For me and my fellow football-hating former shivering weeds, this should be the best time of year. It’s bang in the middle of the tiny gap which a bullying pro-football world permits between seasons – a gap made even shorter by Euro 2008, which we shouldn’t have had to watch anyway because no British teams were playing. July should provide some respite – even if it’s just a brief pause in the shelling while the enemy bring up more ammunition. “Why don’t you like football?” the world has been screaming for the last 10 months. Surely sometime it has briefly to draw breath?
But no. Despite the fact that no matches are being played, football still dominates the press. And what are they talking about? Transfers. Essentially, “Human Resources”. So-and-so is reported to be meeting what’s-his-name about a new job. AN Other is in talks with thingummy about a move down south. I mean, what’s next? Reports on clubs’ heating bills? In-depth analysis of a damp problem in one of the stands at Anfield? Even for football-lovers, those who don’t find the game dull and alienating, this transfer guff must still be pretty boring. So why is it so avidly read?
Are other sports so hated and inadequate that their actual matches are considered less interesting than football’s behind-the-scenes admin? Is football really such a “beautiful game”, such an all-consuming passion for everyone except me and a tiny number of other freaks, that the majority cannot bear to be parted from thoughts of it even for a few weeks?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think football is evil or should be banned. I just want to be reassured that disliking it isn’t as perverted as disliking sunshine or laughter, or wanting to keep spiders for pets.