This is getting to be hard work

OPINION: It may be time to finally switch the television off – no more football

Thursday, 11th February 2021 — By Richard Osley

Martin Keown DSC_2238

THERE was a point, might have been Saturday, might have been Sunday, it could’ve been any day actually, when it finally felt for a moment I had been outfootballed.

The eyes went fuzzy, the lids drooped, Martin Keown’s inane voice was zinging around my head. It was time to finally switch the television off. No more football.

And yet it wasn’t that long ago that I thought the breaks between football matches were far too long and underperforming players, who were too easily excused for being tired or “a little bit jaded after the game in midweek”; that they had no idea how fatiguing a 50-hour week in a real job was.

If you’ve been digging on a site all day, all week – then it’s OK to say on Saturday afternoon that you are feeling a little jaded and have a nap on the sofa.

Likewise, all public sector workers, all hospital staff, the posties who walk the whole neighbourhood, and shop-floor assistants who probably run more in a day-long shift than a rested goalkeeper ever did.

I mean everyone basically. I had to write one of these columns last week, and here I am again this week doing it again – but do you hear me moaning about feeling a little bit jaded. No you don’t. I just get on with it and push through the pain barrier and you all benefit as a result.

Such thoughts of footballers being precious about their energy levels, however, have slowly dripped away in this recent blizzard of always-on football.

It may of course be that Arsenal are often painful to watch but if you are doing lockdown as prescribed and you generally find football more interesting than watching soapy dramas, being shot by (presumably spotty) teenagers in Call of Duty, baking sourdough or listening to podcasts, then you are at risk of just watching one match after another… after another. I had no interest in WHO WOULD WIN THIS TIME [credit: David Mitchell] between Wolves and Leicester City but there I was bolted to the screen, eye-whites glowing green.

In such circumstances, you finally feel sorry for the players. If I’m tired watching it, they at last deserve to be feeling a little jaded. As soon as they win or lose one match, they have to win or lose another match, and it is starting to feel like some cruel Hunger Games dystopia.

Tottenham had no real time to digest their recent losses – nor us to enjoy them – before they were hauled into an FA Cup match against Everton to show once more what can happen if you never stop playing football.

Looking like a scientific experiment gone wrong, they naturally succumbed to a 5-4 defeat. It was even possible to feel sorry for them with no way of stopping the relentless soccernaut.

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