The World Cup is Over… Time For Real Football!

July 24, 2010 at 5:47 am | Posted in General Football, Hammers, World Cup Memories | Leave a comment

I love the World Cup, but more recently the World Cup has lost some of its lustre for me, and it is not the tournament that it once was.

There are a number of reasons why the World Cup is not so special as it once was.  For one, there is the decline in the importance of the nation state.  Secondly, there is the decline of chauvinistic national identities.  Thirdly there is the migration of human populations, meaning Brazilians and Africans are now playing for countries like Germany.    Fourth, there is the fact that players are exhausted from their club duties when they show up to the World Cup, meaning the quality of play can be poor because players are not at their best (England’s lack of a winter break showed through in South Africa).  Lastly, there is the generic international style of football which means most teams play a brand of football which is essentially the same. While these changes have their positive social aspects outside of football, the effect on football is that the World Cup is not as interesting as it once was in the past, when unique regional styles of football were played by teams that barely knew each other.   There was also a political intrigue of east verses west in the World Cup before the Iron Curtain fell in 1989.

Some of these changes above are also effecting football at the club level, but in my view club football is now much more interesting than the World Cup.  Club football is played by players who play and train with one another week in and week out. They know each other intimately, resulting in a more intuitive style of football.  The players also make their real money in club football.

International football is played by players who do not know each other as intimately because they train together rarely, and simply do not play together that often.  While there was some very fine football played in the World Cup, (especially Spain, who played a style which is a carbon copy of FC Barcelona) there is more depth and interest in club football.

I am starting to get excited about the new season in the English Premier League, which is for me, the finest spectacle in world football.  There are many things that bother me about the Premiership, especially the vast gulf between the resources of the top teams and the bottom ones, but it still gives me a thrill to watch the games, which are fast paced, physical and played with a pride and effort which is inspiring.    Each game in the Premier League means something, whether it is a battle against relegation, a battle for the title itself, or a battle to qualify for the Europa League or the Champions League.   Each team has something to fight for, whether they play at the top or the bottom of the league.

Each team has its own rich history and fanatical fan base, which sings songs of praise for their heroes.   I can’t wait for it to start.

Come on you Irons!

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