has become the dullest debate in the sport since everyone felt the need to pick a side.
It’s got worse since the legions of Twitters trolls began to research tax laws or Nevada statutes of limitations to support their player or attack the other.
Jeff Winter caused much hilarity when he wondered in his 2006 autobiography whether the Anfield crowd were clapping for him or the Liverpool players at the end of his final match.
What a fool! He had to ask? Mike Dean would know.
Bans for two yellow cards
It makes sense to suspend repeat offenders, and sending a player off for two yellow cards in one game is just the rules.
But why ban a player for picking up two bookings in the course of five matches, like Aaron Ramsey and Ben Davies were at Euro 2016? There’s no point. Get rid of it UEFA, you drones.
Goalkeepers holding onto the ball for too long
It’s not the fault of the goalkeepers but the referees, because the six-second rule does exist.
There was a rare, but satisfying, exception in 2015 when Bordeaux found the net from an indirect free-kick after Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet was punished. Even then, though, he’d had the ball for 20 seconds.
Transfers made for #brand purposes
Swapping loan players between affiliated clubs was just the start of this.
MLS nobody Mix Diskerud was signed by Manchester City, with Umbro officially announcing the deal. Now, he’s on loan in South Korea with an Etihad deal until 2022 under his belt.
Players covering their mouths when talking
This is mostly annoying because it’s hard to believe they’re saying anything we want to hear.
We’d like to believe some genius training ground move is being talked through, but it’s more likely to be a debate about who has more Instagram followers to decide who gets to smash a free-kick straight into the wall next.
Although we’re not going to demand that Harry Kane or Sergio Aguero wash their shirts after every match, do they really need a brand new one every time?
It ruins the mythical element of the No.9 shirt a bit if the date and fixture is always written underneath the crest.
Players not celebrating against old clubs they played twice for
No. Everyone stop. Sad face deployed. I don’t want to be a part of this.
Apparently it’s not on for me to be a goalscoring hero to one set of fans, but I must appear like a noble figure to the others. Berk.
FFP in the Football League
FFP was put in place to put an end to fiscal doping. While most agree that it’s helped to rein in the free-spending antics of PSG and Manchester City, it’s also had a detrimental impact on the Football League.
Erratic fines, combined with the results of parachute payments, have created a boom-or-bust landscape.
Scandalous agent fees
So you’ve manage to convince a talented footballer that you’re the only person who can arrange to get them a lucrative contract with a big club.
Fair play in pulling off that con act, but why do the clubs need to keep forking out eye-watering fees?
The section of Wembley that's empty from the 45th-55th minutes every game
Without doubt, the most atmosphere-draining section of the new Wembley is those scores of empty cushions.
The inner depths of the ground are like an empty aircraft hanger – why hang around there when actual football is being played?
Social channels dedicated to single players
It’s fine, great even, to have a favourite player. A soft spot, someone you’ve always thought of highly.
However, creating @CR0naldo777977, getting into never-ending arguments with strangers, having meltdowns and responding eagerly to every message your hero posts isn’t good. Find help.
Come second in the league? Runner-up in a final? You must be a bottler, the new reductive term for anyone who has fallen at the final hurdle.
This slack-jawed schadenfreude with a superiority is about as mature and intelligent as saying “cowardy custard”.
Fan TV channels
All the 20-20 hindsight you want, bringing you ‘content’ that is only appreciated by fans of the opposition enjoying the sight of vloggers embarking on incoherent rants. No thanks.
Players trying to gain a 1mm advantage in corner quadrants
Put the ball on the ground. Do it again. And again. It must be on that exact millimetre of turf; the one marginally closer to the goal.
That’s it! Got it. Now: smash a terrible delivery into the first defender.
Kicking ball out for trivial injuries
Any player who does this while their team is in front just to waste time (whereas they’d played on when their team-mate had a broken leg in the first half) gets bonus points.
Hang on a second! That’s the only time anyone ever does it. Bonus points all around!
They are found in all shapes in sizes, from under-the-radar rogues to ‘the full Oyston’.
But from leveraged buyout merchants to soft-power sportwashers, there are far too many of these dreadful people around the game. Apart from that guy at Huddersfield. He seems alright.
Oi! I’ve paid money to watch this!
Even if your own team are the instigators, you should be scared of two things: first, the death of joy; second, the thought of them losing it and the opponent scoring a goal that will be celebrated in the heavens.
Tabloid 'stories' that aren't stories
There used to be some entertaining inventions back in the day.
Nowadays, though, we see the dull part of the internet regurgitated into ‘content’. Raheem Sterling in Poundland; Raheem Sterling buys his mum a house; Raheem Sterling's dirty car. Wait, there's a theme here...
Players feigning injury
They are football’s answer to blue-badge abusers, rolling around on the turf until they’ve succeeded in either tricking the referee or wasting time.
Some have suggested convicted fakers should be inflicted with an equal injury. We think they should just grow up.
Justice Taylor thought that a £6 ceiling would suffice. Fat chance.
“Progress” saw every penny squeezed out of the supporters. Watch out, football. Finance is finite, and we’ve never had more alternative entertainment options than now.
Football wouldn’t really get anywhere without goals, so do they really need the additional 'organised fun' element?
It shouldn’t be too hard to busy yourself with an ecstatic reaction if your team has found the net. You certainly shouldn’t be joining in with chanting’s answer to line-dancing to the sound of a post-ironic reclaimed ‘70s hit.
People filming themselves at games
Why do you think the seats point towards the pitch? You aren’t the main attraction here, no matter how many inspiring slogans you’ve painted on your kitchen wall.
And if, years down the line, you can’t remember you went to that match: maybe it was terrible.
Not so much kicking a cripple as haranguing a happy idiot, but come on.
The scarf, with our tribal badge stitched on, is what we carry into the arena of figurative battle. It should never have the opposition’s emblem on it too – not even in a final.
Managed social media accounts
Just awful. Dull, neutered comments. Vanilla advertising, homogenised bonhomie.
In the realm of communication, this is the equivalent of chlorinated chicken.
Price of football shirts
In what other realm would you agree to pay £65 for an ugly T-shirt with a huge sponsor’s logo slapped across the front, somewhere below ‘hair shirt’ on the comfort scale and which will be obsolete in a year’s time?
They should be paying the fans to wear these things.
Lack of appetite for safe standing
For tragic reasons, an entire generation of supporters has come through without knowing the joy of (safe) terracing.
The atmosphere. The conversations. The flexibility. The connection to tradition. This is something that can and should be accomplished. Take a look further down the pyramid, give it a go and enjoy. Stretch your legs.
Inaccuracy of stoppage time
Time is money. In most football matches, the ball isn’t on the pitch for 30-45 minutes.
Don’t deprive us of the final flourish, the last sip. Let our fun drag on a bit. And count the substitutions, dammit.
A 'respect' campaign that doesn't work
Everyone wants football to be passionate, but that doesn’t need to come in the guise of a spittle-flecked oral barrage at a referee for giving the opposition a decision which you know was correct.
We’re with Half Man Half Biscuit: “Wouldn’t it be fun if they gave the ref a gun?”
Away kits being worn for contractual reasons
West Ham used to be able to go through most of a season without having to change out of their home kit.
But now we’re in the age of carefully managed kit releases and a “first chance to see”. It’s nonsense, and it’s there to fleece us. Our club, our badge, our colours.
Clubs stockpiling young players
(A mere snapshot from Chelsea's batch of 53 current loanees)
Talent farming will always be a reality of the game, but there is something profoundly sad about young hopefuls being cultivated and cropped just for a financial boost.
It’s capitalism gone mad, and our children are the victims.
UEFA’s fines for racism
A lot of things get exaggerated as being offensive. Racism actually is offensive, and so is UEFA’s half-arsed attempts to deal with it.
The slap on the wrist approach isn’t working. The money’s there – take it and give it to appropriate charities.
It’s not easy to appear heroic if you are covered head to toe in logos, every inch of your upper body looking like an advertising hoarding.
The president of Rwanda paid £30m to have his country represented on the arms of the Arsenal players.
The EFL Trophy in its current guise
Originally, some of the creative thinking and intentions were good, but they've been applied poorly and that has led to a widespread protest via the most powerful tool of the fans: withdrawal of support.
Not using VAR properly
TV couldn’t wait for its introduction, but now it’s the gift that keeps on giving. It has been badly applied, badly explained and ill-defined.
Now it threatens to ruin one of the greatest joys in the sport in the first place: the moment of ecstasy after a goal is scored.
Daft sponsorship deals
The list of industries in which Manchester United have an ‘official partner’ now includes: digital transformation, global lubricant and fuel retail, coffee, hotel loyalty, mattresses and pillows, logistics, music, spirits, wine, tyres, medical systems, electrical styling, denim, ‘vision’ and paint.
They actually have a paint partner. What?
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